TRAC FM methodology is gaining traction for its multimodal and blend of talk radio, SMS polls and audience talkback despite skepticism of the typical opinion polls across the world.
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?
This poll ran from 29 October 2020 to November 2020 at 9 radio stations including Radio Simba in Buganda, Baba FM in Busoga, Delta FM in Teso, Hits FM in Tooro, Hunter FM in Ankole, Radio Pacis in West Nile, Mega FM in Acholi, Radio WA in Lango, and Voice of Karamoja in Karamoja.
So what did the people say?
Most (33%) of respondents think that the next government's priority issue should be healthcare, followed by 27% of who think that priority should go to education while 17% chose agriculture as the third priority for the government. This implies that citizens expect Government to put health ahead of other needs in the next five years.
Gender analysis in health is important because biological differences alone cannot adequately explain health behaviour, needs and supplies. Healthcare is affected by other factors such as social and economic influences which are themselves subjected to cultural and political power in society. Raising women’s political representation may be one way to effect their policy priorities in the next five years.
The poll data shows that more (39%) women than men (31%) think healthcare should be given priority in the next government. Most (29%) women than men (26%) were of the view that education ought to be given priority. Most (19%) men than women (12%) said that agriculture should be given priority by the next government. This means that the next government ought to plan more for women’s health in their legislation, budgeting and prominence to health issues that are important to all women in order to have a positive impact on women’s health in Uganda. Such issues may include antenatal services, breastfeeding, immunization programmes which may not be primed if women are excluded in the decision making and governance processes by the next government.
The next government’s budget should be to reduce regional disparities in development through its taxation and expenditure policy by pursuing policies to set production facilities in economically backward regions. Over next 5 years, Ugandans expect to benefit from the National purse through equal access and distribution of budgetary resources. Most certainly, the outcome of the 2021 general elections will shape many of the priority issues depending on their influence at the power centre.
Chart showing regional priority issues for the next government
Respondents in Buganda thought the next government should prioritise healthcare (26%), agriculture (25%), education (19%) and infrastructure (18%). In Teso, healthcare (36%), education (27%) and agriculture (16%) were selected by respondents for priority by the next government. Lango had the biggest demand for education (47%) as the priority issue followed by healthcare (30%) and security (12%). The people of Acholi chose healthcare (32%), education (27%) and agriculture (18%) for priority by the next government. In West Nile, both healthcare and education at 29% were ranked above agriculture (17%) for the next government priority issues. Healthcare was the most prominent issue for the people of Ankole at 50%, followed by education (23%) and agriculture (11%). In Tooro, healthcare (32%), education (25%) and agriculture (18%) were thought as the most priority concerns for the next government. In Busoga, 26% of respondents chose healthcare over education and agriculture with both at 23% priority in the next government. Karamoja region demanded that education (30%); healthcare (27%) and security (19%) are given most attention by the next government.
Revelations from the results
While security appeared to have the least priority demand among the general population, Karamoja (19%), Buganda (13%) and Lango (12%) thought it worthy of attention by the next government. Ankole (50%) also demanded for health services the most compared to the rest of respondents in the poll which needs further investigation. The Coronavirus seems to have exacerbated the health concerns of citizens including maternal mortality, neonatal mortality, malaria incidence and lack of skilled health professionals across the country.
Investing in regional planning ensures that campaign teams, election administrators and civic educators catch the local needs and trends. Indeed, the above poll results could also be useful for government officials, security agencies, political parties and gender specialists interested in pursuing a conscious agenda to guide the design of electoral messages in tune with the citizen agenda before Election Day in 2021.Read the Voices of Change Campaign report
Written by Mohles Kalule Segululigamba