Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ghana Decided peacefully on 7 Dec, 2012, but Issues Arose, including "Facebook Tipping Point" for Ghana

By now, most of you following Ghana's elections will have known that Ghana has a new president in the incumbent John Mahama. I will be posting some thoughts over thenext few days about what happens to our body-politic. In the meantime, enjoy the article below--sent by Facebook friend and academic John Schaefer--who follows Ghana as often as I do!


Did You Know the Facebook Tipping Point Happened in Ghana on Sunday?

On Sunday, the Electoral Commission of Ghana changed the place of social media in African politics forever. After a very close race for the presidency of Ghana, they posted Ghana's official election results on Facebook!
Now Kajsa gives three ideas why the Electoral Commission posted to Facebook instead of their own page:
  1. The Electoral Commission’s own Website came down earlier in the day (too many visitors?) and as that channel was not working they chose the next available thing, their Facebook page.
  2. The meeting with the parties and the NEC was dragging out and the results were provided to show the meeting delegates that postponing declaration of results was not an option.
  3. As the media was waiting in a adjacent room since a couple of hours, the results were released on Facebook to calm nerves of the press corps and the country.
Regardless of why they posted to Facebook, this is a BIG deal! Previously, the thought of posting such a critical government document/decision on a non-government website, much less on a social media site, would be so far outside the realm of possibility as to be laughed at as an option.
With 1.7 million Facebook users in Ghana (77% of the online population), and with usage spiking with the introduction of Facebook Zero, the question now becomes, "Why not release public documents and decisions on Facebook?"
Of course, public documents should also be on government websites, and Facebook cannot and should not replace direct government communications, yet as Ory Okolloh points out, Facebook is a much more democratic conveyance of information than what was done before.
So I am calling it. Sunday, December 9th, 2012 was Facebook's tipping point in Africa. Social media, and especially Facebook, is now the primary information and communication technology tool to accelerate the social development of Ghana, and of Africa as a whole.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Ghana Votes, #GhanaDecides!

It is election day, and while there have been reports elsewhere of difficulties in voting, overall, voting has been pretty smooth, with orderly lines.
Someone is just saying behind me that this is the "shortest line" he has seen. Well...

Thursday, December 06, 2012

9 Hours Away from Ghana's Elections on 7 Dec, 2012

We are hours away from Ghana's fifth attempt at its democratic dispensation. Earlier today--around 13h30, it rained heavily--in East Legon. I understand the rain has "spread" to other parts of Accra. Some see it as a sense of foreboding for either of the bigger parties--the National Democratic Congress (incumbent) and the right-of-centre New Patriotic Party--to come back to power, or wrest it from the incumbent.

Some of us claimed we would not vote because we are "tired" of Ghana's politicians. CITI fm's Bernard Avle tried his level-best this morning to encourage those of us who might decided not to vote to re-consider. After all, it is our civic responsibility.

GhanaDecides, the parent project of BloggingGhana, has been doing its very best to encourage people to go and vote, and do it efficiently and wisely.

I encourage those of you who will be voting to do same: efficiently; calmly; and quietly. Ghana first!

See you tomorrow at 7am...in front or the other side of the camera!;-)


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