I posted a few days ago, asking, where have all the Ugandan political bloggers gone?
First off, my post elicited a directly political post from Ugandan Insomniac, which includes a bunch of newspaper covers (something most people out of Uganda don't get to see even if they check the Vision and Monitor websites every day) and had some much needed commentary on Andrew Mwenda's new enterprise - which may be losing its edge, as more than one person has said to me. (Which makes me think back to my original comment on self censorship, but that's another can of worms for a another post.)
Next, a great commnet from Antipop on why there might not be more political bloggers:
To be honest with you most of us come to blogger to escape from it all. The fires, the term limits, the land wrangles, GAVI funds, presidential jet, potholes, fuel prices, press freedom, FDC, NRM,...it is everywhere you turn. the papers, the radio, tv, in the bar, even the woman that sells cassava roots in the market will have something to say about how the soaring prices have everything to do with a MUNYANKOLE president. the last thing you wnat to do is come to blogger and find it. I guess we are just tired. There is only so much whinning we can do.And while I am particularly fond of whinning, of both the political and nonpolitical types, Jackfruity blogs to point out that Citizen Media doesn't have to be about politics:
One of the most important things to come of out last month'sMeanwhile, another expat in Uganda laments the difficulties of trying to get more Citizen Media started. She asks, Can Citizen Media Change Uganda?
Global Voices Summit is that the political voices aren't the only ones that need to be amplified. Cultural and social voices are equally important to an understanding of other places, and several recent posts attempt to present readers with a more nuanced view of countries that are only discussed internationally when a crisis brings them to our attention.
In short, no. During Elizabeth Kameo's training on writing and gathering news, it became apparent that some of the participants were not convinced of the changes citizen journalism can incur. Most in the crowd did not believe that writing a blog post would motivate the Ugandan government into action. They're probably right. Chances are the Ugandan government will pay little attention to a scattering of blogs - many left stagnant for long periods of time. There is a slim probability that someone posting about Kampala's man-holes - pot holes that can engulf a man, more often a small child, that are found on sidewalks and other obscure places - will be filled once an MP reads about it. Chances are the government will not pass the domestic relations bill into an act. Or will they train policemen to respect recently passed legislation on rape, domestic abuse and circumcision.Though people aren't blogging much about the things listed above here, perhpas that's because the need is less urgent than for people in other countries who do write more political blogs. (This is a statement with no empircal evidence, just a conjecture I'd be happy to abandon in the face of any such evidence.) An Associated Press article here showed how Zimbabweans are using blogs and text messages as a source of information. The article implies that people are using these means because there aren't other means avaliable.
Maybe all of us living in Uganda should be glad that blogs have not yet had to serve this kind of function and that leisure and a relatively stable situtation in this country allows for putting up photos of kittens (which, by the way, ARE SO CUTE) and bashing Facebook groups.
After all, I love kittens and bashing Facebook almost as much as whining, of both the political and nonpolitical kind.