The new consultant of NRM Communications, Simon Kaheru, has advised presidential aspirant, Amama Mbabazi, to go beyond social media if he wants to become the president of Uganda.
“‘President of Social Media’ does not come with an office provided for in the Constitution of Uganda, and all politicians would do well to keep that in mind as they embark on political activity here,” writes the Director of SMS Media Uganda on pctechmag.com.
Kaheru who doubles as a social media analyst was commenting on Mbabazi’s YouTube declaration that went viral on most social media platforms, saying in any case, “this wasn’t the first time a Ugandan presidential aspirant or hopeful had launched his campaign on YouTube or social media, as Dr. Peter G. Mwesige reminded us here”.
Urban TV Uganda invited Kaheru for a morning talk show, moderated by Gaetano Kagwa, where it was agreed that Amama took the victory of the day as far as social media was concerned.
In his article titled: “President of Social Media is NOT In The Constitution Yet”, Kaheru continues, “Social Media platforms aren’t the end-all of everything, especially when it comes to politics”.
He says after all, when the President and NRM Party Chairman returned home, he watered down and “replaced the Declaration” which would have gained momentum and “could easily have become problematic”.
“By close of Monday night, timelines were full of remarks, observations and reports of @KagutaMuseveni’s response, rather than the Declaration, so he had scored!”
Advice to Mbabazi
In his own social media expertise, Kaheru advised Mbabazi not to “use only one platform – it never really counts for much”.
“Social Media only makes sense if you understand the interactivity and virality involved – a video on YouTube must be tweeted round, put on Facebook, shared on WhatsApp, put onto TV, reported on in the newspapers, etc…”
“Don’t believe the hype – YOU created it. Seriously. Don’t read all the praise. Avoid reading the praise because the people you follow and who follow you are already your friends and will always be fawning; instead, look out for those other people and what they say, because THAT’S where your feedback is.”
“So if you have wolves on the ready to attack anybody who appears negative, hold them back – they might be losing you support that you might win with your points.”
“If you don’t interact with these guys in different forums and have them put something serious where their Facebook likes, YouTube comments and ReTweets are…”
“…if you are after votes, this is only one very small step in that very long journey – as @AmamaMbabazi should obviously be aware, since the revolution he and @KagutaMuseveni have been involved in for more than forty years did NOT rely on Social Media at all, though it was premised on social capital”.
What others think of Mbabazi
Hours after Mbabazi announced he would run for president outside the NRM, NRM figures described the former premier as a political “prostitute” who is exposing “moles” within NRM.
“He is acting as a prostitute because if you are a member of a family, why do you decide to quit when you have been blamed for a mistake you have committed?” Brig Matayo Kyaligonza, who is also the NRM vice chairman for western Uganda told The Observer.
Henry Banyenzaki, the minister of state for economic monitoring, thought Mbabazi was possessed by ghosts, that informed his decisions.
“He is possessed by some ghosts we don’t know and it’s those ghosts which motivate his decisions.”
Asked in a separate interview what he thought of Mbabazi as a president, Banyenzaki told The Observer Mbabazi himself is not convinced by the decision he took.
“Mbabazi has been part of this NRM for more than three decades. He has been part of government. He can claim to be part of its achievements. I have no problem with that, and he has been part of the failures.”
“Whatever NRM failed to do, Mbabazi has the biggest portion to account for. So, if he is saying that the NRM has failed, it’s him who has failed and actually he should say [that] he is the one who has failed the NRM.”
He said Mbabazi’s contribution to NRM has been scheming against his colleagues, scheming against his comrades and he always thought that he was the best amongst all of them and he was a very poor team builder.
“And that is why, for example, he failed to build a team of leaders in Kigezi region.”
He said the only leader he tried to mentor was Amama’s daughter, Nina Mbabazi, and wife, Jacqueline Mbabazi.
“So, he is such a selfish man, the only leadership he tried to mentor was his homestead only; his daughter, his wife, his sister-in-law [Hope Mwesigye]. You see, it’s a family affair. So, how can you trust such a person?”
Amama says Museveni is now on his knees
Despite the negative criticism, Amama told political activists that President Museveni was now on his knees.
“If we are organised and come up with the right political message, there will be change in 2016,” is quoted by The Observer as saying.
Amama reportedly said the president had become more susceptible to blackmail from various people who extort money from him under the pretext of being his supporters.
He said the support Museveni enjoys is superficial because it is rented but his genuine support was very thin.