Digital Campaigning: Expect opposition candidates to be blocked from the air-waves during the campaigns…
The Electoral Commission released the Road Map for the General Elections of 2021 today. This is so everyone involved, every stakeholder and party can adjust their programs. They can work towards the deadlines, deliver their nominated candidates and prepare for impact. We can all assume this is done for some transparency. However, there been no legislation nor any changes of substance since the 2016 General Elections. So expect another rigged race and outcome, which is already pre-fixed by the buddies within the EC.
To think otherwise in 2020 is naive and deluded. The National Resistance Movement (NRM) will own the Parliament, will hold the stranglehold on the Presidency and will only give breadcrumbs to the Opposition. That is what it does to show sympathy and also prove to donors that it has some sort of democracy. Even when all know it isn’t real and there are no level playing-field.
The Road Map today was striking and COVID-19 based, as the EC is preparing for digitally campaigning for all the parties involved. The Electoral Commission stated today this: “Mass rallies will not be allowed but campaigns will be conducted mainly through media” (EC, 16.06.2020).
With this in mind, the candidates on various of levels has a short span of time to hit the airwaves, online outlets and on the TV screens. This is coming as the state has enforced the OTT Tax and made it expensive to be on social media. The state also known for blocking opposition leaders to on the local radios. If they are sincere in this election. They will open up the radios, let the opposition candidates have conversations and appeal to the public through there. As the rural areas isn’t fully operative with internet to every village and home. There are not even electricity to every home. That is why this strategy will backfire and someone will not get the whole gist from all candidates.
We can also expect that the President and the NRM blocks the airwaves for the times of the speeches of the President. Especially in the time frame of the digitally campaigns. That is just inevitable. He will block Besigye and Bobi Wine from speaking out at the same time. He will not accept that. That is hurting his fragile ego.
There are just something we can anticipate. There will be self-made sessions on Facebook and Live Taping, which is not needed with any media house. However, if the people want to reach far and wide. Than they need to hit the airwaves, needs to be on the TV stations and be able to speak across the platforms. We have seen in the past that the Uganda Communication Commission has sanctioned Radios, TV stations for having Bobi Wine on. They have also blocked Besigye, even RDCs has blocked Besigye for appearing on Radio shows. So, we anticipate a hurdle and destructive patterns here.
The system and control from high above will be visible here. I don’t expect it to really change. However, they should if they want it to look good. I expect arrests, house-arrests and other things. Just as the opposition are trying to travel to radio stations and such. That is just the sad reality Also expect police to block stations and stop from transmitting. This is just something that will appear. Later the UCC and RDC will have an excuse and do it for “safety”. Even if the Opposition is supposed to be allowed on the airwaves. While the NRM candidates and Flag-Bearers can do whatever they feel.
This is just my imagination, but I don’t think its far fetched from the possibly reality in a few months time. Unless, they suddenly opens for rallies and then venues will be closed. Where the Opposition will be chased by the authorities and sometimes end behind bars. Peace.