The use of the social media has obviously gone beyond just ordinary the mere interaction between individuals. For the business and politically minded, it has become a tool to reach wider audiences. Many follower of the American President, Barack Obama started celebrating his re-election when a picture of the President hugging his wife appeared on his handle on Twitter with the caption “Four More Years” around 8.14 pm.
Though some African leaders have made their presence felt on social networks, the Twitter bug has only been caught by a few of them as only a few of their accounts are updated regularly. While it helps them interact more closely with their followers, the network is mostly used for image enhancement and projection of their programmes and projects. It will be recalled that before Nigeria’s President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan officially declared his intention to run for the 2011 election, he had made his intention known on Facebook. He has also registered his presence on Twitter, though unlike his Facebook page which is updated more regularly, the most recent tweet from President Jonathan’s handle, @presgoodluck was posted on May 2, 2011. The handle has 9, 611 followers. The second handle, @jgoodlucktweets with 46, 149 followers was last updated on May 10, 2011.
One of the African Presidents whose twitter accounts have been verified by the network is Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda. He has 86, 046 people following his @PaulKagame handle. Interestingly, tweets from President Kagame makes use of abbreviations and shout outs are sent once in a while. The handle also tweets at perceived opponents of the President once in a while. For instance, on October 19, President Kagema tweeted “ No matter what haters say dO-alwz justice&truth will prevail!!! Sometimes it just requires a bit of good fight for all that..!!! # UN VoTe”.
President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania too has a verified handle. Though most of his tweets are in Swahili, he tweets in English once in a while and he also retweets some of his followers tweets, especially where they can be of benefit to other followers. He currently has a total of 38, 383 followers. On October 19, the President retweeted a certain message which reads “I’m a Muslim. My Mom is devout Catholic. She prays for us everyday. She covers herself and participate when we have Dua. We can coexist.”
Egypt’s Mohammed Morsi has a record of 522,807 people following him on @mohammadmosri. He tweets basically in Arabic. His account too is verified.
Another Presidential twitter handle that has been very active is that of President Paul Biya of Cameroon. Biya who has ruled his country for three decades tweets in English and French. On 6th November, he tweeted “Cameroonians, all united behind me, commemorate the 30th anniversary of my accession to the Supreme Magistracy”.
Tunisia’s President, Mancef Marzouki, @Moncef_Marzouki is about the most followed with 89, 959 followers. His tweets are mostly in Arabic, though at times he tweets in French. He tweets mainly news links and videos and other things his followers find interesting.
Another long-serving African President who has n active twitter handle is Yoweri Museveni of Uganda. His handle, @KagutaMuseveni is mainly used to intimate his 9, 416 followers about the programmes and policies of his government.
Ivorian President, Alassane Outarra has a well used twitter handle which is linked to his Facebook page. His tweets are in French, his country’s official language. He has 5, 241 people following him on @adosolutions. Like Outarra, Togo’s Faure Gnassingbe tweets in French. He started using twitter in September 2012 and has 161 followers on his handle @FGNASSINGBE.