Saturday, 08 August

Election 2020: Coronavirus and campaign strategies

Feature Article
May the best strategist win!

Tick-tock, the clock ticks away signalling the arrival of something of great importance.

Exactly four years ago, leaders of the various political parties in Ghana crisscrossed the length and breadth of the country selling their ideas to the electorate in an attempt to woo them into giving them the nod to ascend the highest seat on the land – the Presidency.

Men, women, young and old cheered their political parties on as they vigorously campaigned for their vote.

This was done amidst drumming and dancing, which are the traditional ways these political parties sell their messages.

The chiefs are not left out. Many of them become conveyor belts, others political philosophers and pollsters, all in an attempt to find sympathy in the face of the candidate who may bring the most bottles of Schnapps and the secret brown envelops to thank the gods and ask for their blessing.

Every available space was covered with billboards, posters and flags.

The number of posters that can be squeezed around one light pole on a street leaves much to be desired.

Well, guess what! Political campaigning in Ghana has its own rules and quirks. They are mostly or totally different from what we perceive to be learning from those who started democracy.

You can have a well-crafted message cataloguing the myriad issues plaguing the nation, but if it does not come with a catchy tune, you are not going to make any headway.

It seems all of these fanciful ways of campaigning in Ghana may be a thing of the past at a time the world is facing a pandemic. The almighty coronavirus is here to stay and it may take a long time before it leaves. If we are lucky, a cure may be found as soon as possible.

This brings to mind the new era of social media as the game-changer and how it can contribute to breaking the jinx of our traditional way of campaigning with barely five months to the 2020 December polls.

The power of social media cannot be over-emphasised in how it has shaped policies, made and also dethroned kings.

Social media use in politics is a new phenomenon in communication studies. It has become a powerful mechanism for political campaigns to strategise their communication plans leading to the creation of shareable content that candidates and supporters can use to increase awareness, engage the public and appeal for votes.

The question that is running through the minds of many Ghanaians at a time COVID-19 numbers keep rising, is: where will the fanfare, which heralds political campaigns, take place? Will social media be the new game-changer? And how effective will it be at a time fake news has also raised its ugly head.

May the best strategist win!

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Kofi Oppong Asamoah