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Type Journal Article - Review of Policy Research
Title Technological distribution in Uganda: Information and Communications Technology and the state in an Eastern African nation
Volume 36
Issue 6
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2019
Page numbers 835-865
Information and communications technologies (ICTs) include old technologies—such as the radio and the television—as well as newer technologies—such as the Internet and wireless telephony. This study considers the process that the government of Uganda has used to adopt and implement ICT policy. This study also considers the techniques which the government of Uganda has used to distribute ICTS in public locations such as government offices, schools, and hospitals. In particular, this study attempts to consider the political motivations for distribution. The Ugandan government's attempt to distribute this technology reflects strengths in the area of distribution of artefacts, particularly to rural areas. Information and communications technologies are an important part of the Ugandan economy. In addition, ICTs strengthen the ability of citizens to communicate with each other across regional and language borders through shared access points. Methodologically, this paper uses the case study method. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with politicians, policy makers, civil society activists, citizens, academics, medical personnel, regional government officials, and business people. This paper argues that politicians use ICTs as a component of a basket of goods and services that they can distribute to witnessing publics. This paper argues that ICT should be viewed as a type of infrastructure, and that as a public good, it can be used as a “club” good or “pork.” Although several authors discuss the potential of ICTs as democratizing, this paper documents that the Ugandan government has employed ICTs in oppressive ways, including for the surveillance of opposition leaders, and for social control.

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