Mr. President, I have read your article dated 10th July, 2017 on the recent by-elections. I thank you for congratulating me on my victory in the Kyadondo East polls. For emphasis, it is not me who won but rather the ideas which I presented to the electorate. It was especially a victory of a people determined to get involved in how they are governed.
While I agree with some aspects of your article, I don’t agree with many of the conclusions you draw. For example, I agree that unemployment, corruption, increased levels of crime and leaders not connecting with the population are serious issues. These are not mere gaps but are grave questions of national importance which must be addressed. I am constrained to respond to some of your points, mainly three.
Firstly Mr. President, you castigate the media for covering our campaigns very widely and accuse them of not being happy when the NRM wins by-elections. In this regard you single out the New Vision. Anyone who has been to Uganda or who has followed our politics knows that this is not an accurate analysis. Rather than focus on the recent by-election, it is better for one to consider our electioneering process and politics in general. It is on record that due to direct and indirect pressure from the government, in most cases media coverage favours the NRM. Only last year, the European Union Observation Mission said this of the 2016 elections;
“…the overall reporting environment was conducive to self-censorship and yielded coverage overwhelmingly in favour of the incumbent and the NRM. Thus, despite the fact that more than 300 media outlets operate in Uganda, the variety of information available across the media landscape was constrained, limiting voters’ ability to make an informed choice.”
On its part, the Supreme Court while noting that this issue has been recurrent, held that state owned media failed to give balanced coverage to all presidential candidates as required by law.
Therefore, despite the progress made with regards to media freedom, the NRM gets more coverage on a daily.
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