By Richard A Luce
A detailed plan through which the Uganda ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party intends to win by hook or crook next year’s general election reveals how the nearly 30-year old government of President Yoweri Museveni has allocated billions of shillings to plant its agents into media houses all over the country and use social media including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and online newspapers to promote ‘Candidate Museveni’.
While it is not illegal for any political party seeking elective office to use the above-mentioned facilities, Ugandan voters will indeed wonder how one party has unlimited access to funds that no other party in the country can ever dream of having, making the 2016 Uganda general election a foregone conclusion on who the ultimate winner will be.
A private correspondence to the Head of Special Duties at State House, Entebbe, the official residence of the Ugandan Head of State, has found its way to our offices here in London. The correspondence signed off by Joel Isabirye, a well-known Ugandan media consultant and Nicholas Mpiirwe otherwise known as ‘Messe’, reveals how the Museveni government is going to use millions of pounds to fund a media mobilisation effort in which government agents have already been placed in several media houses to promote what they have handsomely called ‘Candidate Museveni’. This will be done not only through social media but through more than 50 privately-owned radio stations all over the country, newspapers and TV stations where efforts are already underway to plant government agents in positions of authority.
In a democratic country where all political parties can freely air their views and promote candidates in all media houses, the move by the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) to ensure its flag bearer emerges the winner is a normal done thing. But the kind of finances that the NRM is willing to allocate to the 2016 campaign cannot be matched by any other political party in the country, making it virtually impossible for the opposition to mount a meaningful campaign against Museveni who has ruled the country with an iron fist since January 1986.