The 2021 General Elections present unique challenges and opportunities for those vying for different elective positions across the country. For the first time, if it goes as planned, there will be no crowd campaigns and all campaigns will be digital due to the Covid-19 scare and the lockdown.
For new entrants into politics, face a stiffer challenge than their incumbent counterparts who have tasted the election hurdles before and probably are financially stronger. The first timers are a bit lost on how to handle the new “scientific” campaigns. But nevertheless, both are facing a dilemma of how to handle the virtual campaigns, which may be more complicated and expensive when not properly managed in diverse ways.
There is no mathematical formula to calculate how much the digital campaigns will cost each candidate. However, given Uganda’s high Internet costs, cost of airtime on radio and TVs, space in newspapers and access to smart phones, the digital campaigns are likely to be more expensive and complex than the traditional open-ground public campaigns.
A tech view of the planned scientific or digital campaign
A digital campaign may seem expensive when talked about, however, if you learn to play your games well, it could turn to be cost effective than the traditional way that presents some opportunists who act as agents but are there to exploit.
An aspiring candidate should get to know what actually exists in the digital world and what your possible voters possess. When one comes in terms with these actual features, a clear picture of what lies ahead is visible.
What will matter in all the digital campaigns?
Your Online Reputation
When you start a local political campaign, candidates should be mindful of the information that voters will encounter. Your online reputation is what people are saying about you online. It’s the information that is found when anyone searches about you or your campaign.
As a candidate running for an office, you will want influence over what people see, hear and read about you on the web. To do that, you need an online identity. For political purposes, that means creating a personal brand. That means getting yourself – your history and goals – out on the web.
This is done by:
- creating identities on social networks
- creating a campaign website
- active online engagement
- Generating positive buzz.
The ultimate goal of building an online identity is search result page domination. This means that when someone searches your name, they will find positive information about you in the top search results.
Radio and television stations adverts
Understanding that talk shows could cost between Shs4.5m and Shs5m respectively for one hour talk-show on evening prime time in Kampala and upcountry radio stations charging between Shs600, 000 and Shs2m for the evening prime time talk-shows and as well having a full page color advert in a newspaper is between Shs9m and Shs10m per day of publication, while a black and white advert goes for about Shs7m or Shs8m, candidates ought to be very calculative in undertaking campaigns.