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Navuga Racheal Mirembe is the First Prize Winner of the 2024 "Adventures of Jonathan Gullible" Africa Liberty Camp Essay Writing Contest, organized by Joram Mwesige Joram Kyenjojo

HOW THE ADVENTURES OF JONATHAN GULLIBLE, WRITTEN MORE THAN 20 YEARS AGO, RELATES TO THE SITUATION AND CONDITIONS OF GOVERNANCE AND LIFE IN UGANDA COMMUNITIES

 



By Navuga Racheal Mirembe

31st May, 2024

 

     The TALL TAX chapter portrays a society where tall people are heavily taxed. THIS IS A PROGRESSIVE TAX WHERE THOSE WHO OWN MUCH AND THOSE WHO WORK HARD ARE TAXED. TO AVOID THIS TAX, IN THE BOOK THE ADVENTURES OF JONATHAN GULLIBLE, TALL men walk on their knees or even crawl to avoid high taxes. The tax code is amended to "level the field" for people of different heights, forces individuals to adapt their lives accordingly. Despite this absurdity, people comply to save money, with exemptions for politicians. The narrative highlights the extreme lengths individuals go through in order to minimize tax burdens, even at the expense of physical discomfort. The excuse is to put people on an equal footing, to achieve equality.

     In Uganda, however, the "Tall Tax" relates to the policies and beliefs of the tax authorities, the Uganda revenue authority and government policies. The pure progressive tax is when those who earn much pay much more as well,

     First, Social Class Disparities are similar to how tall people are perceived to have advantages in the essay, individuals from higher social classes in Uganda are also taxed heavily with the introduction of the EFRIS tax system (Electronic Fiscal Receipting Invoice System) that business capital above 150 million at every stage of value addition which makes it multiply taxes that are exorbitant to the taxpayer with heavy penalties of more than 6 million or imprisonment if they sell without using the system.

     Secondly, Political Influence and Corruption. The exemption for politicians from the "Tall Tax" in the essay reflects a scenario where those in power are exempted from rules that apply to others. Similarly, in Uganda, there have been instances of political elites benefiting from preferential treatment or exemptions from certain regulations, leading to perceptions of corruption and unfairness.

     Thirdly, Adaptation to Socioeconomic Pressures. Just as individuals in the essay adapt their behavior to minimize tax burdens, people in Uganda adjust their lifestyles or

livelihood strategies in response to economic pressures or government policies. This could include informal employment, migration to urban areas, or other coping

mechanisms like black markets. 

     The story of the "Tall Tax" scenario, therefore reflects broader themes of poor policies and a bad taxation system in Uganda. In addition to the exorbitant tax system and management, Uganda faces harsh regulations and interventionist state apparatus,

 

     THE FOOD POLICE chapter tells a story where a farmer is arrested by the Food Police for growing too much food, which violates the Council imposed quotas. In the chapter, the farmer's wife that Jonathan finds weeping reveals the injustice of the system, where incompetent farmers benefit from government support while honest farmers suffer.

     The essay highlights the control exerted by the Council of Lords over agricultural practices that are happening in Uganda today where growing of mira (mairungi), sugarcane growing and other narcotic drugs are heavily taxed and licensed, requiring up to 100

million to deal in that business and the related negative impact on farmers who resist, like imprisonment, banning them from their properties and also taking and giving their properties to others.

     Ultimately, it portrays a society where being a good farmer is penalized, leading to economic hardship and injustice for those who refuse to comply with oppressive regulations. This however is not a fictional story but rather presents real vices that happen to farmers in similar context. Based on my experience from Ugandan.

     In the provided passage, the "Food Police" represents a government authority enforcing regulations on food production and distribution, primarily aimed at controlling prices and market dynamics. They restrict farmers from producing too much food to prevent price drops that could harm other farmers. The result of this is high market prices and inflation. Again, the enforcement is always arbitrary and unjust, favoring those who comply with their regulations, even if their farming practices are inferior.

     In Uganda, while there may be challenges and issues within the food system, the focus is more on ensuring the well-being of both producers and consumers within a regulatory framework that supports food security and safety and to achieve this end, government has made mistakes by employing harsh and interventionist policies that curtail progress and proper running of the just economy to achieve economic freedom and individual rights.

     Lastly, I want to acknowledge that the whole book gives stories of how the government controls freedom and provides an alternative case for individual liberty.

 

 


Winner: Navuga Racheal Mirembe





Organizer: Mwesige Joram Kyenjojo

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