By Micheal Atwakiire
Sheema: Sheema Municipality officers survived being beaten by angry sand mining demonstrators at Ngoma Nungi, Kagango division in Sheema municipality. These were against the Municipality sand loading taxes.
Recently, Sheema Municipality council agreed and passed a budget that starting with this financial year, every vehicle loading sand should be charged tax basing on its size. On Friday 5 July, the Municipal Council officers built a temporary gate near sand mining sites targeting every truck to pay the agreed tax. This annoyed sand miners and loaders who on 6 July showed their grievances by stoning officers who had ambushed the area.
Mrs Apophia Natuhamya the finance secretary Sheema Municipality tried explaining to angry demonstrators saying, miners were called in a meeting at the Municipality headquarters but some didn’t attend. Those who attended agreed to pay tax.
“You listen and I tell you this, we called you in a meeting but most of you, refused to attend but those who attended are aware about this fee, I therefore advise you to visit municipal offices for clear explanation and I know you will be helped,” Said Apophia.
Andrew Kushaba a sand trader said they are tired of paying funny Municipality taxes. He blamed the new Sheema Town clerk Justine Barekye that ever since she came in Sheema, residents have never gotten peace.
“If you want any form of tax, go to Sheema municipality, we pay taxes even those of Kampala don’t pay, but the only problem we have is one, this so called Town clerk Justine Barekye. Ever since she came, everything in Sheema Municipality changed negatively, this woman from Ibanda became a problem to many of us, how comes that all these came in just a short time she has spent here? “Kushaba said.
Brian Akandonda also trader blamed some Government officials whom he blamed of loading Sad using Government cars hence competing them out. “It’s like these municipality officers are chasing us from Sheema indirectly, they have now started bringing here government vehicles to carry sand to our customers, remember for them they charge customers less money since they use Government fuel a thing that has left us jobless,” Brian narrated.
Later, Sheema Central Police calmed the situation and exempted them from paying tax until they sort out with Municipal Council. Our reporter tried to talk to the Town clerk Justine Barekye seemed to be busy in a meeting.
According to Apophia Natuhamya, a 10 tyre and above truck is supposed to pay Shs20000, forward vehicle to pay Shs5000 and then canter, pickups to pay Shs3000. This money is paid per loading.