December 5, 2016 – Leading up to Ghana’s national elections, Dr. Kajsa Hallberg Adu, lecturer in the Humanities and Social Sciences department, held a round-table event to discuss the elections and democracy in Ghana. Themed Democratic Gains from the Election Season 2016, the event was highlighted by a panel presentation from organizations involved in political sensitization in Ghana, particularly on social media.
“I believe democracy is participatory, that is, it is only as good as you are involved,” said Dr. Adu. “University students have a special responsibility to get active in politics as they are more educated than the majority of citizens. If students and graduates don't ask questions, run for office and stage protests, who will?”
On the panel were representatives from PenPlusBytes, Odekro, GhanaDecides, BloggingGhana and Muse Africa who discussed ways their respective organizations are working towards ensuring successful elections. The panelists and audience further debated the value of democracy in Ghana, shared ways their organisations are using social media as a tool for the elections and the need for student participation in electoral processes.
“I think it’s critical that students are involved in the political process,” said Lolan Ekow Sagoe Moses of Odekro, an organization that uses technology to help continuants hold their respective parliamentarians accountable. “In a lot of countries, including Ghana, large-scale change can only happen when students are involved. We need to remember that students have played a key role before in this country, and students should continue to play a key role. They should engage on issues in building institutions, engage politically without necessarily being partisan and be exposed to people who are actively involved in trying to make change. That’s the way to build an engaged citizenry that would go out and besides running their businesses, also realize that they a duty and responsibility and most importantly the power to engage on a day-to-day basis with the government.”
In 2008, Dr. Kajsa Adu co-founded BloggingGhana, an association of bloggers and social media enthusiasts in Ghana. The organization also runs GhanaDecides, the election project that provides a one-stop-shop for information on the elections online and encouraging netizens to vote