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Thursday, 6 December 2012

Ghana Election 2012: A Digital Walk-through

Tomorrow is election day in Ghana, my country. A lot has been going on on the Internet and social media this year with regards to campaigning and civic activism. The main goal is to whip up the enthusiasm of the youth for the elections and in matters of governance. Today's been very quiet, compared to previous days, when we were inundated incessantly with campaign messages. I've been through different towns- Accra, Ho, Keta, Aflao and Tema. Politics is heavy everywhere! A lot has been written about social media's relevance in the elections too.

Issues 

Kwesi Acquah put together the wordle below to capture some of the key things Ghanaians have been discussing leading to the elections:

Ghana Elections 2012 Wordle. Credit: Kwesi Acquah (@kwesiacquah)
I created this other one using content from ghanadecides.com at worditout.com:

Ghana Elections 2012 Wordle created using content from ghanadecides.com
Obviously, personality and party issues are intertwined with the real issues of the people.

Civic Activism

BloggingGhana, through its Ghana Decides project, has been at the helm of using the Internet and social media to engender more discussions and actions around the elections. Aljazeera recently hosted the team on its renowned social media show, Stream. Ghana Decides' latest campaign, Our Vote, Our Voice, seeks to get Ghanains to pledge to vote in December.


African Elections Project has also deployed new media tools to collect citizen reports, via Ushahidi, to ensure that the elections are credible. They're also providing social media training and coverage on election issues.

Google Student Ambassadors also recently run My Voice GH series to express their views on various issues that affect their day-to-day lives.

There are other groups doing some work in their own right.

Software Tools

It is always heartwarming to see the developer community invent tools that address the direct needs of the community. This syncs well with a personal mantra: "we must use the tools we have to solve the problems we face." Here are a few of them.

VoteKast Afrika: Collates results and Displays them in graphical format as they come in.

Ghana Vote Compass: An interesting tool that tries to predict your political leanings based on your inputs. This tool might be handy for those who haven't made up their minds yet.

The 2012 elections in Ghana will be closely fought. It is interesting to see the Internet and social media play a significant role in it for the first time.

Are there any campaigns or apps that you know pertaining to the elections? Please don't hesitate to share!

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