Friday, January 20

After the votes what happens next?

Pic Source:online
The year 2011 observed the use of new (social) media in transmitting public opinions. Examples can be seen in the abrupt transformation that led to the topping of governments in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. 

The effects of new media towards strengthening popular sovereignty didn’t end in the Middle East and Africa, it also moved down to the West ,South of the Saharan Africa;Nigeria and in Europe and America continent;UK2011 violent riots and the US Occupy protest respectively.

This however demands a new thinking to the relevance of new media for democratic governance and social good.  

Inspired by these experiences, many Cameroonians home and abroad created and led online groups on Facebook, and event/ hastag (#) lists on twitter.  Through which, many citizens were able toexpress their dissatisfactions against the socio-political situation in the country, in general,and specifically on the need for an electoral reform. So that elections reflect the voters’ choice. 

The fact that citizens managed to use online networks in carrying on advocacy campaigns for the enjoyment of basic rights and freedom during the presidential campaign was in itself inspiring and a step towards effective political vigilance.  

That notwithstanding, some observers remarked strongly that the enthusiasm demonstrated by Cameroonians during that period was“weak, objectiveless and non-inspiring” to mobilize supporters (other citizens to join the cause). 

 Given the high level of technological development, many people expected an instant change from the online advocacy by the citizens for the improvement of the people’s wellbeing during election. 

However, it is worth noting that Oct 9th 2011 elections shall forever remain historic - seeing a critical mass of Cameroonian especially the young population taking the stage in the virtual space in reporting and making their own news on happenings in the country.  

But according to Dave, he thinks that “The current state of Cameroon is not threatened by the nature of communication most especially through the social media.  For social media communication depends on the way it is used.  And unlike the Arab Uprising where the social media played a mega role, Cameroonian means of usage is not inspiring.  It is not action-oriented but report-oriented”.

Contrary to Dave’s opinion,  Patience applauded  the initiative and especially the fact that youth were able get involve in exploring and using the new media tools and applications to challenge the status quo about traditional media in news reporting. 

For instance, Patience remarked that “unlike the previous years where a great majority of the Cameroonian public; home or abroad, friends and fans of this country would get updates about Cameroon only through the traditional Medias (local TV channels, Radiostations and News Prints)”

In that time, Patience emphasized that it was believed that news is made by journalists. But now it is different. The people have become their News and story anchors. As well as, they can now communicate their stories across the globe without fear of any form of editorial censorship”. Patience, in addition recollected “And this was evident in the Oct 9th presidential elections”. 

While on the other hand, Biggest Peeters who during the October 2011 presidential, reported instantly on any act of social injustice and abuse of rights; detention incidence, riots, violence and some cases of frauds within his community; Buea – Cameroon; believes that  many Cameroonians were motivated by the thinking that new media would serve as a great medium to be heard either by the international actors, social actors or external communities or any agencies that can influence the situation positively. 

Dismally, Biggest Peeters added “I realized that very little attention was given to our situation in Cameroon by all these actors.”

After the Elections, what happens next? It is now 2012, Cameroon is soon to organize another election; municipal and parliamentary. 

How can these platforms be strengthen towards solution-solving?