Uganda to Review Controversial Social Media Tax Following Public Protests

Uganda to Review Controversial Social Media Tax Following Public Protests

Demonstrators were met with tear gas and bullets as they took to the streets to protest Uganda's controversial social media tax on Wednesday.

The Ugandan government's decision to implement a social media tax has been a controversial one to say the least.

The tax went into effect on July 1, and requires Ugandans who use sites such as Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter to pay a fee of 200 shillings ($0.05) before gaining access.

The decision was highly contested from the beginning, with many arguing that it was a way for the government to censor citizens. President Yoweri Museveni claimed early on that the tax would help curb online gossiping.

Ugandans have taken to social media in the days since to denounce the president and the implementation of the levy. Many used sharp humor to express their anger, but today things took a more serious turn.

Earlier Wednesday morning, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Kampala in a protest organized by musician and member of parliament Bobi Wine who leveraged social media last year in order to win his position, reports Times Live.

Police and protestors faced off, as officers who fired bullets and tear gas in an effort to break up the crowd as they marched towards parliament.

Following public protests, Uganda's parliament has announced its plans to review the order,BBC Africa reports.

"Government is now reviewing the taxes taking into consideration the concerns of the public and its implications on the budget," said the country's Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda.

"The president has provided guidance on the matter and encouraged further discussion with a view to reaching consensus on how we should raise the much needed revenue to finance our budget."