If public relations is a science of managing how the story of Uganda is handled, told and spread to those who would want to know more about this great country then Uganda’s public relation is ineffective. We have so many good things that Uganda represents like our shared values of welcoming strangers but we let those who know nothing about our great country tell our story.
The few times that Uganda has been mentioned in the public especially outside the borders has been in the negative light talk talking points like the kill of gay people even when it was factually wrong, Uganda as a nation did nothing to combat this lie. Even if it goes against out core values our story in why we were banning gay behavior in our community was not properly articulated by those who advocated for the law. Instead we let those who misunderstand it tell it and in trying to do damage limitations we ended up spending a lot of money to run a 30sec Ad on CNN, that in itself was another PR disaster its own right.
This has been majorly down to the public relegating the story of Uganda to the hands of the government that has been ineffective in whatever way to package out story. The same government that has no public relations departments, personnel and it’s been bogged down by story after story of mass corruption and impunity. These guilty by association and as charged can’t then be the bearers of the truth that the public craves.
This would explain why our tourisms is still struggling yet we let stories like corruption, killing gays dominate the public domain, public officials wait for a long time to get their stories right by which time they would have been taken over by those who don’t even understand half the story.
On a positive note though this gap has emboldened citizens to take back the story of Uganda using freely available tools to quickly point out erroneous stories we are slowly getting our public relations in order. Many Ugandans are becoming better skilling themselves with how to use the new tools that has seen us correct our ineffective public relations. Today many public officials through the use of social media are joining into this conversation to inform the public whenever there is a problem although half the time we have to force them, companies too both private and public are being pressured into updating their defunct websites, front desks etc.
Also social events like Uganda Cranes wins are also helping bridge our broken social value system taking away the stories of corruption in the media and replacing them with more positive stories like Uganda Cranes qualification, farming, heroic doctors working miracles in Ebola hit countries etc.