Digital activism in Uganda

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Date
2016-12-13
Authors
Chibita, Monica B.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
Abstract
This book chapter traces the historical development of digital activism in Uganda focusing on three historical moments relating to the country’s governance: the ‘Save Mabira’ campaign (2007 and 2011); the ‘Walk-to-work’ campaign (2011) and the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC)’s campaign to replace the National Resistance Movement government in the 2015/2016 elections. The chapter provides an an overview of the provisions for and constraints on freedom of expression and paints a picture of the political environment for any form of activism in Uganda. It presents an overview of key arguments for and against the liberative potential of the new media in a context like Uganda’s. The major questions the chapter addresses relate to the issues driving these campaigns, the communication strategies with a focus on the new media, the achievements and the obstacles/challenges of the campaigns. The chapter thus seeks to document patterns in digital activism in Uganda. The chapter relies on a review of pertinent literature and online content, key informant interviews with leading activists in the three campaigns as well as the author’s own experience of the Ugandan political situation.
Description
This a book chapter published in Digital Activism in the Social Media Era: Critical Reflections on Emerging Trends in Sub-Saharan Africa. Edited by: Bruce Mutsvairo. (pp.69-93) This book probes the vitality, potentiality and ability of new communication and technological changes to drive online-based civil action across Africa. In a continent booming with mobile innovation and a plethora of social networking sites, the Internet is considered a powerful platform used by pro-democracy activists to negotiate and sometimes push for reform-based political and social changes in Africa. The book discusses and theorizes digital activism within social and geo-political realms, analysing cases such as the #FeesMustFall and #BringBackOurGirls campaigns in South Africa and Nigeria respectively to question the extent to which they have changed the dynamics of digital activism in sub-Saharan Africa. Comparative case study reflections in eight African countries identify and critique digital concepts questioning what impact they have had on the civil society. Cases also explore the African LGBT community as a social movement while discussing opportunities and challenges faced by online activists fighting for LGBT equality. Finally, gender-based activists using digital tools to gain attention and facilitate social changes are also appraised.
Keywords
Digital activism - Uganda , Activism - Online networks - Uganda , Activism and Social media - Uganda
Citation
Chibita M.B. (2016) Digital Activism in Uganda. In: Mutsvairo B. (eds) Digital Activism in the Social Media Era. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-40949-8_4
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