Gender Minister Frank Tumwebaze has urged newly-elected NRM lawmakers to make good use of social media and digital news platforms to promote their personal brands and regularly interact with their constituents.
Tumwebaze advised each MP to “have an active Twitter handle operated perhaps by oneself and operate a Facebook page to connect with your constituents.”
The Minister spoke this Monday to NRM MPs at the National Leadership Institute in Kyankwanzi.
He counselled the lawmakers on the need to periodically plan for media appearances both in their local and national media.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have become ingrained in political and popular culture, shaping debates on issues of national interest and influencing voter behavior.
A total of 18.5 million Ugandans are using Internet, which is 39.3% of the total population.
However, of these, 3.32m Ugandans subscribe to Facebook, representing a 7.1% penetration rate.
Tumwebaze said many of the new MPs “are young people and they feel that for them to remain relevant and not lose next elections like their predecessors, they out to engage proactively on social media, do research so as to equip themselves with knowledge that will enable them to engage in quality debates both on the floor of Parliament and in the wider mass media.”
Tumwebaze said MPs must take care of their social media channels, from posting tweets to planning a long-term strategy to reach out to their constituents.
“Avoid subscribing to the idea of a silent majority for NRM. Staying silent and failing to tell your political stories in a proactive manner gives an opportunity to your opponents to tell it on your behalf and will do so in a distorted manner aimed at maligning you.”
He said for the first time the NRM MPs could be planning to move away from being the usual passive majority in the House to an active one that will engage and counter the usually noisy and disruptive few opposition MPs.
According to the Government Spokesperson and Executive Director Uganda Media Centre, Mr Ofwono Opondo, MPs should interest themselves in constant reading and doing research to speak on an informed point and avoid embarrassment while appearing on any media talk show.
Opondo said this would help the NRM party to recapture positive public opinion and restore public confidence in the country’s stability and progress, both domestically and internationally.
Earlier today, President Museveni was quoted as directing newly elected NRM MPs and the Ministry of ICT to draw a new media strategy which government and the NRM party shall adopt if they are to neutralize the opposition.
“Our revolutionary method of silently doing things should stop and we adopt a new way of communicating our achievements,” President Museveni told NRM MPs yesterday during an ongoing three week Retreat.
“The previous narrative of “we shall know them by their fruits’ should end and we forge a way out,” Museveni said, adding that although performance is the most important thing, there is no harm in talking about this performance.
He instructed the new MPs to make it habit of appearing on local vocabulary radio and television stations in their respective communities to communicate to the residents about progress of government programs and other important messages that benefit the community.