Joel Ssenyonyi, the spokesman of the People Power movement has said the social media tax that was enacted last year was intended solely to stifle political dissent.
In May last year, government imposed a Shs 200 excise duty worth 200 shillings commonly known as Over the Top Tax (OTT) on users of social media platforms.
Speaking at the Uganda social media conference 2019 in Kampala yesterday, however, Ssenyonyi said the tax notwithstanding, the social media scene as it is in Uganda today can still be harnessed to cause social change and hold leaders accountable.
He noted that digital natives across the world played a key role in calling for justice following the Arua municipality’s violent 2018 by-election.
Several other instances, he added, have all proved the potential of social media.
“This guy decided he is above the law; he is too powerful and all important. And in many ways he violated a traffic officer and there was a lot of noise about that, currently they are in court. Social media did that” he said in reference to Gen Matayo Kyaligonza.
The People Power mouthpiece therefore urged social media users to continue shining a spotlight on all heinous acts.
At the event, visiting Kenyan author and digital activist Nanjala Nyabola expressed concern over increased surveillance of internet platforms.
“One thing is surveillance and how power is using the information that we generate and create in order to control our behavior”, she said.
According to the 2019 “We are Social” report, out of Uganda’s Facebook audience of 2.4 million, adults constitute 9.3% while the male and female audiences are 62% and 38% respectively.
The report also shows that active users of Instagram in Uganda have increased by 2.4% while Twitter has suffered a 14% slump.