In yet another unfair decision by President Museveni, Ugandans are now required to pay to use social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Whatsapp. Museveni’s reason for the social media tax was that he felt there was too much gossip on social media and a tax would encourage less gossip and a focus on more “productive” activities. The tax impose is 200 shillings per day. A large majority of Ugandans carry mobile phones with internet access and rely heavily on social media. This decision, because it affects so many personally, is causing outrage.
There is a way to get around the tax of course, by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network). One may simply install a VPN app. But the problem here is that the tax should not exist at all. This is seen as an attack on personal freedoms.
In a country where many are struggling to get by, 200 shillings per day can actually by a burden on some, and many cannot afford such an amount, even though it may seem small. Surely the leader of Uganda would be aware of the economic situation. The social media tax only does more to worsen the economic conditions of an already struggling country.
Seeing that Museveni is not expected to be out of office for a very long time (that is an issue for an other article), this will be interesting to see how this social media tax (and other poor government choices) are going to affect the economic and political conditions long term.