In the aftermath of the 2021 general elections, there are demands for a nationwide debate on reconciliation and peace. According to Human Rights Watch, the elections were marred by violence including killings by security forces, arrests and beatings of opposition supporters and journalists, disruption of opposition rallies and a shutdown of the internet. The question of what peace means is therefore, an enduring question for as long as peace in all its manifestations continues to elude Ugandans. There is a strong persuasion to make reconciliation and justice for peace to prevail. Peace is built in the minds of the people.
During the recent elections in Uganda, media were fronted as the main source of information about the candidates and their manifestos. The media landscape comprised 202 FM radio stations, 40 TV stations; 26,437,348 telephone subscribers, 20,117,015; mobile internet subscriptions and Uganda ranked 125 in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index. But increasingly, destructive media narratives soured the news and information about the elections.
The TRJ media campaign ran on the backbone of TRAC FM infrastructure of poll design and radio partners aimed to promote TRJ across the sub-regions of Acholi (Mega FM), Lango (Radio Wa) and West Nile (Radio Pacis). It was an effective programme in which citizens participated through interactive radio talk and their views were collected. The campaign advanced the capacity of radio stations to effectively use data driven and issue-based programming which empowered staff in their roles as station managers and hosts.
The Caritas-Hewasa polls reveal that local governments in Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Bunyangabu, Ntoroko and Kamwenge need to protect the environment in order for citizens to access clean water and improve the health and economy of communities.
TRAC FM asked radio listeners for their opinion on the performance of leaders; over the past 5 years, which Government representative has responded to your needs most?
In the second poll question of the Voices of Change campaign which brings to national debate citizens perspectives of democracy in the run-up to the 2021 general Elections. TRAC FM asked; What should the elected government's priority be in the next five years?
61% out of 13,838 respondents who participated in a nationwide poll indicate that campaigning only through media will not allow them to make an informed choice on who to vote for on Election Day.