With social media gaining ground in Uganda, the country’s President, Yoweri Museveni, has also resolved to utilize its potential to better serve his people.
His potential rival in 2016 general elections and his former Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, has fully utilized the power of social media to his advantage.
Mbabazi declared his presidential bid on YouTube and later shared on Twitter and Facebook getting both local and international coverage.
In June 2014, while still Prime Minister, Mbabazi was rated by Twiplomacy as the most conversational world leader on Twitter.
The annual global study of world leaders on Twitter dubbed Twiplomacy, conducted by Burson-Marsteller, a leading global public relations and communications firm, indicated that 95 per cent of Mbabazi’s tweets are replies to other Twitter users.
That month, Mbabazi had 33,268 followers [now 102,000 followers] on his handle @AmamaMbabazi.
Amama used to engage tweeps through his #AskPM sessions on Twitter.
The new consultant of NRM Communications, Simon Kaheru, even declared Mbabazi “president of Twitter country” saying however, he needed to go beyond that in order to become president of Uganda.
Museveni overruns Mbabazi
Team UOT, an initiative of Platinum Media Uganda, ranked President Yoweri Museveni’s Twitter account the 7th most followed in Uganda last year.
In July 2014, Twiplomacy revealed that President Museveni was the most influential African leader on the social media platform Twitter.
His account, registered on March 27, 2010 and verified on April 24, 2014 after sending out his first tweet ever had 39,491 followers by June 2014.
The handle @KagutaMuseveni popularized by his then Special Communications Assistant, Sarah Kagingo, now has 148,000 followers way above Mbabazi’s handle.
Months back, Museveni ordered his social media team sacked for failure to contain Mbabazi on social media.
He even employed the services of social media analyst, Kaheru and former Daily Monitor Editor, Don Wanyama, who he made a political assistant so as to catch up with social media.
Yesterday, Tamale Mirundi, the presidential advisor on Media, said Mbabazi popularity was a result of NRM party ignoring media yet a poll published by New Vision recently alleged that Museveni’s presence in media was “so great”.
With Mbabazi continuing to pull crowds by dominating social media presence, Museveni too has thought twice.
The president has announced both on his Twitter and Facebook accounts that on Friday 18th September 2015, at 11:00am, he will also hold a live session.
“I will hold a live chat with you on national and regional matters.”
He added: “I look forward to a constructive engagement.”
The session will be running under the hashtag #AskM7.
There are claims that he is holding the session on the same day September 18,  when he fired Mbabazi as Prime Minister.
“Brace yourself for typos,” a tweep said in reference to the president’s coming interaction with Ugandans.
Last year, Twitter suspended President Yoweri Museveni’s second unverified handle @YoweriKMuseveni over “broken English”.
Museveni’s @YoweriKMuseveni, handle consistently “murdered” Queen Elizabeth Regina’s language, English for a month or else until it was suspended and blocked for good.
Apart from possible typos, the tweep did not rule out the prospect of the session not taking place on Friday as promised.
Another Uganda, Charles Kaloli, made it clear to the president that they [Ugandans] “do not want to hear your lies anymore”.
“No body want to hear your voice apart from your few sycophants. Take a break man you are too old and you are a liability to our country. The earlier you realize that “ensi yakukoowa” [the world is tired of you] the better. Even those who pretend otherwise just love your money (I mean our money tax payers money you are squandering to buy cheap popularity,” Kaloli added.
Simon Laurent Saha told Museveni his government wouldn’t be bad at all “but what made me start hating your government is your people who keep stealing land from people”.
Nsereko Kenan said: “It’s time for you Mr. president to leave the power for us most wise youth we hate you 100% because since you became the president of Uganda in 1986 you have never think about youth!”
However, the biggest section of social media enthusiasts has welcomed the president’s initiative saying it was long overdue.
Nasser Cheung, a staunch supporter could not hide his excitement: “Well well well…Mzei to me you are really not a bad leader, but you’re not feeling any heart pain the way your people live. I would suggest, the way you ask for another Kisanga [another term in office] is the way you should give your people better living life at least one more time in any crop price like vanilla, coffee etc…….people will love you than before.”
Firi Firi said: “Thank you Mr president, it will be constructive engagement to sensible Ugandans who believe in your liberty and progress for Uganda and know digital visionary for your remaining period before they engage with their future comedian presidents.”
Ali Akweteireho said: “I salute your excellency my vote is ready and I will ask how many votes do want me to contribute from my friends, relatives and the youth for you to win TDA.”