Don’t forget the voters - Foundation Office Tanzania
How do we keep our messages short in election campaigns? How do we deal with fake news and smear campaigns? These were some of the questions and issues discussed at the three-day E-lection Bridge of KAS Media Africa, the Programme for Political Communication and Media of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. Participants from ten countries, as diverse as South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania discussed principles of campaigning for centre-right parties.
Dr. Klaus Schüler, general manager of the CDU in Germany, who has managed three succesfull election campaigns for Chancellor Angela Merkel, was the guest of honour. In his central message, Dr. Schüler emphasized the importance of conveying constructive and positive message to voters in election campaigns.
Other participants attending the conference in Dar es Salaam included Kenyan media expert, Mark Kaigwa, who lectured about the chances of campaigning with Social Media. Kaigwa pointed out the dangers of the massive number of Fake News on Social Media that tried to influence the outcome of the recently ended general elections in his country Kenya.
Peter MacManu of the ruling NPP in Ghana explained the challenges that come about once a party has scored victory: how to keep voters in a good mood and how to convey unpopular decisions.
Looking into the future of campaigning, MacManu and many other participants agreed, that the methods will change with the fast development of technologies, but „the human factor remains the most important one, door-to-door campaigning and personal interaction with the voters“ as MacManu put it.
The more than 30 participants from different centre-right parties in Africa, agreed, that this E-lection Bridge delivered a lot of practical suggestions for their work on the ground. Christoph Plate, director of KAS Media Africa in Johannesburg, which hosted the conference in Dar es Salaam, underlined the diversity of campaign processes in Africa: „No country is similar to the other on this continent and KAS honours the diversity of the continent with its many offices in Africa“.