The 18 profiles President Museveni follows on Twitter

He has named a cabinet of 81 ministers. He has 116 advisers – set to increase to 141 in the 2016/17 financial year. He also has more than 251,000 followers on Twitter, but President Yoweri Museveni follows only 18.

The Twitter profile @KagutaMuseveni was opened in March 2010. In the period, President Museveni has tweeted 1,479 times – an average of 247 tweets per year. In the same period, the head of Kenya’s ‘digital government’, President Uhuru Kenyatta, has sent out 5,669 tweets to his 1.4 million followers – averaging 945 tweets per year.

Who does @KagutaMuseveni follow on Twitter?

It is clear from his follow-list that Museveni’s East African Community drive is not just a farce. He follows Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, and his deputy, William Ruto, as well as Tanzania’s “Bulldozer”, John Pombe Magufuli. He also follows former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete.

Curiously, Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza is also not followed by @KagutaMuseveni. Is this because he only tweets in French?

There are multiple accounts for the South Sudan President, Salva Kiir Mayardit, so it must be confusing for whoever wants to follow him.

Among the presidents in the East African Community, Rwanda’s @PaulKagame follows the highest number of users (113), while Tanzania’s @MagufuliJP, who doesn’t follow @KagutaMuseveni, follows only five people. Both Magufuli and Kagame do not follow Burundi’s @pnkurunziza and neither does he follow any of them.

While there is no golden rule about how many people one should follow on Twitter, a good balance between variety of opinion and number of followers indicates a user’s interest in engaging in conversation on that platform. If you have too many follows, the fast-pace of Twitter may become meaningless. If you have too few, your exposure to a range of engagements is very limited.

President Museveni also follows Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, the office of the Rwandan President (@UrugwiroVillage), the office of the Prime Minister of India, the Presidential Debate account (@UGPresDebate) and Pope Francis.

It is hard to make conclusions about what exactly informs the president’s decisions (or the decisions of whoever runs his Twitter profile), but it is worth noting that the two major events in Uganda recently are likely to have prompted the decision to follow the Pope and the presidential debate account.

Five other accounts that President Museveni follows, provide an interesting insight into the way the Government of Uganda deals with its communications and give proof to the argument that social networks like Twitter are just large echo chambers. The accounts are all related to activity of president’s party, the National Resistance Movement (NRM); namely: @NRMOnline, the @ChairpersonNRM (President Museveni again), @TeamSevo, @StateHouseUg and @lindahNabusayi (Press Secretary to the President).

The other accounts Museveni follows are musicians – @JChameleone and @BebeCoolUG.

A number of government departments like Uganda National Roads Authority, Uganda Revenue Authority, Kampala Capital City Authority, Ministry of Internal Affairs, and some government officials are very active on Twitter, but @KagutaMuseveni does not follow any of them. The only government official he follows is newly appointed Education Minister, his wife, @JanetMuseveni.

Interestingly, the First Lady’s follows more profiles with a greater range than her husband. It is no surprise that for a professing, practicing born again Christian, Mrs Museveni follows a number of Christian musicians, preachers and televangelists. That said, her choice of what appears on her timeline is interesting. She also follows two Ugandan newspapers and one television station, the Parliament of Uganda, Uganda Revenue Authority and Kampala City Council Authority.

Tucked away in the list of 34 profiles that Mrs Museveni follows, is @SalmaKikwete; the handle of the former First Lady of Tanzania. One can only imagine how that Twitter relationship began: “Are you on Twitter? Nanye! Follow me, Salma; I’ll follow you back. Ebu you text Jakaya to follow Yoweri hati hati. Siyo? You are the best!”

We can only guess.

On the political front, there is no love lost between Mr Museveni and his former ally, Amama Mbabazi. @kagutamuseveni does not follow @amamambabazi, his rival in the recent presidential race, and it is no surprise that he does not follow the inexorable @kizzabesigye1. Both Besigye and Mbabazi follow @kagutamuseveni, and united in a common cause, they follow each other on Twitter.

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