Story by Malise Otoo.
This lecture organised by Penplusbyte is the first in its series that forms part of the African Elections Project interventions to use ICTs and face-to-face dialogue to ensure best practises are adopted to promote free and credible elections across the continent. The African Elections Project established in 2008 by Penplusbyte has covered elections in 13 African countries with a vision of enhancing the ability of journalists, citizen and the news media to provide more timely and relevant election-related information and knowledge while undertaking monitoring of specific and important aspects of governance.
Dr. Michael Best is a professor at Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology, USA. Over the last five years, he and his team have been developing new software systems and organisational processes to monitor social media from Facebook to Twitter, Google+, Ushahidi, Mixit, and more to help ensure free and fair elections in Africa.
In his lecture, Dr. Best says, ‘’Our Aggie social media aggregator and monitoring software has been deployed during the Nigerian, Liberian, Kenyan and recently in the 2012 presidential elections in Ghana. ‘’
Social media is routinely out front of traditional media, police, formal observer missions, and electoral commission Offices in the identification of events and problems. ELMO and Aggie 2.0 is open source software that was integrated with the mobile phone based field observation technology and tested during the Ekiti State election in Nigeria.
ELMO was mainly built for International Observer Missions; however, the software is likely to be used in the 2016 election and has approval from the EC and government of Ghana. The basic thing with this software is Real time and high volumes, that is, about 100 incidents per second and now testing 1,000 incidents per second.
These software’s have shown a lot of prospects including, technology neutrality, meeting the electorates where they are and embedding team members with core stakeholders like the Electoral Commission and security agencies.