Following the implementation of the unpopular social Media and mobile money tax on July 1, several Ugandans including musicians, politicians, civil society and people of various professions popped up and protested the tax regarding it as unfair.
Among these people is NTV news anchor, host and law student, Joel Ssenyonyi who together with other journalists, politicians and celebrities have been pushing a campaign to have the Social media and Mobile money tax repealed. The campaign is dubbed ‘This Tax Must Go’.
On Tuesday last week, Kyadondo East lawmaker Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine) led a group of activists in a demonstration in Kampala to express their resentment towards the taxes. The protest which Ssenyonyi was part of however later turned rowdy after the protesters got into a physical altercation with Police officers.
Teargas and live bullets were fired at the Constitutional Square in the heart of Kampala to disperse the protest which Police said was unlawfully assembled.
Now the incident has put the NTV journalist at loggerheads with the Commander of Kampala Metropolitan Police, CP Moses Kafeero.
The day after the protest, Ssenyonyi tweeted that he had received a telephone call from Kampala Metropolitan police, CP Moses Kafeero, threatening him over his participation in the Tuesday demo.
“This afternoon I got a call from CP Moses Kafeero,commander Kla Metropolitan @PoliceUg He promised to “crash”me because of my involvement in the protest against social media & mobile money tax. Nonsense! Away from this indisciplined officer, I’ll have the latest devts at 9pm on @ntvuganda,” Ssenyonyi tweeted.
But Mr Kafeero later denied the allegations raised by the journalist and termed them as lies and that they are “regrettable”.
He (Kafeero) who admitted to having talked to Ssenyonyi said the journalist was being dishonest. The Senior Police officer expressed his disappointment in Ssenyonyi for having taken part in an illegal demonstration.
“The post by Joel Ssenyonyi that l promised to “crash” him is a lie and an act of DISHONESTY. I want to set the record straight. I spoke to him and told him that I was disappointed with him having got involved in an illegal demonstration yet he and all the others know the requirements of the law on demonstrations and public processions,” a statement posted by Kampala Metropolitan Police Facebook page and attributed to Kafeero read.
“For him to tell a lie and judge me and call me names is unacceptable and regrettable,” CP Kafeero added.
In response to this, Ssenyonyi has dared the KMP Commander to sue him to courts of law if he indeed claims that the allegations he (Ssenyonyi) are false.
“Kafeero Moses if what I tweeted is a lie, in law it’s defamation, an offence. So I challenge you to charge me, then the phone record will be produced in court & you’ll eat your words. When a citizen commits an offence, you take them to court, not threaten them,” Mr Ssenyonyi explained.
He added that: “If I’m peddling lies, take me to court and the facts will speak for themselves. I’m a law abiding citizen, so I take offence when a senior police officer calls me to threaten me. This is totally unacceptable.”
Individuals are legally mandated to pay a 0.5% charge on mobile money transfer and Shs 200 Over The Top (OTT) services daily before accessing their various social media platforms.