After a brief review period, Ugandan regulators have decided to double down on both the decision to charge citizens a daily levy for access to social media, and the controversial reasoning behind it.
Since July 1, Ugandans have been paying 200 Uganda shillings ($0.05) a day to use social media. Whoever didn’t pay was blocked from accessing sites and apps like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and 55 others. To get round the blockade, many people have been using virtual private networks rather than pay the social media tax.
Ugandans have been protesting the tax online with the hashtag #ThisTaxMustGo. Offline, the constitutional court was petitioned to reverse it and a brief street protest was held in Kampala. The instant outrage seemed to convince president Yoweri Museveni’s government to review the tax.
The president met parliamentarians from his party to discuss it. The result: the tax is staying.