| By Matua Job Richard
As Uganda is set to go to polls on 14th February to decide on who becomes a member of parliament and president of the country. The voter deciding factors seem to have multiplied in an ugly way which was never expected.
The increase in youth participation in elections, the role of Media and the Covid-19 Pandemic which is referred to as the new normal setting will be the determinants in the forthcoming election.
Any Political Organization or party or alliance/coalition of independent people that carefully considers the three factors will out-rightly win the general election at the Presidential level and bag many positions at Parliamentary and local Government level.
However this doesn’t suspend political king makers, power brokers, campaign teams which actually play an influential role in Elections.
The 9.8 Million Youths make up a bulk of 17.7 million registered voters which is more than 50% of the total number of voters expected to participate in the 2021 general election.
A Presidential Candidate that will move to capture the support of this group (youth) of voters will will overturn the hopes of the opponents in the first job of the country.
The key questions are: what will the Youths vote for?, Change?, If so then why? No change, if so why? Will the Youths make informed decisions in the Elections?, What can each party or participating group in the elections do to claim a big chunk of Youth votes?
Any group that ignores the youth factor or downplays it due to complacency will lose this election as it was in the first round of party primaries which identified flag bearers and in the National Youth Councils.
Secondly, the role of media in the elections. This is divided into two major areas; social media and mainstream media. Both areas are massive with compelling influences.
The candidate who dorminates the media will control the narrative and have the maximum publicity required hence making a major leap in this era of Scientific Campaigns. However, it will require consistence to remain as the choice of the media as it will also come with financial constraints.
The covid19 pandemic has also become a major determinant on elections World over. For example, in the recent USA presidential elections, the media worked against President Donald Trump a Republican in light of negligence and careless decisions made before and during the pandemic. This gave the opponent Joe Biden a Democrat an upper hand to win the election as it painted a picture of un deserving and incompetent leader to be America’s president. It influenced the public voting patterns, thoughts and decisions.
Everyone became a victim of lockdowns in the world. The mental torture caused by the lockdown, the losses of jobs & businesses, the failure of Economies have caused unprecedented alertness of Citizens on governance issues including those that have always lived in a comfort zone.
Everyone has been threatened in one way or another and that will inform the decision of majority voters in these coming Elections.
Political parties or opposition candidates who understand the significance of this factor have planned and connected ways to disclose the ruling governments loopholes to win bulk votes.
It won’t be the campaign of messages/ Manifestos which will determine the voting for or against certain Candidates.
It is therefore a responsibility of the participating political parties or Individuals to honestly digest their approaches towards the would be determinants of the 2021 general elections.