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Archive for the tag “Uganda Communications Commission”

IGP Okoth Ochola orders to shield the media: However, as long as they enforce POMA, will it matter?

In a Police Circular of 16th May 2018, the Inspector General of the Police Okoth Ochola has ordered a shift of policy towards the media. This is a change, but if we only see it on paper or in reality. Time will tell, because the laws that the Police use are still the same, they still have the Public Order Management Act (POMA), which has been used as a tool to oppress and silence opposition. Where the Police has interfered in journalistic endevours and political party works all across the Republic. All of that is well-known, as the Police needs to engage and give consent if anyone is gathering. That is so they can either stop it before it happens or have knowledge of any activity of any party, that is happening in public.

What is key from the message from the IGP was this:

Unit commanders must observe the safety of journalists very critically and no journalist or citizen should ever be abused or tortured. Torture is a criminal offence according to the law and whoever will be found to be involved in the crime shall be expeditiously investigated and prosecuted. The constitution calls upon us all to preserve, protect and promote media freedoms” (IGP Okoth Ochola, 16.05.2018).

CEON-U reported this from the General Election and Campaigning in 2016:

At the (media content) producer level, journalists reported pressure from government, security and ruling party officials, which sometimes saw the cancellation of critical radio programmes as well as suspension of presenters and talk show hosts for entertaining opposition candidates, especially Besigye. There were also increased cases of assaults and intimidation of journalists, self-censorship, and bribery” (CEON-U – ‘UGANDA GENERAL ELECTIONS 2016: REVISITING THE DEMOCRACY CONSTRUCT’ P:76, 2016).

It is not long ago, when Besigye was planning to hold a Radio Tour all-around Uganda, but the State sanctioned the radios holding him, but at the same period in time, the President could do the same and on the same topic, as Besigye was planning too. It is not many months ago. Therefore, the state is continuing to oppress and silence the other voices, than of the President.

Museveni likes to own the media, own the message and control it, therefore, he has lecture anyone to follow his voice and pattern, not question it, because then your not patriotic. That is what is well-known, so it is good idea that the Police are supposed to respect the covering of the journalists and their work. However, if they start to be to critical or get sources, which is questioning the Musevenisms, then know they will be besieged, be detained and lose their license. That is what Museveni does, so even if the journalist wouldn’t be arrested while on Live-Broadcast, like the police did in Kasangati in the recent year. Still, the NRM and Uganda Police Force has a long walk ahead.

It is nice that the IGP wants things to change, but they should also abolish POMA, so people are allowed to participate and be political active, without having the police breathing down their necks or coming with tear-gas, every time they congregate. This will certainly his a journalist, a camera-man or anyone covering it. They will not be totally shielded, I doubt the Police would do so. They usually cover all angles and anyone in the nearby passage get touched.

The Police can order and say they will leave the journalists be, but will they really follow through, when there are laws like the POMA in affect. That will not change the dynamics, unless, the Parliament makes other laws, that gives the provisions to the Police to act differently. Peace.

Here is the circular:

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The World Bank commends the rising taxes in Uganda!

Yep, the biggest bank and the Bretton Woods Organization called the World Bank has commended the works of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his plans for added taxes. That comes from the similar institution like International Monetary Fund, that ordered Uganda to follow the Structural Adjustment Plan (SAP), therefore, the IMF that fixed more privatization without lacking investments. Are now okaying a higher rising taxes on the Republic’s citizens. This is done, while the economy is not strengthen, but with added external and internal loans. Therefore, the rise of GDP and use of loans, as well as repayments on those loans will sooner or later hurt the economy. Even with the rise of taxes. This will be start of vicious cycle where the state is issuing loans and taxes, while the revenue is used to repay loans, not development. It is basically. But before I go into the deep of the part of the troubling take from the World Bank. Let me just show you quickly the result of the SAP and their advice there.

The studies also make it clear that for SAP-type policies to have a chance of success, certain preconditions are necessary. The public sector had certain social responsibilities that the current framework has pushed it out of but without “a proper handing over” to the private sector. The assumption and hope were that the market would fill the gap left by the retreating state. Clearly this has not happened. There is therefore need for Government either to retain certain key social sectors, or only hand them over to the private sector only when the latter is ready to effectively take them over. Clearly non-profit making aspects of social responsibility cannot and do not get taken over by the private sector. For poverty to be reduced there are certain social responsibilities or even whole sectors that can only effectively be handled by the public sector. Welfare systems and subsidies to farmers in the developed world attest to the need for the retention of these key areas by the public sector. Therefore a policy that proscribes such a hand-over must also ensure that it is done in a verifiable manner so that the private sector can be held to account. Civil society has in the past tried to fill the gap but this has been done in an ad hoc manner” (Kevin Akoyi Makokha – ‘STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT PARTICIPATORY REVIEW INITIATIVE (SAPRI) – UGANDA COUNTRY REPORT: A synthesis of the Four SAPRI Studies’ September 2001).

So, when the last system from the World Bank and IMF was introduced the system and the government wasn’t ready to privatize, however, that didn’t stop them or the government to do so. Especially since the funds and loans at the time came with the hitch of doing so. Therefore, the troubles with the privatization and the lacking oversight is also partly because of these programs subsidized by these organizations. That is why the World Bank and IMF should be more careful professing what sort of thing would be genuine and sincere, since they have messed up before. It isn’t only the State House who has messed up, he has gotten help and followed the procedures of these mechanisms. If not, he wouldn’t be able to eat such vast amounts of donor funding in the past. This is well-known, but the lack of oversight, is because of the will of wanting to have control and a say in everything. That is why the letter from the President to Minister of Finance, is the reason for the new levied taxes. So, if you wonder why I have distrust to the World Bank and IMF, it is because of their history and that the public is paying for it, because their impact on the governments for the reasons. That these states should be guinea-pigs for the economy belief of trickling down economics, even as the results has begged differ if it really drips back into the system again. Which it doesn’t because the ones that gets a lot want to keep it and get some more. No dole it out to anyone they can find.

Here is what the World Bank stated today: “In the special section of the Update, the report analyses how Uganda could raise more domestic revenues to support its development. Uganda’s tax system is one of the most modern in the region, but revenue collections, at 14 percent of GDP, are low, and way below its tax potential. Tax avoidance and evasion, partly resulting from generous tax exemptions to investors, weak tax administration, and a large informal sector (now at 80 percent), pose challenges to increasing revenues. Up to 5 percent of GDP is lost annually in tax leakages. Personal income tax contributes roughly 18 percent of GDP compared to up to 40 percent in developed countries. VAT collections amount to 4 percent of GDP, but would rise to 6 percent if there were no exemptions. The report suggests that Uganda could widen its tax base by tapping into areas that are outside the tax net; applying tax instruments correctly and fairly; improving efficiency, transparency and accountability in tax administration; and delivering better public services” (World Bank – ‘Improving Taxation to Finance Uganda’s Development’ 15.05.2018).

Therefore, the World Bank likes the idea of adding more tax on the Mobile Money transactions and the movement of digital cash, as well as on Airtime and other needed things. The ones that hasn’t a bank-account or the ability to fund or even try to get a loans from the banking system. Are okayed by the World Bank as possible targets for taxes. This isn’t transparent, but making it more expensive to be poor, as the rates to transmit and the use mobile money will come. The companies whose use this method will bill the users, they will not take the hit. The same with all the traders and the importers of all the other items that was on the lists of the newly taxed items.

I doubt these new taxes will do any good, it will just be more funds for the elites, the NRM and the President to eat. They are not delivering government services with the trillions of shillings they are using now. They are billing up to their asses and spending rampant, without having the revenue. That is why the rising debts are there. Instead of living frugal and thinking of the future, the NRM and President Museveni are eating like there is no tomorrow!

State House, the President and the Cabinet are eating heavy, they are not delivering, they have no plans to do so. If so, they give locally when needed, but the lack of transparency and accountability, is the reason for missing funds. Recently even the documents from the GAVI Funds was taken from the Ministry of Health. Therefore, a government who cannot be trusted with funds giving donations to help the sick, how can we believe the tax put on Mobile Money will go to roads or teachers?

I doubt that, I am not that naive, this NRM has proven for 32 years, that they are eating and not caring. The World Bank can commend and praise. While I condemn, until they prove that they money are delivered to the schools, that the teachers have their salaries and the civil servants are properly paid. Not just hiring some random Cubans to fix the issues for a short time. That is not how to build a national health care system. That is how to mock the ones you already have. Peace.

UCC: Lifting of ban on sale and replacement of Sim Cards (08.05.2018)

Internet Censorship: the UCC orders ISPs to block unauthorized Online Media Pages!

On the 19th April 2018, the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) has sent a letter ordering all Internet Service Providers (ISP), that they are ordered to block “unauthorized” Online Data. That meaning the internet service providers can because of this block pages and news-outlets that isn’t accepted by the Government of Uganda. The National Resistance Movement (NRM) are really having a warfare on the content online. As it has already added taxes on airtime, on mobile money and also now asking to block pages too.

We can surely know that UCC will really struggle to give authorization to media houses, web-pages and content that questions the government. The letter from the government says it very clearly:

The purpose of this letter therefore, is to DIRECT you to IMMEDIATELY SUSPEND the provision of caring services to any Online Data communication service provider (online/Electronic Media News provider) that is not listed above and/or has not presented an authorization certificate or other express clearance from the Uganda Communication Commission” (Letter from Fred Otunnu to ISP – ‘Letter to ISPs on Unauthorized Online Data Communications Service Providers’ 19.04.2018).

They have put a list of 14 companies, where only two are authorized, these are Nile Post News Uganda Limited and China Haijang Online Africa Ltd. There are dozens other which is not, these are in process, the ones known are Chimps Media Ltd and Trumpet Media Ltd. Therefore, many pages are not here. There are dozens of outlets not mentioned or asked for authorization from the UCC.

That the UCC are attacking the online content is clear. The UCC are using their power and force to silence certain media. This is to stop the content the government doesn’t see fit. They are now trying to get all companies, who are using the platforms online to register, to give license and operate. That the UCC are having sleepless nights is evident. As they have already made it hard to register sim-cards lately, also the same government who wants to monitor porn. So this is continuation of the trying to control all online content.

This should be a field day for the Attorneys working Pro-Bono for the Online Content makers as the censorship of the government comes into force. Just like it did, when the UCC had a black-out and VPN during the General Election of 2016. The NRM are really afraid of free-spirited people and the UCC are losing their marbles.

This is to show, that if your not registered at us, we will order the ISPs to not show your page, block your ideas, your content and everything you got through telecommunications. Only way to get through that is using VPN. So the citizens should use VPN to the content from pages and apps that the government has blocked. Peace.

Telecommunications, Mobile Money and Cooking-Oil is hit by new taxes in Uganda!

You know there fiscal problems within the Government of Uganda (GoU). The GoU is on the rocks, as they are establishing more loans, more interests to pay and has leveraged their forex exchange, when they are levying today’s amount of new taxes. This is coming as reports of lacking hiring for the Civil Service, The Ministry of Public Service has suspended hiring of new positions in the districts and at the government institutions. This is happening, as the amount of cronies around the President is growing. Therefore, the wastage of funds are in and around the President, who can pledge funds as he wishes and give Presidential Handshakes to whoever he likes or needs. Therefore, today is sad day for transparency, as the state is eating itself, but not taking care of the needed services.

We know the state is poor, when the lacking banking-service and with the need of Mobile Money and Airtime on the Cellphones are getting hit by a tax. This is not social media tax, but is that the subscriber and user of the services, will get a withholding tax of 10% on transactions on Mobile Money and Airtime. This means, every time a Ugandan or someone buys airtime, in the price they are paying an added 10 % on the total price of the usage of minutes of airtime or making the transaction of funds between two funds more costly. This is really hitting the breadwinners and the ones who are servicing mobile money from the towns to villages.

Just to prove to how much the added cost on the Mobile Money is wished, as the withholding tax, they are adding direct also the excise tax on this from 10% to 15%, that means the added is 5% more on each transaction. If that isn’t excessive, just think about the two other taxes as well. Therefore, the state has added three taxes on using the phones. The citizens will have to plan more transactions, as they are more costly and will be less transactions of the amount, since the tax will shave off the amount of shillings sent to the fellow they wanted to give needed money through these services.

They are adding even more on every telecommunication services, not just the hit of withholding tax on it, but they are even adding an excise duty on it as well, meaning there are two pieces of taxes put on the same services, but at different times. Making the expenses of using the cellphones, hitting the roof and the value of the airtime dwindles, as you are paying more tax on each minute use. This excise duty is put on the level of 12% as well. So, expect the prices on airtime to rocket, as this hit both the agents to pay more tax on each, and also the cost of actually calling too. This is funds that the Telecommunication Companies will get back from the consumer, meaning citizens will pay more being in touch.

As they continue to give price hikes on necessities, they are putting a levy of 200shs on each liter of cooking oil, this meanings the price for making rollex or banana-pancakes will go up. Since before you buy the eggs and the flour to make your dish. You will pay more for each bottle, while the state gets simple taxation on this single item. It might seems pointless, but all fried foods will be more costly to make and a Samosa will cost more to make, therefore, expect a price hike on the hawkers foods in any stage where you waiting.

These are just some of the measures done by the state, there are several more, but this is really hitting the average citizen usage of phones and also cooking. This are just two items on a long lists of new taxes put on the people. Clearly, the state see the need for spikes of prices, growing inflation and lack of monetary control to come, as the chickens come to roost and the costs of debt services is hitting the fan.

The ones that has to pay for that, isn’t the elite, but all of the citizens who spends time outside their homes and buys into services. Which, means all of them. Peace.

Opinion: It is a rare day, catching the Ministry of Ethics and Integrity in an Open Lie!

We know by now, that former Reverent Simon Lokodo, the Minister for Ethics and Integrity is struggling and his whole ministry is flawed. The basic needs and the promises made are undercut, if not existing; why do I say that? Well, his Pornographic Machine to detect browsing and what else of that content has now been scrapped, that is promise that haven’t been kept. They cannot afford this sort of machine and therefore, has to figure out new ways to moral superior to the citizens.

Why where you lying in August 2016, promising this fancy machine would be delivered in September 2016? It has now gone 2 years and still nothing but empty promises. Not that I want the Republic to have that sort of equipment, because if people want to see porn. Let them see porn, it is their minds and their bodies that is enthused, not the whole public. It is not as if they are having public viewing like cinemas with it. Unless, the Ministry is fearing for that sort of activity.

In August 2017, the same Ministry said the Machine was coming soon, but it never did. That was year in and still nothing materialized, except for more lies from the Ministry of Ethics. Such a Noble place to be lying.

However, now in April 2018, the Ministry is saying it will buy software to monitor it instead, so the privacy breach is still important, but they lying itself isn’t? Double standard much, aye?

Therefore, it is bad to watch porn, but sanctioned by the state to lie. How convenient right? That the reverent is paid to lie and is doing it with a steady pace, surely he is running a marathon on this lie. Both in 2016 and 2017, as he was knocking down on the Porn Addicts. Instead of tackling the problem head-on, he has succumbed to narrowing in on software. The hardware has to wait, because of technical difficulties.

It is beautiful to have caught the magnificent gentleman and minister of Ethics in lying. Especially, when he has been so involved in catching other people and making a lesson out of people reactions. How he has attacked Stella Nyanzi for her demonstrations of oppressive behaviour. Therefore, it is about time someone says it.

Instead of backtracking, just say you lied and ask for forgiveness, I am sure there as some Catholics who can take you in for a while, so you can repent and ask for your sins to cease. The Confessions would uplift your soul and cleans your ways for the bad habit you clearly have.

It doesn’t matter at this point if the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) or the National Information Technology Authority (NITA), haven’t helped procure the machine, the software update to block pages is benign from the actual promises made. Therefore, time to repent from the lying ways. You cannot have a man preaching how sinful other people are and he is caught in lying. That is just bad and gives a sour taste in your mouth, doesn’t it?

Rev. Lokodo, please confess, it would be healthy for us and for you. That you would humbly ask the public for forgiveness and confess your sins. I don’t even ask for cash, for side-tracks or reasoning, just that you tell the truth. You are the head of Ethics in the Republic, we should expect you could have your tongue in check, if anyone in the Republic should, it should be you! Peace.

President Museveni proposes a Social Media Tax: Good luck enforcing it!

I know that President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni will not go door-to-door getting the cash-in, he will not issue the tax directly or levy the tax on each single individual who is on Social Media, but his letter to Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Matia Kasaija on the 12th March 2018 on “Re: Lack of Seriousness in Tax Collection”. That is the letter that propose to task some taxes on Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp. Where every single user of these are paying 100 shillings each per day. That is specialized task to gain huge revenues for the state. This is really to secure more funds to the Republic.

That President Museveni hasn’t thought this true, but will he get the names, does his CMI knows all who has WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, do they know how much these are used? Will these taxes be put when they are used and not levied the other days. The Uganda Revenue Authority, needs a mandate for this sort of tax, because this is also the privacy, since these are programs that people download on their free will. Not all have these. Is his plan to pay a 100 shillings for each days, so if you have three apps, will you pay 300 shillings per day?

This sort of ideas opens wormholes, is it that the Republic of Uganda, will through the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA), Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) and Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (MICT). Should all be involved in finding he ways to levy these sort of things. Should they get all the companies who are servicing these apps to put a pay-wall that you have to register to pay each day you enter? Is that the sort of plan?

That the MICT, MoFPED, URA, NIRA and UCC are sending letters to Facebook, Google, Apple, WhatsApp, Twitter and so on. So they can figure out how to get this tax. Because it needs a technical feature, unless the CMI and Intelligence at SIU Kireka has it all. Unless, the state has gathered it all in secrecy or if the Telecom companies has this registered in their records.

You can wonder, if the MTN, Airtel or any of them has been considered here, as they are paying taxes on all the added value of the airtime, the trade of the phones. That the state is trying to do this, is to force a tax, that should be taken on directly every phone-call and SMS. That your paying 5 shillings for picking the phone and 10 shillings for receiving. Also 5 shillings for every SMS and 10 for MMS. That is the nonsense of this.

But I don’t think the President has considered the implications, neither the invading of the privacy, unless he wants to order the companies to put a pay-wall for using social media, that will have to subtracted by credit-card, mobile-money or out of the air-time. That is how it is supposed to be. But than, this is a grand-old man. Whose not that sophisticated or smart enough to understand, what he is implicating. Unless, someone is trespassing on his lawn or going to close to his cows.

This idea should be scrapped in the country, that has struggled to register the Sim-Cards and have them registered correctly. That all Social Media should be monitored and levied tax on is insane, but fits the Modus Operandi of Museveni.

Ready, Set and Bogus. Peace.

Uganda Communications Commission: Clarification on Sim Swaps/Sim Replacements (27.03.2018)

Uganda Communications Commission – Public Notice on Scratch Cards (24.03.2018)

FDC opens up for an audit of Presidential Election of 2016: However, I doubt Mzee will ever do it!

The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) dropped today a report on the first 100 days of Patrick Oboi Amuriat as the Party President. This is a transparent and open move, to show what is happening behind the scenes, also show what they are doing at Najjanankubi Headquarters. It isn’t just mere hearsay, but recorded for the future to back-into the promises made and the building of party organization. This show resiliance, but also strength in the midst of oppression.

The paragraph that catched my eye was this one:

Review of the initiatives on 2016 Election Audit process

A number of development partners and donor agencies have been met to highlight what went wrong in the Presidential elections of 2016. The failure of government to implement recommended electoral reforms and the rushed and forceful amendment of the constitution were addressed to the country’s

partners. The Party is persuaded about the reluctance by Mr. Museveni to agree to an Audit of the 2016 Presidential elections outcome. Whereas we are open to dialogue, we wish to maintain our demand that this will only be based on the Audit of 2016 Presidential Election being on top of the Agenda” (FDC, P: 10, 2018).

After a hurdle of an election, a rigged affair with a math question, a questionable equation that doesn’t fit the numbers. That is what the Electoral Commission dropped in favor of the National Resistance Movement and the President for Life Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. Therefore, the lines here from the FDC. Says a lot about the stalemate, that the lacking care and the forced changes of the Constitution with the Amendment, that gave him life presidency. That has been more vital for the regime, than making sure there is provisions for free- and fair election.

The FDC knows that the NRM will not audit or have serious look into the General Election and the Presidential Election of 2016, because the NRM knows what the result will be. Therefore, the agenda of the FDC will not change the matter. The ghost of the past will come out and scare Museveni in his sleep. He has stolen and rigged a victory. That the donor agencies and development partners have gotten information is fine, but they are still supporting and working directly with the NRM. They have not stopped being partners with Museveni, even if they know that he has stolen it. The NRM rigged it and took the Republic for a ride.

The wish for dialogue with Musevni, will only end-up in fashion of Nairobi-talks of the past. Museveni will never accept to lose, he might play, but he will end on top. If not there isn’t anything in it for him. The President is only in it if he gets to eat and be the king. If the President isn’t king, than he will not accept anything. He knows that it was rigged and it was rigged on his orders. Therefore, an audit cannot happen, because then the obvious rigging will be exposed.

So, POA and FDC can wish for dialogue on this, but they are losing the premise. I think they know that, but it shows character that it is mentioned nevertheless. Peace.

Reference:

Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) – ‘OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT – 100 DAYS’ (19.03.2018)

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