By Umoja Standard Reporter
Lwengo, Greater Masaka: On 16th of November, 2022 this website published a story of a letter dated 11th/November 2022 from Volunteer Uganda Extra Limited (VUEL) an NGO under the leadership of Tushabe Bruce Nzabanita seeking Principal Town Clerk of Lwengo Town Council Mr. Muhammed Mfitumukiza for a public record of Revenue Enhancement Plan for FY 2019/20 and 2022/22 and a clarification on levying an alleged irregular dues in Lwengo Town Council especially on small businesses.
The former was done in relation to powers enshrined in Access to Information Act, 2005 and its subsequent statutory Regulation, 2011 after public outcry on service delivery and alleged unnecessary taxation and dues from the Town Council according to Mr. Tushabe.
Tushabe Bruce Nzabanita- President Volunteer Uganda Extra Limited (VUEL)/Courtesy.
The Act provides that a request of access to public information must be affected within 21 days failure to comply, the other party may choose to go legal.
In refence to the letter above, the 21 days elapsed on 2nd/ December, 2022 and there was no clear response from the Town Clerk in question though he confirmed receipt of the letter.
Important to note.
There is no legality, rational and procedural proprietor that compel small businesses such as roasting meat, maize, cassava, gonja, cooking katogo and tea, making porridge, frying pancakes and chapati on the roadside at night to be subjected to taxation.
Businesses like stores for coffee, maize and beans are given operational permit, shops and related businesses are given Trading License, Pharmacies, drug shops are given operation permits or double tax at times then small businesses as mentioned above are not governed by any law so it is unlawful to impose on them any fees.
Responding to the request, Mr. Mfitumukiza jokingly asked the organization to follow a prescribed form when requesting for access to a record or information as in Sec 11 of Access to Information Act, 2005 and Reg.3 of Access to Information Regulation, 2011 which was instead fully satisfied by requesting party.
Muhammed Mfitumukiza, Town Clerk- Lwengo Town Council/ Courtesy Photo.
In a letter dated 1st/December, 2022 Mr. Tushabe the president of Volunteer Uganda Extra Limited informed theTown Clerk that his organization is meant to address the lacuna created by Local Governments on accountability allegedly frustrated by persons holding public offices like his.
“It’s such a bureaucratic tendency that has caused government to incur losses in tax payer’s money with no room for accountability. It is trite to note that the request made in writing which could as well have been made orally with facts visibly identifiable was in line with section,11 and Regulation,3 of Access to Information Act 2011”. Quoted Tushabe.
He went on to inform the Town clerk that ‘this is a matter affecting public interes, any delay in availing certified copies of the documents in question, will be a disservice and injustice to the nation’.
It is against this background that Volunteer Uganda Extra Limited under Tushabe’s leadership gave an issued him an ultimatum of 7 gays in which he should,
..halt levied taxation on people in question pending clarification and satisfaction of the organization’s request as earlier was,
..make available to their office certified copies of Lwengo Town Council Revenue Enhancement Plan for FY 2019/2020 and 2022/2022.
He stressed that, it is the last chance of request and failure to comply will compel them to institute proceeding in the courts of law for his/town clerk’s compliance. He added that the organization is a legal person with capacity to sue or being sued therefore should be addressed as an author of the document.
It is important to note that the request is one of the public interests which does not require fees if any to access such documents.
Mr. Tushabe Bruce Nzabanita vowed to drive such initiative throughout entire Lwengo district in order to deal away with such vices that deprive the population of their entitlement on the road to socio-economic development.