For several months now, the nine Presidential candidates to the October 7 Presidential election in Cameroon have been entangled in a social media tug-of-war.
This social media tug-of-war is one out of numerous strategies used by the Presidential aspirants to woo potential voters to cast their ballot in their favour at the October 7 Presidential election.
The nine candidates viz: Paul Biya of the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM), Joshua Osih of the Social Democratic Front(SDF), Maurice Kamto of Cameroon Renaissance Movement(CRM), Cabral libii of Univers Party, Akere Muna of Popular Front for Development(PFD), Gaga Haman Aji of the Alliance for Democracy and Development(ADD), Serge Espoir Matomba of PUR, Afanwi Franklin Ndifor of Cameroon National Citizen Movement(CNCM) and Adamou Ndam Njoya of Cameroon Democratic Union(CDU), have all adopted different strategies ahead of the Presidential election, but they all share one strategy in common, which is the use of the social media in disseminating information and educating their militants and the electorate on their vision for the country if elected.
Social media platforms like twitter with over 261 million subscribers, Facebook with over 2.23 billion subscribers monthly, WhatsApp, Instagram among others are used by these candidates to woo to votes for themselves.
Meanwhile, out of the nine Presidential candidates, 85-year-old Paul Biya has the highest Facebook friends and twitter followers than the eight other Presidential candidates.
Paul Biya has as a total of 8,733,09 friends, while on twitter he has 35,0000 followers.
The second is Serge Espoir Matomba, the political flag bearer of the PUR party has over 130,000 Facebook friends. He is closely followed by Joshua Osih of the SDF party with over 90,000 Facebook friends and 15,800 followers on twitter. Maurice Kamto has 3,286 followers on twitter.
The least on the group is Garga Haman Adji of the Alliance for Democracy and Development with just 2,800 followers on Facebook and has no twitter account. Also Adamou Ndam Njoya of the Cameroon Democratic Union has no twitter account but has over 3000 Facebook friends.
These candidates use official and personal accounts on Facebook and twitter as a strategy to gain more visibility.
These social media platforms, according to Maurice Kamto during the launching of his campaign in Far North Region is the easiest way to share information to the masses in Cameroon and the diaspora as it is less costly and time effective.
The 2018 Presidential campaigns, which were launched in Cameroon on September 22 ,2018, are attaining fever pitch as the Presidential aspirants are making good use of the social media not only to organise their campaigns, but also to rubbish the political ideologies of their opponents.
Facebook Accounts under the name of “Paul Biya degage” with over 13,000 friends and many others are some of the accounts created by opponents of his regime to destroy his campaign strategies. While another account dubbed pro Paul Biya is used to highlight his achievement in his 36 years’ stewardship.
With the help of the social media, millions of people in and out of Cameroon are now abreast with the different manifesto of the various Presidential candidates ahead of the October 7 poll.
However, many political pundits have raised some rhetorical questions that does the number of friends on Facebook or followers on twitter mean outright victory in the October 7 poll?
The answer to these questions and many more will be answered after October 7, 2018, when the election results will be made public by the Constitutional Council.