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Tuesday,September 29,2020 05:34 AM

Rural Electrification Agency gets new CEO

By Maurice Okore

Added 15th July 2020 10:04 AM

Eng. Joan Kayanga Mutiibwa replaces Godfrey Turyahikayo who has been the Chief Executive Officer of REA since its inception in 2001.

Rural Electrification Agency gets new CEO

Eng. Mutiibwa is the new acting CEO. Courtesy photo

Eng. Joan Kayanga Mutiibwa replaces Godfrey Turyahikayo who has been the Chief Executive Officer of REA since its inception in 2001.

The Energy and Mineral Development Minister, Mary Goretti Kitutu has appointed Eng. Joan Kayanga Mutiibwa as the acting Chief Executive Officer of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA).

She replaces Godfrey Turyahikayo who has been the Chief Executive Officer of REA since its inception in 2001.

Mutiibwa has been the acting manager of project management and development after the agency suspended Eng. John Turyagyenda. Turyagyenda was investigated by the Inspector General of Government (IGG) who accused him of negligence and insubordination. Before joining REA, Mutiibwa worked with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development as a Senior Energy Officer.

REA is a government institution formed in 2001 to facilitate the provision of electricity to rural areas equitably and sustainably. REA was established as a result of the energy sector reforms which led to the enactment of the new Electricity Act, 1999.

To date, the Agency has realised the construction of about 15,000km of Medium Voltage (MV) power lines and over 10,000 km of Low Voltage (LV) distribution power lines. This has greatly contributed to the connections of over a million customers onto the national grid and an increment in the rural electrification access rate from one percent in 2001 to over 20 percent in 2020.

REA is also implementing the Electricity Connection Policy (ECP) that was approved by Government in January 2018. Under this policy, the Government subsidizes the cost of connection materials, enabling citizens that are ready for electricity consumption to access free connection materials. Over 300,000 connections are targeted annually.

Turyahikayo, the former CEO is credited with helping the Government achieve the central theme for the 2016 - 2021 NRM manifesto which is "taking Uganda to modernity through job creation and inclusive development" through the extension of electricity supply.

However, his term of office was riddled with accusations of negligence, abuse of office, and financial loss.

Last July, President Yoweri Museveni opposed plans by the then energy minister Irene Muloni and the REA board to sack Turyahikayo until investigations into corruption in the agency were concluded.

In his letter to Muloni dated July 8, 2019, Museveni referred to his phone conversation with the minister and observed, "this is to direct you and the board that the status quo of the management of Rural Electrification Agency should be maintained for one year so that I conclude the investigations into the massive corruption there."

Museveni noted that he would not accept any changes at REA until investigations are concluded. The board had declined to renew Turyahikayo's contract on grounds that there had been a decline in the implementation of activities of the agency for the last four years.

Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) is yet to complete its investigations on REA but recently the board suspended deputy CEO, Godfrey Werikhe and John Turyagyenda, Manager Project management and development, after a meeting held on April 29.

Letters signed by REA board chairman and Permanent secretary ministry of energy, Robert Kasande, indicated that the two bosses were suspended after an investigation faulted them for negligence and insubordination among others.

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