Many people have misused positions in Uganda. The Graduated tax was one area of abuse by some people in the Local Government's in Uganda. I remember a cousin of mine who was clearly suffering from AIDS was mishandled shameless by tax collectors and a few days he passed on. There are many stories to tell. For any one who wants to get money from the people, Graduated tax should be off the list. There are many cases of Human Rights abuses by the locals who were involved in this act and should not be seen again on Uganda scene. Some people drowned into Lake Victoria as they were chased for Graduated tax. It is sad, but real misuse of power.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
MY SPINE WAS BROKEN BY GRADUATED TAX COLLECTORS
Tom Gwebayanga and Fred Sekanjako
1 October 2011
DAWUDI Diima Nali, 48, will forever regret the events of July 2, 1995, when graduated tax collectors broke his ribs. At night, the tax collectors stormed Nsuube village in Budondo sub-county, Jinja district.
They banged his door and commanded him to get out.
At first, he thought they were robbers. However, when the banging intensified, he realised they were administrators hunting for graduated tax defaulters.
Trembling, he jumped over his wife and headed to the door that was almost giving way. He made his way through and by the time he swung the door open, he had resolved to escape.
He did not want to be locked up in the filthy sub-county jail.
The tax collectors realised his intention and tried to intercept him, resulting in a thorough chase.
The team comprised the sub-county chief, the LC1 chairman and three stick wielding LDU's.
They pursued Nali and logged him and within a minute, he had collapsed bearing broken ribs, a dislocated back and a shattered spinal cord!
Nali narrates ordeal
I had not cleared my graduated tax, but I had told the LC1 chairman, Fred Gwotaisenaye, about my plans to pay.
I still wonder how he dumped me and instead came with LDUs to arrest me. I was beaten like a chicken thief and the injuries inflicted on me have persisted for fifteen years now.
I spent four years in Jinja Hospital, where doctors diagnosed that my back had been broken and the spinal cord destroyed.
Since then, I have never walked on my feet. In hospital, I could neither change position nor move a limb. By the time I was discharged, my legs had gone numb and tiny. Now, I cannot change position without being helped.
I even lost the ability to have sex. My wife ran away and got married another man in Iganga. By then, we had four children. Since then, I have stayed indoors day and night for the last 15 years.
I live on handouts from sympathisers, who bring me some sugar and food.
My body is frail, as I cannot access sunlight that enriches the body with vitamins. My elder brother, Ibrahim Waiswa (52), is my nearest helper who assists me in case I want to relieve myself.
He brings a plastic bucket that he puts below my buttocks and takes the stool to the toilet.
My four children dropped out of school. I could no longer fend for the family, but worse still, politicians have been useless to me.
WHO DISABLED DIIMA?
Although he knows those who assaulted him, Diima did not seek legal redress.
"I cannot waste resources on legal affairs when I live on handouts," he said.
Recently, the Maranatha Ministries in Jinja, led by Betty Musiiro, learnt about his plight.
They have started giving him some assistance like food, sugar and beddings. However, the roof of his grass-thatched hut leaks.
Asked to comment on an MP's recent proposal that graduated tax should be reinstated,
Diima complains that legislators like Frank Nabwiso and Fred Mbagadhi Nkaayi, who have represented his constituency, Kagoma, over the last 15 years have never visited him.
How can anyone think about bringing back graduated tax when he is still in so much pain?
"They should not betray us. I am suffering because of graduated tax," he said. Like Diima, various people have opposed the graduated tax proposal, forcing Mbarara Woman MP Emma Boona to abandon it.
Will graduated tax come back?
Boona, a member of the public service and local governments committee of Parliament, had proposed to the committee that the Government reintroduces graduated tax, saying many people, especially the youth, had given up on working.
Subsequently, the committee called for a meeting to discuss the matter, but majority of the members opposed it, saying the tax was abused.
"I am not considering bringing any motions to have the tax reinstated because majority of the people do not want the tax reinstated. Even if I bring it, it will not receive much support," she said.
Boona, however, has not yet given up totally. She is carrying out further consultations with various stakeholders to find out how to raise the issue in future. Her main argument is that ever since the tax was scrapped, many Ugandans lost interest in working since they do not see any compelling reason why they should work.
The opponents of graduated tax argue that it was collected using crude and expensive methods.
But, Boona argues that if a tax was collected using inappropriate ways and the money spent wrongly, the solution is not to do away with the tax.
"We should only improve the way this tax is collected. People no longer want to work.You go to the villages and find people just gambling in the morning and you get frustrated," she added.
It is now six years since the Government abolished graduated tax in 2005 on the grounds that it was an unfair burden on the poor.
However, local council chairpersons, who want the tax to be reinstated, noted that ever since the tax was scrapped, most of their district activities have been constrained due to inadequate funding from the Government.
Before its abolition, graduated tax was the main source of revenue to many poor districts.