Uganda’s 2016 General election is now only hours away. Voting will be open at 7am and I suspect some voters might be in the lines even a few hours earlier. I will personally be at my polling station before 6am. As we have seen over the past year, social media has been very active with conversations on the issues around the election, and we expect that in the next few days we shall have it at its peak as tensions heighten, and there’s a lot of anxiety about how the process will go.
Social media has its benefits in all this, giving all citizens with an internet connection the ability to report on what’s happening where they are so that we don’t have to wait for the media houses to get there and go through their processes to get us the information. Even with the various live TV crews, we can’t possibly have them everywhere.
However this comes with disadvantages, like the potential for spreading falsehoods and baseless propaganda that can cause unnecessary unrest and tension.
Social media recklessness. Don’t incite. Please verify information before you publish. Mind your language. #UgandaDecides
— Mark Keith Muhumuza (@mumakeith) February 17, 2016
As Mark Muhumuza has cautioned, avoid sharing information that you aren’t sure is true. You just might participate in causing a state of panic and emergency over matters that were much simpler and already under control.
We have put together a list of online resources that you can check out whenever you need to verify a report, need an official position, or just want to know more information about a particular issue related to this election. If you know of a resource that we’ve not listed, kindly let us know in the comments or by email, we’ll quickly add it for the benefit of everyone else.
Official Government communication:
Whereas there are many stakeholders in this election promising to do parallel vote counts, only the Electoral Commission has the mandate to announce election results, so look out for communication on these:
- Electoral Commission website: ec.or.ug
- Online verification: ec.or.ug/register
- EC Twitter: @UgandaEc
- EC Spokesman Twitter: @jktaremwa
- Government Spokesman: @OfwonoOpondo
- Media Center Twitter: @UgandaMediaCent
Third party sources
NBS TV, NTV Live Streams
NBS TV beefed up their resources last year, both human and otherwise. They poached presenters from NTV and brought in new equipment, but went a step further to move their news slot to 9pm to directly compete for eyeballs with NTV Tonight. The resulting competition as they seem to be working hard to outcompete each other gives viewers good coverage from both. We expect them to pull out all the stops in the next couple of days to be the first to break any election related news.
— NTV UGANDA (@ntvuganda) February 17, 2016
Vision Group thought the elections were so important that they set up a whole new website for election related updates. They have a wide footprint with correspondents in many parts of the country, and we expect that their live coverage will be good.
You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter, as well as the official New Vision Facebook and Twitter.
This one only came to my attention today, and it’s not at the top of the list because it doesn’t seem to be an official channel. It’s official status is implied but hasn’t been communicated by the EC, and a few people in the know that we’ve talked to say it is not affiliated in any way with the Electoral Commision. However some of the people we’ve talked to have endorsed it, so we’re not yet sure what’s happening here! Nevertheless, just bookmark the site, we’ll update here once we know for sure which is which.
#UgandaDecides on Twitter
If you haven’t already, you need to keep an eye on the #UgandaDecides as the updates flow in from individuals and established media houses and journalists.
The Presidential Candidates:
These are the stakeholders who are very heavily invested and involved in the monitoring of the elections, and will most likely share newsworthy updates. You only need to follow 4 of them who have active online presence.
Elton Joseph Mabirizi
If you think we’ve missed out someone, a government agency or any organisation that is sharing reliable updates, do let us know in the comments.
Now log off the internet, go honor your vote, exercise your right and responsibility to vote!