60% Ugandans say country is headed in wrong direction

By ERIASA MUKIIBI SSERUNJOGI

Monday May 6, 2019

Six out of every 10 Ugandans believe that the country is headed in the wrong direction, an opinion poll conducted by Research World International (RWI) shows.

The poll was based on interviews that RWI says were carried out among a statistically representative sample based on official demographic figures between April 12 and April 25 across the country. 
Daily Monitor neither commissioned nor funded the poll. RWI will officially release the poll results in Kampala today.


The poll results show that the majority sentiment that the country is going in the wrong direction is dominant in all regions of the country except western, shared across rural and urban areas, and across all age groups. 
Regarding political affiliation, it is only within the ruling NRM party where the feeling that the country is headed in the right direction is dominant, although 42 per cent of NRM members interviewed say the country is headed in the wrong direction.

To obtain the responses about what those interviewed thought about the direction of the country, RWI put the following question to the respondents: “Let’s start with the general view about the current direction of our country. Some people think that our country is going in the wrong direction. Others think it’s going in the right direction. So let me ask you about the overall direction of the country: Would you say that the country is going in the wrong direction or going in the right direction?”


The question was put to all the 2,042 respondents who participated in the survey. Sixty per cent of them said the country is going in the wrong direction, 32 per cent said it is going in the right direction, 6 per cent said they did not know, while 2 per cent refused to comment.

Regional breakdown 
Kampala, eastern and central regions have the biggest majorities of respondents feeling that the country is headed in the wrong direction. 
Out of the 155 people in Kampala to whom the question was put, 68 per cent of the respondents said the country is headed in the wrong direction, with 23 per cent saying it is headed in the right direction. Five percent said they didn’t know while another five per cent refused to comment.

In the eastern region, 67 per cent out of the 456 people interviewed felt the country was headed in the wrong direction, with 27 per cent believing that it is headed in the right direction. Four per cent said they don’t know, while two per cent refused to comment.
Sixty five per cent of the respondents in the central region said the country is headed in the wrong direction, with 27 per cent thinking otherwise, while five per cent and three per cent said they didn’t know or refused to comment, respectively.

The percentage of respondents in the northern region who think the country is headed in the wrong direction (55 per cent of the 387 respondents selected from the region) is lower than for central, eastern and Kampala, although it is still more than half. 
Thirty nine per cent of the respondents in the northern region, higher than the percentages for Kampala, central and eastern, believe that the country is headed in the right direction, while five per cent and one per cent said they did not know or refused to answer the question, respectively.

The people in northern Uganda perhaps feel more optimistic about the future of the country since the Lord’s Resistance Army war ended and there has since been considerable developments in infrastructure and other economic prospects. 
This is perhaps why majority of them voted for President Museveni in the last election and are, according to the poll results, poised to do it again in 2021. 
It is only in western Uganda where the people who feel that the country is headed in the wrong direction are less than half (49 per cent). 
Forty two per cent of the 462 respondents interviewed in the region say the country is headed in the right direction, while eight per cent say they don’t know. One per cent of the respondents refused to answer the question.

As far as the rural–urban divide is concerned, opinions still converge, only that the percentage of those who feel that the country is headed in wrong direction is slightly higher in urban areas (62 per cent) than in rural areas (59 per cent). Those who feel that the country is headed in the right direction are 29 per cent and 34 per cent in urban and rural areas, respectively.

Age divide
The poll further found that the feeling that the country is heading in the wrong direction is dominant among all age groups, only that the older ones are slightly more optimistic about the future.


Respondents aged between 30 and 39 were the most pessimistic about the direction of the country, with 63 per cent of the 569 interviewed saying the country is headed in the wrong direction. 
The respondents aged between 18 and 29 were nearly equally pessimistic, with 62 per cent of the 683 respondents in this category saying that the country is headed in the wrong direction.

The respondents in these age groups who felt the country is headed in the right direction tied at 29. 
The most optimistic age group were those aged 40-49, with 37 per cent of the 388 of them interviewed saying that the country is headed in the right direction.

Respondents aged 50-59 and those aged 60 and above who felt that the country is headed in the right direction tied at 36 per cent. The survey had 277 respondents in the 50-50 age category, and 175 who were 60 years and above. 

Among those aged 40-49, 58 per cent thought the country is headed in the wrong direction, while the corresponding figures for those aged 50-59 and 60 and above are 56 and 53, respectively.

Political affiliation
Regarding the direction, only respondents, who identified themselves as members of the ruling NRM party had a majority, saying the country is headed in the right direction.

Of the 2,024 people interviewed, 731 said they subscribed to the ruling NRM party. Of these, more than four in 10 (42 per cent) said the country is headed in the wrong direction even when it is their party in charge. 
The NRM supporters interviewed who said the country is headed in the right direction are 52 per cent, with 5 per cent, saying they do not know while 1 per cent declined to answer the question.

Among the respondents who identified themselves as ‘Independent’, with no party affiliation, who are the biggest chunk (780), majority (65 per cent) said the country is going in the wrong direction.
Twenty-five per cent said the country is going in the right direction, while seven per cent said that they did not know. Three per cent declined to answer the question.

Among the respondents who identified themselves as subscribing to an Opposition political party – 378 in number – 82 per cent said the country is headed in the wrong direction. 
Fourteen per cent of them said the country is heading in the right direction, while three per cent said they did not know. One per cent refused to answer the question.

There were some 153 per cent of the respondents who refused to disclose their political affiliation. 
But asked about the direction of the country, 62 per cent of them said it is headed in the wrong direction and 18 per cent of them said it is headed in right direction. Eight per cent said they did not know, while 12 per cent declined to answer the question.


‘Economy bad’
To further gauge the respondents’ feelings about the direction of the country, RWI also posed a question about the economic situation.
The question that was put to the respondents was: “On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is very bad, and 5 is very good, in general, how would you describe the present economic condition of this country? 
Sixty seven per cent of the respondents said the economic conditions are either very bad or fairly bad, with 42 per cent saying they are very bad.


Twenty-two per cent of the respondents said the economic conditions are fairly good or very good, with only two per cent saying that they are very good. 
Ten per cent said the economic conditions were neither good nor bad, while one per cent said they did not know.
Of the 731 respondents who say they subscribe to the ruling party, the findings show that 57 per cent of them say the economic situation is very bad or fairly bad, with 28 per cent saying it is fairly good and five per cent saying it is very good.

Nine per cent of them say it is neither good nor bad, while one per cent say they don’t know. 
Seventy nine of the 380 respondents who say they subscribe to opposition parties said the economic conditions were either very bad or fairly bad, with 55 per cent saying they are very bad.

The feeling that the economic conditions are very bad or fairly bad is predominant in all regions, with central topping the charts at 73 per cent. 
Those who feel the same way in are 71 per cent in eastern, 66 per cent in north, 63 per cent in Kampala and 57 per cent in western. 
The feeling that the economic conditions are very bad or fairly bad are nearly evenly spread in rural (69 per cent) and urban (65 per cent) areas and are evenly spread among women (67 per cent) and men (67 per cent).

Across age groups, the older people, those aged 60 and above, are more optimistic about the economy, although still 57 per cent of them say the economy is either very bad or fairly bad. The corresponding percentages are 66 per cent for those aged 18-29; 60 for those aged 30-39; 70 per cent for those aged 40-49; and 64 per cent for those aged 50-59.

How Ugandans are living
The respondents were then asked to describe their living conditions. 
The following question as posed: “On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is very bad, and 5 is very good, in general, how would you describe your own present living condition?”

Thirty one per cent said their condition was very bad, 27 per cent said their condition was fairly bad, 13 per cent said it was neither good nor bad, 26 per cent said it was fairly good and two per cent said it was very good.

Methodology

•2,042 respondents aged 18 and above were interviewed across 60 of 127 districts in Uganda
• The country was stratified into 4 broad regions – Central, Eastern, Northern, and Western 
•Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) data was used to identify the proportions of the samples / population within each region and according to age
•Counties, sub-counties and parishes were randomly selected from each district. 204 Sub-counties were sampled
•Within each parish, a village was randomly selected and 10 interviews conducted. 204 parishes were sampled
•Margin of error: +/-5% with 95 per cent level of confidence 
•Research World International (RWI) says that they took GPS (global positioning system) coordinates of all interviewers to ensure that they indeed went wherever they said they went. 
• Gender split – Female: 51%; Male:49%

On funding:
Research World International says: 
“RWI in the interest of public information, mobilised resources and conducted a national representative public opinion poll with the aim of gauging the opinions and perceptions of voting-age Ugandans towards the Social, Economic and Political climate in Uganda.”