By Isaac Mutema
A girl is faced with the nightmare of living with seven fingers for the rest of her life. Christine Kiiza wasn’t born like that. She had had her fingers intact since her birth until a few months now when the little girl stepped on electric live wires.
A rotten electric pole had fallen exposing the live wires to the users of a footpath in Christine’s village back in Fort Portal. This is where Christine encountered the electric live wires and unknowingly stepped on them.
She was rushed to Buhiga Hospital in dire condition where health personnel recommended her three fingers be amputated.
The accident occurred on August 18 last year. The victim had been detailed by her parents to go and pick elephant grass to feed the cattle.
As she was on her way home with the cattle feed, is when hell also broke loose thus leaving her badly electrocuted.
While the matter is frankly regrettable and forgettable, the power distributor, Umeme offers albeit a rather hopeless and cruel defence.
Umeme in a heartless tone passes the blame back to the little girl whose a primary four learner. The power distributor claims the girl herself was careless. That being careless is what made it impossible for the victim to watch her steps.
It’s for such carelessness, Umeme jokes, that Christine ended up stepping on the electric live wires which led to her electrocution and ultimately, amputation of her fingers.
As for the rotten pole which collapsed onto the footpath, Umeme asserts that it wasn’t spent. Instead, the distributor claims, someone simply cut the pole down.
Just that the power distributor isn’t helpful enough to point out who exactly that person was and where he or she can now be located.
Deflecting blame further, Umeme argues alternatively how no one in the locality contacted them to report the collapsed pole.
How could they have known about the collapsed pole and taken action if no one in the locality of the accident had informed them before the girl’s fate, Umeme wonders?
But in a Shs200m lawsuit filed through her agent, Richard Amanya since she is of no legal age, the girl insists that Umeme is culpable. One, she points out that since the electric pole belongs to Umeme and, good enough, they don’t deny this.
Two, she adds, Umeme failed to inspect the electric pole to ensure that it was in good condition so as not to collapse and cause harm to the public.
Three, following the collapse of the tree, she avers, Umeme neglected to switch off the power and to take away the pole together with the live wires thus exposing her to the great damage she suffered.
The high court in Fort Portal is expected to give a date to the parties to try to negotiate the case.
In the event of failure to compromise, the court will hold a pre-trial session to get to know from the parties the issues for resolution and then set the date for hearing of the dispute proper.