President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has recently imposed a new tax on his citizens requiring a 200 Ugandan Shilling payment per day of use of over 50 social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp among many other major platforms. As one might expect, the citizenry is not happy with this imposition. Many people see the tax as an assault on the free flow of information, including the Human Rights Watch and Museveni’s opposition. Museveni seems to be happy to suppress information as long as that includes the “gossip” he says spreads lies about him and his administration. This tax, if fully implemented, will keep a large amount of the population completely in the dark on informative news. With a GDP per capita just shy of 670 USD a person, a tax that amounts to 5 cents a day per platform can be a major expense. Recently, Ugandan citizens have begun voicing their opinions on the tax. In Kampala, protesters made an anonymous jab at the administration by broadcasting a recorded message throughout the city, getting their point across while keeping safe from the political violence that has become commonplace in the country. “Don’t pay tax on social media and mobile money transactions,” it said. “It hurts your pocket and is driving us into poverty.” Any of the setups that were broadcasting this message have been found have been confiscated by the police. No public response has been announced from Museveni yet.
Read more from the Daily Monitor here.
By Patrick Garvey