Online resources for the 2012 Burkina Faso elections
Social media has been widely used in presidential elections across Africa, but it has been utilized to a lesser degree in parliamentary elections. Such appears to be the case in Burkina Faso – a nation with upcoming legislative and municipal elections. Still, there is plenty of online activity in advance of election day.
On December 2nd, Burkina Faso will hold parliamentary elections for the fifth time since 1978. The nation holds legislative and presidential elections every five years, with the presidential election falling two years before voters elect the National Assembly. In 2007, the ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP) won 73 out of 111 seats (59%), with the Alliance for Democracy and Federation-African Democratic Rally (ADF-RDC), taking 14 seats (11%). The remaining 11 parties split the rest of the 30% of the vote.
Our research finds substantial attention from a handful of newspapers, but less information on social media. Political party sites are robust, but seem to lack official Facebook pages. Perhaps the best source of information is radio, television, and print. Still, newspapers are publishing steady streams of news and opinion. Key social media users, mostly in Ouagadougou, are spreading the word. And, no doubt scores of Facebook users are sharing opinions as well.
Some top accessible sources for the 2012 Burkina Faso elections are listed below.
- Congrés pour la Démocratie et le Progrés (CDP) provides all sorts of information about the ruling party, list of candidates, and platform.
- Alliance pour la Démocratie et la Fédération – Rassemblement Démocratique Africain (ADF-RDA) has thorough party information, including social media links for its president, Me Gilbert Ouédraogo, who has 5,000 Facebook friends, 1,100 subscribers, and 200 Twitter followers. (Unfortunately the ADF-RDA site is listed as a Reported Attack Site by Google.)
- Private news outlets leFaso.net, L’Observateur, and Burkina24 provide dynamic coverage of news from a variety of political parties.
- The government’s Agence d’Information du Burkina has CDP (ruling party) updates.
- GENERATION MONTANTE DE L’ADF/RDA, an active Facebook group for the ‘rising generation’ (youth) of the ADF-RDA party, has 139 members.
- Vote4Africa will no doubt provide coverage as the December 2 date nears.
- President Blaise Compaore has over 12,000 Facebook followers but the account has not posted any political messages as of yet.
Thus far, we’ve counted fewer than 100 Tweets from 15 sources on the election from accounts with direct ties to Burkina Faso. Searches for the various political parties yield few results (4 for l’ADF-RDC, for example). The three main accounts that are sharing info have adopted the #faso2012 tag. They are:
- YARGA Justin – web journalist and editor at Burkina24 (475 followers)
- Dieudonné LANKOANDE – web marketer and blogger in Ouagadougou (417 followers)
- B24 Politique – political news from Burkina24 (79 followers)
Some of the more interesting tweets from the last week of October are embedded below.
Burkina24 asks citizens their thoughts about independent candidates:
— Burkina24 (@burkina24) October 29, 2012
If true, less than 25% of the population (and certainly fewer than 50% of adults) is registered to vote:
In Burkina Faso, for the Parliamentary Elections they took two months and only registered 4 million voters… #BVR
— Baraka Njagi (@NjagiNjagz) October 24, 2012
The Independent National Electoral Commission recently conducted the draw for the positioning of the 74 political parties taking part in elections on a single ballot:
— AllAfrica Français (@allafricafrench) October 29, 2012
The elections are an opportunity for peace and democracy:
Lés élections à venir seront une véritable chance de paix pour le Burkina Faso si enfin nous jouons à la démocratie vraie et non ce lib lib
—Alexis De NAGUOLO (@nagalexbalima) October 23, 2012
Expect an increase in online news and Facebook activity as December 2nd nears. The 2012 elections may not be as intense as presidential elections and they may not be nail biters, but they still are important to Burkina Faso’s future.