The new campaign App, dubbed Mzee NALO, also has features dedicated to showcasing Uganda’s development and achievements under Museveni’s leadership.

Museveni unveils App targeting youth support

Museveni (left) with Ntaro (middle) and Tumusiime after launching the MZEE NALO App at State House, Entebbe.

The new campaign App, dubbed Mzee NALO, also has features dedicated to showcasing Uganda’s development and achievements under Museveni’s leadership.

POLITICS   2021 ELECTIONS

Faced with a virtual re-election campaign bid, President has launched a smartphone App to encourage supporters, drive voter outreach, collect valuable data and give him more access to unfiltered followers. 

The new campaign App, dubbed Mzee NALO, also has features dedicated to showcasing Uganda’s development and achievements under Museveni’s leadership and his National Resistance Movement (NRM).

Last month, Museveni was declared presidential candidate of the NRM in 2021. However, with a largely young electorate and the scare limiting the campaign to media and online, the party chairperson is now keen on adopting new strategies that are expected to enhance his visibility.

The App was developed by software engineer Kenneth Ntaro and web developer Brian Tumusiime, who said they are inspired by the President’s leadership and his love to communicate to the people, especially in their generation, according to State House.

“This App will enhance the President’s communication to the people. It will showcase achievements of NRM, profile of him and spread to the young people the knowledge that the President has been passing on, including video messages,” Ntaro said. 

Abreast with the notion that politics is a market place of ideas, Museveni has observed that through devising new campaign strategies to facilitate debate, he has been able to win over new supporters in the youth bracket.

Mzee NALO App is the latest effort as the NRM tries to push its already sizeable digital advantage to a sixth victory in 2021 against a fairly younger opposition.

If faced with presumptive National Unity Platform (NUP) nominee Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, who is below 40 years, as a main challenger, observers say Museveni, who recently celebrated his 75th birthday, must brace for a vicious virtual fight if he is to win over the youthful electorate.

“We (NRM) are exploring as many avenues as possible and using smartphone Apps to drive voter outreach is one of them. The reality is we are eager to win over as many young people as possible. So, with a virtual campaign, we think these new platforms will be effective in disseminating information and rebutting negative propaganda,”

NRM’s senior communications officer, Rogers Mulindwa, said in a telephone interview. But in doing so, Museveni is building off his 2016 campaign success and innovative effort to target voters, through endearing himself to the entertainment world and online platforms, like Facebook and twitter.

In March last year, Museveni clocked one million followers on twitter, becoming the first Ugandan to reach that milestone.

Museveni has a social media presence on all popular platforms, including Instagram, which he joined early this month, with about 9,000 followers.

Largely seen as typical conservative African leader, in April 2014, Museveni broke out of the shell when he sent out his first tweet, eight years since the social media platform had been founded.

In his first tweet, the Ugandan leader saluted Kyambogo University students for overhauling a car engine to use ethanol, but since then, he has never looked back on the use of new media platforms.

A quick survey done by New Vision indicated that since last year, Museveni’s social media following has grown to 1.9 million followers on twitter.

In comparison to his political competitors, Kyagulanyi had 800,000 followers while Forum for Democratic Change’s (FDC) official account has 133,000 followers.

By press time, Democratic Party’s Norbert Mao had 142,000 followers whereas Alliance for National Transformation’s (ANT) aspirant, Gen. Mugisha Muntu had 102,000.

According to the developers, the App also has a chat section, where the President can log in real time and talk to whoever he wants.

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