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Fresh court petitions hit social media tax

Paul Ssembajjwe and Iddi Ouma dragged the Attorney General (AG) to court citing that introduction of social media tax violates the access to information guaranteed under Article 41 of the constitution (FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA – Today two more people calling themselves concerned citizens have petitioned the High Court challenging the daily Shs200 tax imposed on the social media platforms.

The two petitioners Paul Ssembajjwe and Iddi Ouma dragged the Attorney General (AG) to court claiming that the introduction of a tax of Shs200 by the government of Uganda through the Ministry of Finance payable by everyone for his or her daily usage of social media violates the constitution of Uganda that allows the access to information which constitutional right is guaranteed under Article 41 of the constitution.

The two who claim that they petitioned court behalf of the people of Uganda who are affected by the actions of the government contend that their fundamental constitutional rights have been fundamentally breached by the respondent’s (AG) agents and employees by further implementing the levying of the impugned tax of Shs200.

The court order summoning the Attorney General to respond to the applicants -Paul Ssembajjwe and Iddi Ouma – over the violation of the constitution right of access to information following the sanctioning of the social media tax 

They claim that social media users in Uganda are going to be curtailed to quickly access information unless they have subscribed immediately to the tax and unless one has paid it he or she cannot access the services and information that is disseminated through the social media.

They want court to declare that the tax of Shs200 is illegal, unconstitutional and against the spirit of constitutionalism and the rule of law which are the core values of a democratic state like Uganda. They also want a permanent injunction restraining AG from enforcing and further implementing the said tax under the national budget of 2018 to 2019 against the social media users in Uganda and the whole public.

On Monday this week, a technology law company, (Cyber Law Initiative (U) Ltd), alongside its four directors; Daniel Opio Bill, Moses Baguma, Emmanuel Okiror and Silver Kayondo, became the first petitioners to challenge the social media tax before courts of law.

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