Social media seized the narrative in Uganda’s election. Why this was good for democracy

Ordinary Ugandans are pouring their social and political grievances onto social media platforms, spawning debates around accountability and governance. They have taken to recording events they find newsworthy and posting them directly to ordinary people’s WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter accounts. In the process, they are sidestepping traditional channels – mainly radio, television and newspapers – along with their bureaucratic and hierachical procedures of news gathering.

The migration to social media has been driven by two key factors. The first is the wave of excitement in favour of Kyagulanyi, better known by his stage name Bobi Wine, and his bid for the presidency.

The second driver has been the fact that Uganda has a very youthful voting age population. The country has the second youngest population on the continent. According to the World Population Review, just 2% of Ugandans are 65 or older. These young Ugandans have turned to their favourite tool and pastime: social media. The easy access to information on smartphones has emboldened them to speak out without fear.

Read more: The Conversation




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