Social media buzz about Cameroon’s elections reveals widespread concerns.
October 6, 2011 § Leave a comment
Cameroon’s October 9th presidential election is fast approaching, and social media is being used to create a dialogue, raise concerns and share information about the event.
The country’s incumbent, Paul Biya of the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement, has been in power for 30 years despite general dissatisfaction and outcries for the president to step down. There are currently 23 candidates in the race with John Fru Ndi of the Social Democratic Front running a distant second to Biya.
The blogging community, Global Voices, is running special coverage entitled Cameroon Elections 2011 that features blog posts from citizens around the world about the elections. The bloggers have discussed various issues surrounding the election, many accusing Biya of election corruption such as paying off politicians to falsely run against him.
CNN has reported on Biya’s “complacent attitude” since he has not been campaigning in the field. His behavior implies that Biya “plans to win through election rigging and fraud.” Youth are allegedly being paid by Biya to support the leader in the streets, and nearly all government campaigning money has been distributed to his party alone.
The Twitter community is also closely following the election, sharing articles, information, and social media tools with one another. A site that has been Tweeted frequently is one that keeps track of the election search trends. Through the tool, anyone can see which party leader or election issues are being searched the most on Google.
Social media has allowed those interested in Cameroon’s elections to share information in ways that were never possible before. But the country lags far behind others in the region in terms of Internet penetration rates. With only 5% of the country having Internet access, most citizens will not be able to follow the social media that is providing critical perspectives on the election. Were the majority of the country’s citizens able to follow the elections online, there might be more potential for a nation-wide movement against Biya and his alleged election rigging.
- Cameroon president’s campaign tactic strategy sparks concern. (lebs295.wordpress.com)
- Cameroon opposition leader says other parties are ‘maggots’ (lebs295.wordpress.com)
- Election Rigging Strategy: Biya regime bans Twitter in the Cameroons (lebs295.wordpress.com)