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Problem is not social media tax but a corrupt regime

pump attendant at a fuel station near my residence in Bukasa, Bweyogerere climbs the board where prices are displayed to adjust them as consumers wait to fuel their motorcycles and other vehicles.

I confront a similar situation as I request to buy some dollars at a commercial bank in Kololo. The teller first makes a call to the head office to find out whether the exchange rate had changed that morning.

Then I read in the newspapers that transport fares had shot up. The commercial bank where my salary is deposited recently sent me a message on my phone: “Dear customer, due to new tax amendments from July 1st, Excise duty on bank charges will change from 10% to 15% and Stamp duty will increase from Shs 10,000 to 15,000. Thank you for banking with us.”

But while all these things are happening, NRM MPs, one by one, drive to an office in Kololo, run by their secretary general Justine Kasule Lumumba, to receive bundles of new notes of Uganda shillings stuffed in polythene bags.

Each MP is given Shs 2 million as his/her allowance and Shs 100,000 per village in his constituency to campaign for party members during the Local Council elections.

The MPs then rush to their constituencies to bribe poor and desperate voters. Money was also distributed to influence women village councils’ elections. Then the NRM chief will declare victory at the end of the exercise.

Therefore, before you walk into a court of law to file a case against the newly introduced social media tax, you must understand the source of the problem. In fact, the tax can even be scrapped but it will be enveloped in another thing.

People are crying over another layer of tax imposed on mobile money services but what about an additional Shs 100 per litre of fuel. In fact the mobile money tax can be avoided but the one on fuel can not. Who in Uganda does not move in a vehicle or  on a motorcycle these days?

I think now tax on each litre of fuel has reached about Shs 1,600. Social media tax should be used as a precursor for a bigger debate of Uganda’s terminally sick economy.

For a while, the taxes on mobile money and social media have made us forget that the former inspector general of police, Edward Kalekezi Kayihura, is still under detention at Makindye military barracks.

I now think he is being made to serve his sentence before he is even charged in court. There was a time Kayihura made us join Dr Kizza Besigye by turning our houses into jails.

And Uganda being what it is, the media filmed policemen at our gates and all over our houses for the first three days and moved on with other issues. The world nearly forgot that our rights and those of our family members were still curtailed by the good NRM cadre. He now faces a similar situation.

Maybe he now knows or will subsequently know that a bad regime is bad for everybody including those who are blindly loyal to it. That is the point Hajji Hussein Kyanjo made when Cerinah Nebanda, the former youthful MP for Butaleja, died under mysterious circumstances.

During debate in parliament to pay tribute to Nebanda, Kyanjo said bad regimes start by curtailing freedoms, including freedom “to even talk.” They then carry out arrests, then torture and finally kill.

He said even those that support such regimes are also arrested, tortured and eventually killed. He outlined about seven methods/ stages they go through before collapsing.

That is why our focus should not be on the tax on mobile money and social media alone but on fixing the entire economy. This man, and I told him when he featured on our weekly Saturday Capital Gang talk show, forgot all about Uganda and thinks about himself.

I have said, and pardon me if I repeat myself, that resolving or digging ourselves from the pit in which this Ntare School old boy has thrown us into will take us a good number of years.

And then the media is blaming LC-1 chairman contestants for riding in big cars/convoys as they hit the campaign trail. The man has killed our country and the earlier we recovered it from him the better, even for himself.

Distribution of money has become his main activity. He distributes in private and in public. Didn’t you see him in Rukungiri? I will always be grateful to those Bakiga who “ate” the money but voted against the regime.

That is what all of us must do. If we don’t, he will have to tax everything to raise money for renting support, especially through elections, which have become the country’s main activity now.

Those who will go to court over a new tax, please get ready.


The author is Kira Municipality MP and opposition chief whip in parliament.


+2 #11 Lakwena 2018-07-12 10:42
Quoting Betty Nalubega:
True , Mr. Museveni ... is wasteful ... We are in trouble because we spend more than we can afford.

That being said , the people , have to be blamed for our own stupidity.
During the on-going RC elections , I saw poor and neglected people lining behind NRM candidates and asked myself why .

"Omukadde akwatira ku mmere ye ". Why not PUNISH NRM for the bad management of the economy and social stability ?

Are our people too stupid to realize that they can`t expect change by voting for no change ?

Betty don't forget, in 32 years and still counting, Mr. M7 succeeded, not only in reducing Ugandans into servitude, but holding them under the spell of Stockholm Syndrome.

That he is not anybody's servant or employee, means; Ugandans are his servants and slaves. Hence with the help and stupidity of the MPs, he can tax them to death.
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+2 #12 Remase 2018-07-12 13:03
Fellow Ugandans, the real deal is, M7 will tax the hell out of us to make certain that, "he will have to tax everything to raise money for renting support, especially through elections, which have become the country’s main activity now."

Each day that goes by is a day that will cost us an eternity to dig the country from the ruins M7 is sinking it. We need to make a determination that M7 must go.

It takes me to great pans to see some leaders accepting handshakes from M7. For example, why would Bishop Lwanga accept the Sh. 500m handshake?

He should have said thank you but donate that money to one of the hospitals. I also don't understand those who have functions and then invite M7, Janet M7 or any govt official!

Why don't they invite those from the opposition, like Mao and others. Bill Gates invited Kyagulanyi, however, he is not a Ugandan but he knows that M7's govt is corrupt to the core. We should shun all those who have shown their royalty to and life presidency/M7.
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+1 #13 Mubiru 2018-07-12 16:31
The Opinion's title that "Problem is not social media tax but a corrupt regime" is very appropriate.

The fact is that corruption benefits only those who praise sing NRM and other creepers and bags carriers of the well connected.

It was therefore provokingly insensitive of those fighting to reduce their weight due to overeating to parade the streets of Kampala trying to reduce their fatness when there are numberless Ugandans dying of hunger while some few can afford one meal of cassava(a poor person's food) a day. Its only the rich countries like USA, Canada, UK etc where millions of the non-corrupt overfed people fight obesity.

They have too much to eat not out of stealing public funds as in Uganda. The obesity picture in Uganda created by the marchers is so misleading that the funders of billions to feed the starving people may revise their decision instead of causing obesity -a modern killer "disease".

Stop insulting the poor who starve due to corruption by over eaters.
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+3 #14 Remase 2018-07-12 17:12
Fellow Ugandans, the answer to M7's corrupt govt doesn't lie in courts of law.

Neither does it lie in presidential elections or parliament. Not at all and never will it ever be.

Let's look at the petitions that have gone to court. We have "Togyikwata ko" that was held in Mbale 2 or 3 months ago, to this date the court has failed to give us the judgment!

Yet the constitution is clear like day and night, it give the court only 30 days to deliver the judgement.

Remember Katureebe and others who ruled that it is ok for M7 to rig elections because when he does, the rigged votes don't change the outcome!

Remember Kadaga during Togyikwata ko? She invited the army in the house to torture the MPs who were against the age limit bill.

Therefore, it is us, Ugandans, who need to use "People power" to cause the change that we need and deserve.
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0 #15 mungu 2018-07-12 21:39
First it was 30% disguised as currency reform tax, then sale of UCB and other valuables proceeds of which can never be traced, then cattle rustling in Teso and the North, then the compensation from Kenya government for our share of the former EAC assets and employee pensions all of it was eaten, then 18% VAT is the highest in the world.

Corrupt may not be right word. It is a killer regime
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+1 #16 Angered Ugandan 2018-07-13 11:45
Elections are the biggest and saddest joke in Uganda. We are a peace loving people, but our peace has been repeatedly attacked, especially economic peace, political peace, and human rights peace.

The removal of term limits and age limits may seem to have sealed our fate as a country, but God himself has given every person their own age limit. No condition is permanent.
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+3 #17 Mubiru 2018-07-13 15:58
"Corrupt and unpatriotic pigs in Govt either steal the money or spend it on themselves (ego-centrism)." extracted from the President's speech on taxes.

Mr. President, if you are well aware that money is stolen by the group of people you mention, what have you done about it?.

Berating the thieves just to appease tax payers and overseas dollar suppliers for the last decades you have been in power without apprehending them and repossess their loot including palaces they own is not only unpatriotic but the very reason the suffering majority are crying foul of the regime.

If there are UNPATRIOTIC PIGS, as the President well knows, there are must be "patriotic" pigs who should advise the President that mere condemnation of corruption without taking any remedial decision just encourages thieves to regard corruption as their only income at the expense of starving people who travel on foot daily for miles and don't need exercise like the over eaters in cars feeding on stolen money..
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