1st Edition

Digital Technologies, Elections and Campaigns in Africa

Edited By Duncan Omanga, Admire Mare, Pamela Mainye Copyright 2024

    This book looks at how digital technologies are revolutionizing electoral campaigns and democratization struggles in Africa.

    Digital technologies are giving voice and civic agency to a cross section of African voters, providing important spaces for political engagement and debate. Drawing on cases from Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe amongst others, this book traces the shifts and tensions in this changing electoral communications landscape. In doing so, the book explores themes such as hate speech and disinformation, decolonisation, surveillance, internet shutdowns, influencers, bots, algorithms, and election observation, and looks beyond Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and YouTube to the increasingly important role of visual platforms such as Instagram and TikTok.

    Particularly highlighting the contribution of African scholars, this book is an important guide for researchers across the fields of African politics, media studies, and electoral studies, as well as to professionals and policymakers in political communication.

    1. The Nexus Between Digital Technologies, Elections and Campaigns

    Duncan Omanga, Admire Mare and Pamela Mainye

    Part I: Digital Technologies and Electoral Campaigns

    2. Twitter, Elections and Gendered Disinformation Campaigns in Zimbabwe

    Admire Mare

    3. Digital Media Politics in Kenya: Of Nerds, Missionaries and Mercenaries

    Duncan Omanga and Pamela Mainye

    4. Social Media, Political Transition and Conflict in Ethiopia

    Asnake Kefale

    5. Political Parties and Social Media: Between Screenshots, Memes and Hashtags During Municipal Elections in Mozambique

    Dércio Tsandzana

    6."To Vote or not to Vote": Facebook as Platform for Salafi Discourses on Voting in Uganda

    Abdulhakim A. Nsobya

    7. Undermining Democracy Through Social Media: The Impact of Disinformation and Government Propaganda in the 2017 Elections in Kenya

    Jacinta Mwende Maweu

    8. Social Media, Internet Shutdowns and Elections In Uganda: The Case of 2016 and 2021 Electoral Campaigns

    Emilly Comfort Maractho

    9. Social Media Use and its Impact on Malawi 2020 Presidential Election

    Anthony M. Gunde and Jimmy Kainja

    Part II: Observation Reports and Newsification of Elections

    10. "Assessing the ‘Credibility’ of the Kenya’s 2017 General Elections: A Critical Reading of Selected International Observers Missions ‘Digital Reports’

    John Mwangi Githigaro

    11. The "Lack of Listening" During South African Election News Coverage: Ramifications for Peace and Democracy

    Bernadine Jones

    Part III: Digital Technologies, Protests and Social Change

    12. #EndSARS Organizing: Lessons and Opportunities for Nigeria’s Future Governance

    Toyin Ajao

    13. A Revolution from the Centre: Class, Digital Cultures, and the 2018-2022 Sudan Uprising

    Mohamed Bakhit

    14. Digital Cultures, Voice and (New) Forms of Civic Participation in Ghana

    Charles Prempeh

    15. Assessing Twitter’s Revolutionary Potential in an Authoritarian Regime: The Case of the #ZimbabweanLivesMatter

    Danford Zirugo and Admire Mare


    Duncan Omanga is Program Officer at the Africa Program, the National Endowment for Democracy, Washington DC, USA. He has recently worked with the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX, DC), and the Social Science and Research Council (SSRC, New York). Prior to this, Omanga was a senior lecturer and chair, Department of Publishing and Media Studies, Moi University (Kenya). His research explores the intersection of digitality, security, and democracy in East Africa and his latest research grant was a Facebook-funded research project on "Human Rights, Policing and Digital Landscapes" in Nairobi, Kenya.

    Admire Mare is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and Media at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. His research interests include analyzing the intersection between technology and society, digital journalism, social media and politics, media and democracy, political communication, digital campaigns, digital diplomacy, platformization of news work, media and conflict, media start-ups and innovation and artificial intelligence in resource-constrained in newsrooms. He is the co-author of Participatory Journalism in Africa: Digital News Engagement and User Agency in the South (Routledge, 2021) and Digital Surveillance in Southern Africa: Policies, Politics and Practices (2022). He is also the co-editor of Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding in Africa: Empirical and Conceptual Considerations (Routledge, 2021) and Teaching and Learning with Digital Technologies in Higher Education Institutions in Africa: Case Studies from a Pandemic Context (Routledge, 2023).

    Pamela Mainye is an independent researcher and a former Chair of Communication and Media at Kisii University, Kenya. Her research interests include digital media studies, representation and popular culture, radio studies and migration with a focus on East Africa.