Neema Lyer, Pollicy founder said “it was disappointing” because they couldn’t find enough women accounts to meet the sample size they needed based on the number of women politicians who had been nominated.
A study on
social media abuse and usage by Pollicy, an organization that brings together
technologists, data scientists, creatives have revealed that there was low
social media usage by female politicians during the election season.
Neema lyer, Pollicy founder said “it was disappointing” because they
couldn’t find enough women social media accounts to meet the sample size they
needed based on the number of women politicians who had been nominated.
Uganda are not using digital platforms to their full capacity,” Neema said.
The study monitored the social media usage of 202 accounts (118 on
Twitter and 84 on Facebook) during the 2021 general election period. Of these
accounts, 152 accounts of the nominated candidates (50 percent belonging to
women and 50 to men) while the other 50 accounts belonging to high-profile
individuals who were active during the campaign and election period.
The report indicates that more than one-third of the 76 accounts
belonging to nominated women candidates were rarely used to post any campaign
or election-related information. But 49 percent posted multiple times a week,
with 20 percent of accounts posting, commenting, or replying at least daily.
whose Twitter accounts were monitored, Neema said they had low post volume, low
followers and low engagement while men had more followers and engagement.
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On average, accounts attributed to men politicians had 23,942 followers (after
accounting for outliers) while those attributed to women politicians had an
average of 15,915 followers,” the study says.
and January, the total tweet and reply count of men candidates was twice that
of women candidates. Men averaged 31 total tweets or replies in December, compared
to 14 for accounts attributed to women.”
But on Facebook, the presence of women candidates was more than their male
candidates accounted for 68 percent of account posting at least once per week
during the campaign period, compared to 50 percent of accounts attributed to
men, the study says.
When it comes to online violence, the study says women faced trolling,
sexual violence and body shaming while males were insulted, hate speech and
The study also found that older women aged 56 to 71 years
experienced more trolling, sexual violence and trolling. This, Neema says could
be explained by the fact that old women tend to be more experienced, outspoken
and with an established presence on social media.
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cases include that of Nancy Kalembe, the only woman presidential candidate whose divorce was weaponized against her, where an old video of
her “failed” unsuccessful marriage was shared in a bid to derail her campaign. The other was Agnes Nanduttu, currently the State Minister for Karamoja Affairs, who
received comments instructing her to get married, because single women are not
deemed capable of leading and Nabillah Naggayi, a Kampala mayoral candidate for
National Unity Platform who faced gendered disinformation and was accused of
being a spy or mole representing a different party than that which she
The study which is titled Amplified Abuse: Report on Online Violence
Against Women in the 2021 Uganda General Election says women politicians need
digital safety training and digital literacy training.