By Fred Kiva
KAMPALA. Two people have been arrested as Police dispersed a social media tax protest at City Square in Kampala.
The Police engaged in running battles with a group of protesters, among them Kyadondo East Member of Parliament Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine), as they attempted to march to Parliament in protest of the recent passing and implementation of the Mobile Money and Social media tax. The Mobile Money tax of 0.5percent and the daily Shs200 social media tax came into effect on July 1 with government saying the new taxes are meant to enhance revenue collection for better service delivery.
The new taxes were as a result of Parliament’s passing of the Excise Duty Amendment (Bill) 2018. However, a group which includes politicians, Civil society activists and various professionals have since criticized the new taxes and vowed to protest.
Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire identified those arrested as David Lule and Julius Katongole. “We have Lule David, 34 and Katongole Julius,” he said, adding that the duo is being held for inciting violence, assault and holding unlawful procession.
The protesters had reached the Constitutional Square on their march to Parliament when the police intercepted them, sparking a fracas and police shooting of bullets. Although the policemen were seen dragging the Kyadondo East legislator, the Force denied holding him. “We are not holding him (Bobi Wine) and we have not held him at all,” Owoyesigyire said in a WatsApp message.
During a weekly press briefing on Monday, Police Spokesperson Emilian Kayima said police would not allow the protest since organizers had not notified police as required by the Public Order Management Act.