DEAR SOCIAL MEDIA MEMBERS, ARE YOU ALLOWED TO SEE THIS POST NOW?
Testing, Testing: 1, 2, 3…!
Guys, are you able to see this post of mine? About 6 hours ago, my Social Media began to fail and the reason is that Museveni’s ‘anti-gossiping tax’ regime came into effect at midnight of July 1, 2018?
This news that made us broke today broke on April 1, 2018 and we brushed it off as April’s Fools Day gaffe, not knowing it would be this frank prank that would cost us (taxpayers) up to $400 million dollars this year to fund ‘the damages of gossiping’, according to President Museveni.😜
The tragedy is that I have to wake up and walk to a nearby mobile money service centre to load and pay ‘rent’ for the next 24 hours in case I do not have the mandatory 200 Uganda shillings (about 5 cents in US dollars) on my phone account.
It is like the President of Uganda is hitting back on his critics, but mindless of mama selling her banana through mobile phone out there.
“However, olugambo on social media (opinions, prejudices, insults, friendly chats) and advertisements by Google and I do not know who else must pay tax because we need resources to cope with the consequences of their lugambo,” Mr Museveni wrote.
Let’s pray against the fact that the poor may pay on behalf of the rich; and that this vengefully punitive tax policy is not copied and pasted from the other side of the border where President Museveni is a godfather. I just heard from a from through ”lugambo’ that my home state (Jonglei) has introduced a homestead tax (or hut tax) to fund the government budget. So help my mother, God!
Just imagine the news of taxing this article on my blog, The Eased Africa I Want, and getting money to fund your fictitiously ambitious budget! What a glad tidings this is in Juba! God forbid…for the sake of the already starving populace there!
When I woke up today at 5.00AM and tried to check on the headlines on Google and my various Social Media groupings, including BBC and VOA FMs online, access was denied. I had not pay the ‘Lugambo Tax’! And this requires me to go to a nearby supermarket to load Mobile money and pay the daily Whatsapp tax, else I would not access my air ticket sent through WhatsApp.
As if this is not enough, the Mobile Money on the same transaction is also taxed with 1% from my money, plus the VAT on airyairand that when buying a smartphone!
By the way, I am not reacting alone. The voiceless out there are choking in silence. Those with this smartphone privilege have one of them saying this on Daily Monitor:
Livingstone Ssewanyana, Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) executive director: “Widening the tax base is not bad but government needs to be mindful of access to information. What the President is proposing, taxing people spreading lugambo, is an attempt to undermine individual freedoms. The tax will not only hurt those who criticise government, but even innocent people. That tax aims to exploit local people. It’s diversionary, deceptive and burdensome to the people. People are already paying VAT, PAYE, Property Tax and are complaining. So it’s not reasonable to continue to overburden the tax payer with a tax on social media. Government collects a lot of money already, what it needs to deal with is corruption.”
And this is what one statesman said in one of his official statements decades ago in England.
“I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”
Winston S. Churchill
However, I argue that Museveni’s is not a taxation but revenge drive on the Lugambos. After Social Media, the president is shifting his war to tarmac roads, which he fears can bring the gossips and thieves running to Kampala very fast. This, I call ‘tarmacophobia’.
“If we make tarmac here; it is for the public, that road is for everybody; the thief who is going to steal at night, the witch-doctor who is going to do witchcraft at night, the rumour monger who is going to Kampala to tell lies. They will all move very fast on the tarmac,” the president said in his campaign speech for an MP and Mayor of Apac District, just few days after slamming social media with tax.
By Jon Pen de Ngong
The Eased Africa I Want