Politicians in Hoima are putting down the microphone and picking up their smartphones as the nature of campaign changes ahead of the 2021 general elections.
One of the politicians doing is Hoima municipality seat contestant Beatrice Wembabzi who has started taking social media classes.
Wembabazi plans to run for the Member of Parliament seat for Hoima and has set up Facebook and WhatsApp fan groups to reach potential youthful voters.
She is trying to get a handle of holding campaigns on social media, radios, and TV as directed by the Electoral Commission this month instead of physical rallies.
The Electoral Commission has ruled out physical rallies for candidates who wish to run for public office for fear of the Coronavirus disease spreading when large crowds gather. This is in line with a presidential directive and advice from the Ministry of Health.
Wembabazi says, “I opened my first Facebook account in 2006 but I had no interest in it. I opened it because my friends and family were pressuring me to have an account. Now it has become critical because of the nature of these elections.”
The thirty-four old aspiring politician is taking social media so seriously that she now a trainer who comes to her home at 7:30am to teach her how to use it.
She explains, “I have chosen to invest more in training and take advantage of social media so as to explain my manifesto to the youth on social platforms who may not have time for radio and Tv’s but have time for social media.’’
She believes if she can master how to get her message across on social media, it will reduce the cost of hiring more influencers and bloggers. She has already learned and created five WhatsApp groups to spread her political message.
But while politicians like Wembabazi are ready to adapt to the new political campaign methods, not all their audience is.
One such potential voter called Martin Ayinabyona says, ‘’I am ignorant on how to use social media and neither do I have money to buy data. If they want us to vote them, let them address us physically since we also have less time for radio.’’
It remains to be seen how the politician and their voter will be able to connect in what promises to be a scientific election.