I am sick, tired and fed up of this abusive relationship of six years!
Fortunately, we have no children. And so the break-up will be easier for me.
I have decided to publicly walk-out of it on Monday, 2 July, 2018, even though my partner doesn’t think I can actually walk away.
You see, the thing with abusive partners is that they think the other partner cannot do anything but stay even when it’s a living hell.
I invite all of you who agree with me that the social media tax is patently illegal and manifestly illegitimate to join me. Let us shock them. Ugandans have been under-looked for sooo long! On this one occasion, let us show our power without even going to the streets, raising our voices or debating with regime sycophants and arm-chair analysts.
So, what should we do? What’s the plan? Here’s what I am going to do. Please join me.
On Monday, I am going to return my SIM Card to Airtel so that I get off the mobile phone network altogether. But this will not succeed if a few people are the only ones who take this action.
If you have more than one SIM Card, you may switch off both or one.
The rationale of my action is that if hundreds of Ugandans get off the telecom networks every day, revenue collections from subscribers (in terms of voice, data and mobile money) will drop so drastically in such a short time that the entire financial system will be shocked…and this will not take long.
Government will have no option but to revoke the amendment to the Excise Duty Act (commonly referred to as the social media and mobile money tax).
Only then can we return to the tax model that will end tonight if we the millions of Ugandan subscribers do nothing about it.
I will not take another beating or insult. Businesses like telecom companies and the governments that host them must be taught a lesson by we the clients. We must be treated with dignity and respect. If we do nothing, they will figure out a way to levy a tax on the air we breathe. And if we do nothing again, they will impose a tax on sleep. Their hunger for money knows no limits. In fact, a massive 1% is also being levied on the value of all Mobile Money transactions.
The other offensive thing about this telecom-client relationship is that we are already being under-served in terms of dropped calls, weak/intermittent network signals and painfully slow internet connections.
Finally, this is a battle between the rich and powerful and the poor and vulnerable. The rich and powerful use the law and coercion to exploit and extort from the poor and vulnerable.
This double taxation is yet another manifestation of the abusive, disrespectful and unconscionable treatment of ordinary Ugandans by the ruling political class, in concert with foreign capital.
I am not even saying anything about the fact that our taxes are simply misused and/or stolen with impunity by those in charge of our economy.
If taxes meant better public education, affordable healthcare, public transport and social security benefits, Ugandans would’ve been the most content taxpayers in sub-Saharan Africa! We are already paying 30% in PAYE, 5% in contributions to NSSF, Local Service Tax, while corporations (most of these being Ugandan Small and Medium-sized Enterprises must part with 30% of earnings… while so called foreign investors enjoy ten-year plus tax holidays and other reliefs.
The bulk of this money is used to prop the regime in power: the latest planned expenditure is to assign a security detail of Special Forces Command soldiers to each parliamentarian who feels threatened by the fact that they betrayed Ugandans and amended the Constitution to create a life presidency. Pro-life-presidency MPs now want to live in prisons of their own creation at our expense! Not with my money…nedda bambi!
I am too proud to let my abusive partner, Airtel, continue mistreating me with impunity in cahoots with their new side-dish called Government.
If we all switched off our phones or, like I plan to do, returned our SIM Cards to the headquarters or service centres of our respective service providers, the revenue loss will be so massive that there will be no option but to concede to people power and rescind this most odious and prohibitive tax on social media and mobile money transactions.
We the citizens of this country have the power; we can win this without even lifting a finger! Simply switch off your phone. Or remove the SIM Card. Or alternatively, return the SIM Card to the company.
Those responsible for this tax will remove it without us shouting a lot.
For those who will need me after Monday, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
If anyone in the ruling political class would like to charge me with inciting the population to evade tax, my court summons can also be delivered to the same foregoing email address.