Nakibinge speaks out on mobile money tax

It was a celebration to mark 123 years since the return of Prince Nuhu Mbogo Kyabasinga from exile, but offered a platform for Muslim leaders to speak about the topical issues in the country.

Prince Kassim Nakibinge Kakungulu, the titular head of Muslims in Uganda, a grand son to Mbogo took a swipe at government for the tax that he said is unfair.

“If the Minister of Finance  [Matia Kasaija] has denounced it, the MPs who passed it are also
denouncing it, and the person assented to it [President Yoweri Museveni] is also distancing himself from it, that is enough to show that it is bad law, an unfair law,” Nakibinge said.

A cross section of Muslims at the celebrations.

There has been growing agitation since the tax came into effect on July 1st that Museveni has in two separate statements on social media said that his proposal was 0.5% but not 1% which was passed by Parliament.

Government is now scheduled to table a bill on July 19 to amend the Excise Duty  (Amendment) Act 2018 which introduced the controversial taxes.

Nakibinge however says that instead of amending, the taxes need to be scrapped.
“The best way forward is not to amend but drop the tax. The people are already burdened with enough taxes. There is the 30% income tax, there is withholding tax, VAT and excise duty among others. It is only unfair to go on and tax the people for the mobile money transactions,” Nakibinge said.

Mbogo was exiled to Zanzibar in 1893 by Capt Frederick Lugard, the representative of the Imperial British East African Company (IBEACO) in Uganda before the British declared Uganda their protectorate.

Mbogo had at the time fled with his nephew, then Kabaka Nuhu Kalema, to Kijungute in Bunyoro at the height of the religious wars in Buganda.

When Kalema died of smallpox in 1890 and left Mbogo as the leader of the Muslim community, the Muslims declared him their Kabaka.

Not comfortable with the new Muslim power base at Kijungute, Lugard persuaded Mbogo and Kalema’s surviving son to return to Buganda before he (Lugard) treacherously had Mbogo arrested and detained to the annoyance of rest of the Muslims.

They subsequently started mobilising to regain power and political influence.

With support from Nubian and Egyptian soldiers, they planned a revolt and when Lugard realised that Mbogo’s influence was intolerable even under detention, he had Mbogo exiled to Zanzibar between 1893 and June 25, 1895.

Upon return from Zanzibar, Mbogo over saw a new era in the growth and development of Islam in Uganda.

He for instance persuaded the colonial government and the Kabaka’s government to officially recognise Muslims and key Islamic practices.