Advertisement

Disruptive Technologies, Democracy, Governance and National Elections in Africa: Back to the Future?

  • Peter ArthurEmail author
Chapter
  • 24 Downloads
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)

Abstract

With the rapid technological changes occurring throughout the world, it is unsurprising that one area that has recently been the focus of discussion relates to the implications of digital and mobile technologies, social media platforms, and the Internet environment on Africa’s democratic process and governance. Against this backdrop, this chapter, drawing on examples from a number of African countries, explored and assessed the role of mobile technologies and other forms of social media platforms in a watchdog context to check government activities and help improve the governance, electoral and democratic processes. It also examined the relationship between digital and mobile technology access and citizen mobilization and the implications for governance and democratic process, political communication, political accountability and electoral integrity among African countries. The chapter argues that despite access to digital and disruptive mobile technologies improving governance, democratic and electoral processes, there are potential harmful effects and concerns with their use. The chapter therefore calls for better education of citizens in the use of digital technologies, as well as the establishment of strategies and policies, which will guide the use of digital and mobile technologies and social media in the political sphere.

Keywords

Africa Citizen mobilization Democracy Mobile technologies Governance 

References

  1. Abrahamsen, R., & Bareebe, G. (2016). Uganda’s 2016 Elections: Not Even Faking It Anymore. African Affairs, 115(461), 751–765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alhassan, A. A. (2018). The Role and Use of Social Media in Elections Campaigns and Voting Behavior in Nigeria: An Analysis of 2015 Presidential Election. International Journal of Recent Innovations in Academic Research, 2(6), 117–129.Google Scholar
  3. Ali, A. H. (2011). The Power of Social Media in Developing Nations: New Tools for Closing the Global Digital Divide and Beyond. Harvard Human Rights Journal, 24, 185–219.Google Scholar
  4. Allcott, H., & Gentzkow, M. (2017). Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 31(2), 211–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bertot, J. C., Jaeger, P. T., & Grimes, J. M. (2010). Using ICTs to Create a Culture of Transparency: E-Government and Social Media as Openness and Anti-corruption Tools for Societies. Government Information Quarterly, 27, 264–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bokor, M. (2014). New Media and Democratization in Ghana: An Impetus for Political Activism. Net Journal of Social Sciences, 2(1), 1–16.Google Scholar
  7. Bosch, T. (2017). Twitter Activism and Youth in South Africa: The Case of #RhodesMustFall. Information, Communication & Society, 20(2), 221–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Castells, M. (2002). The Internet Galaxy: Reflections on the Internet, Business, and Society. Oxford: University Press on Demand.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Christensen, C. (1997). The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail. Harvard: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Christensen, C. (2001). Assessing Your Organization’s Innovation Capabilities. Executive Forum, 81(2), 27–37.Google Scholar
  11. Chuma, W. (2014). The Social Meanings of Mobile Phones Among South Africa’s ‘Digital Natives’: A Case Study. Media, Culture & Society, 36(3), 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Coleman, G. (2012). Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cooper, M. (2002). Inequality in the Digital Society: Why the Digital Divide Deserves All the Attention It Gets. Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal, 20(1), 73–134.Google Scholar
  14. Danneels, E. (2004). Disruptive Technology Reconsidered A Critique and Research Agenda. Journal of Product Innovative Management, 21(4), 246–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Deibert, D. (2019). The Road to Digital Unfreedom: Three Painful Truths About Social Media. Journal of Democracy, 30(1), 25–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Diamond, L. (2010). Liberation Technology. Journal of Democracy, 21(3), 69–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dzisah, W. (2018). Social Media and Elections in Ghana: Enhancing Democratic Participation. African Journalism Studies, 39(1), 27–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ferrara, E. (2015). Manipulation and Abuse on Social Media. Available at https://arxiv.org/pdf/1503.03752.pdf. Accessed 3 May 2019.
  19. Gallowa, D., Mollel, A., Mgoma, S., Pima, M., & Deogratias, E. (2018). Mobile Phone Use in Two Secondary Schools in Tanzania. Education and Information Technologies, 23(1), 73–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Goggin, G. (2011). Ubiquitous Apps: Politics of Openness in Global Mobile Cultures. Digital Creativity, 22(3), 148–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Grossman, G., Humphreys, M., & Sacramone-Lutz, G. (2016). Information Technology and Political Engagement: Mixed Evidence from Uganda. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Guy_Grossman/publication/303818782_Information_Technology_and_Political_Engagement_Mixed_Evidence_from_Uganda/links/580bc6aa08aecba93500d11b/Information-Technology-and-Political-Engagement-Mixed-Evidence-from-Uganda.pdf. Accessed 7 May 2019.
  22. Gyampo, R. E. V. (2017). Social Media, Traditional Media and Party Politics in Ghana. Africa Review.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09744053.2017.1329806.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hellstrom, J. (2008). Mobile Phones for Good Governance–Challenges and Way Forward. Stockholm University/UPGRAID. Available at: http://www.w3.org/2008/10/MW4D_WS/papers/hellstrom_gov.pdf. Accessed 20 Apr 2019.
  24. Hermanns, H. (2008). Mobile Democracy: Mobile Phones as Democratic Tools. Politics, 28(2), 74–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hong, S., & Nadler, D. (2012). Which Candidates Do the Public Discuss Online in an Election Campaign?: The Use of Social Media by 2012 Presidential Candidates and Its Impact on Candidate Salience. Government Information Quarterly, 29, 455–461.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Humphreys, A. (2016). Social Media: Enduring Principles. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Iwuoha, V. C. (2018). ICT and Elections in Nigeria: Rural Dynamics of Biometric Voting Technology Adoption. Africa Spectrum, 53(3), 89–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kanyam, D. A., Kostandini, G., & Ferreira, S. (2017). The Mobile Phone Revolution: Have Mobile Phones and the Internet Reduced Corruption in Sub-Saharan Africa? World Development, 99, 271–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the World, Unite! The Challenges and Opportunities of Social Media. Business Horizons, 53(1), 59–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Karolak, M. (2018). Social Media in Democratic Transitions and Consolidations: What Can We Learn from the Case of Tunisia? The Journal of North African Studies.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13629387.2018.1482535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kietzmann, H. J., Hermkens, K., McCarthy, I. P., & Silvestre, B. (2011). Social Media? Get Serious! Understanding the Functional Building Blocks of Social Media. Business Horizons, 54(3), 241–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kirigha, J. M., Mukhongo, L. L., & Masinde, R. (2018). Beyond Web 2.0. Social Media and Urban Educated Youths Participation in Kenyan Politics. In Media Influence: Breakthroughs in Research and Practice (pp. 176–193). Hershey: IGI Global.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Koi-Akrofi, G. Y., Koi-Akrofi, J., & Welbeck, J. N. (2013). Relationship Marketing Tactics and Customer Loyalty: A Case Study of the Mobile Telecommunications Industry in Ghana. Asian Journal of Business Management, 5(1), 77–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lutz, B., & du Toit, P. (2014). Defining Democracy in a Digital Age: Political Support on Social Media. London: Palgrave Macmillan.  https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137496195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Micheni, E., & Murumba, J. (2018). The Role of ICT in Electoral Processes: Case of Kenya. IST-Africa Week Conference (IST-Africa).Google Scholar
  36. Ocitti, J. (1999). Media and Democracy in Africa: Mutual Political Bedfellows or Implacable Arch-Foes. https://programs.wcfia.harvard.edu/files/fellows/files/ocitti.pdf. Accessed 27 Mar 2019.
  37. Ogola, G. (2015). Social Media as a Heteroglossic Discursive Space and Kenya’s Emergent Alternative/Citizen Experiment. African Journalism Studies, 36(4), 66–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Olabamiji, O. M. (2014). Use and Misuse of the New Media for Political Communication in Nigeria’s 4th Republic. Developing Country Studies, 4(2). Available at http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.818.1362&rep=rep1&type=pdf. Accessed 3 May 2019.
  39. Omidyar, P. (2018). 6 Ways Social Media Has Become a Direct Threat to Democracy. New Perspectives Quarterly, 35(1), 42–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Onyechi, N. J. (2018). Taking Their Destiny in Their Hands: Social Media, Youth Participation and the 2015 Campaign in Nigeria. African Journalism Studies, 39(1), 69–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Onyechi, N. J., & Obono, K. (2017). Communication and Peace Building: The 2015 Presidential Elections in Nigeria. Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies, 10(7), 22–35.Google Scholar
  42. Opara, C. (2017). How Social Media Played a Role in Ghana’s 2016 Elections. Available at: http://www.signalng.com/op-unedited-social-media-played-role-ghanas-2016-elections-chris-opara/. Accessed 4 June 2019.
  43. Piccolino, G. (2015). What Other African Elections Tell Us About Nigeria’s Bet on Biometrics. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2015/03/10/what-other-african-elections-tell-us-about-nigerias-bet-onbiometrics/?utm_term=.b79ed20588be. Accessed 30 May 2019.
  44. Rød, E. G. (2015). Empowering Activists or Autocrats? The Internet in Authoritarian Regimes. Journal of Peace Research, 52(3), 338–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Stier, S., Bleier, A., Lietz, H., & Strohmaier, M. (2018). Election Campaigning on Social Media: Politicians, Audiences and the Mediation of Political Communication on Facebook and Twitter. Political Communication, 35(1), 50–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Taprial, V., & Kanwar, P. (2012). Understanding Social Media. London: Ventus Publishing.Google Scholar
  47. Tettey, W. J. (2017). Mobile Telephony and Democracy in Ghana: Interrogating the Changing Ecology of Citizen Engagement and Political Communication. Telecommunications Policy, 41(7-8), 685–694.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wasserman, H. (2011). Mobile Phones, Popular Media, and Everyday African Democracy: Transmissions and Transgressions. Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture, 9(2), 146–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wolfsfeld, G., Segev, E., & Sheafer, T. (2013). Social Media and the Arab Spring: Politics Comes First. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 18(2), 115–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zeitzoff, T. (2017). How Social Media Is Changing Conflict. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 20(10), 1–22.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

Personalised recommendations