The Role of Social Media in Ghana's 2016 General Elections

Venue: STAR Ghana Conference Room, 12 Obenesu Crescent, Cantonments

October 25, 2017
End Date: October 25, 2017

In recent years, the use of social media such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook has been significant feature of the elections and electoral process in a number of African countries like Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa among others. As Ghana has been hailed as a democratic role model on the continent, this presentation will look at Ghana’s 2012 and 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections as a case study to contextualize and highlight the role of social media in consolidating democracy in Africa. Specifically, the presentation will be looking at:

•    three aspects of social media and elections;
•    how social media has been incorporated in the electoral processes by state institutions;
•    how the political parties have used social media during the election campaigns;
•    and the presence of civil society in the Ghanaian social media space.

The presentation will highlight impactful social media events such as the 2012 declaration of presidential election results on Facebook, question the financing of social media efforts in Ghana which are often underpinned by foreign donors, even for legacy media like radio and TV. Finally, it will deduce from the Ghanaian case a few milestones in the incorporation of social media for enhancing electoral participation and democratic consolidation for all three levels of analysis: state institutions, political parties, and civil society.

This presentation stems a research project undertaken by Kajsa Hallberg Adu and Kafui Tsekpo.