african news


Uganda and Kenya: A Tale of Taxation and Protests

Uganda’s recent decision to impose taxes on imported sanitary pads, sparing locally made ones, has sparked intense debate. This policy, meant to protect local manufacturers, highlights broader issues around taxation and public response, particularly when compared to Kenya.

Different Protest Cultures

Uganda and Kenya showcase starkly different behaviors when it comes to public protests. In Kenya, demonstrators are bold, often directly confronting the police and even taking selfies on police trucks. In Uganda, however, protesters tend to avoid direct confrontation, fearing severe repercussions.

Protest Dynamics

Kenyan protests typically start small and gradually intensify. Conversely, in Uganda, the momentum of protests often dissipates by lunchtime. Various factors contribute to this, including social responsibilities and the government’s readiness to quash demonstrations early on.

Symbolic Acts

The symbolic theft of the parliamentary mace during a Kenyan protest highlights the defiance and boldness of Kenyan demonstrators. Such an act in Uganda would be unimaginable due to the harsh consequences protestors might face.

Public Discourse

In Kenya, public figures like Eric Omondi openly criticize the government, holding leaders accountable for unfulfilled promises. This level of public engagement is less common in Uganda, where elite criticism tends to be confined to online platforms rather than street protests.

Economic Implications of High Taxes

High taxes in Africa, particularly in Uganda and Kenya, significantly impact the economy. They increase living costs, reduce disposable income, and hinder investment and job creation, perpetuating a cycle of poverty and economic stagnation.

Supporting the Dependent Population

A common issue in African countries is the small working population supporting a large number of dependents. This places a heavy tax burden on the employed, who must fund public goods and services for the entire population.

Taxation Dilemma

Reducing taxes could increase disposable income, but it also raises public expectations from the government. This creates a paradox where governments must balance revenue generation with maintaining public satisfaction.

Government Spending

To mitigate these issues, governments should focus on cutting unnecessary expenditures. Like families trimming budgets during tough times, governments need to eliminate spending on non-essential items to manage resources efficiently.

Regional Budget Comparisons

Examining budgets across the region, Burundi’s exceptionally low budget raises concerns about its spending priorities. In contrast, the budgets of Uganda and Tanzania suggest the need for more efficient resource allocation.

Budget Timing and Implementation

Uganda’s practice of reading its budget in June, midway through the year, can cause confusion and misalignment with the fiscal year, impacting financial planning and execution.

A Balanced Approach

For Uganda and Kenya, balancing taxation, public spending, and economic growth is essential. The goal should be to ensure fair taxation, efficient government expenditure, and public satisfaction.


The contrasting approaches to taxation, public protests, and government spending in Uganda and Kenya reflect broader challenges faced by many African nations. Addressing these issues requires thoughtful policy-making, transparent governance, and active public engagement.


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