Key Individual:
Alexander Tekola

Who can benefit from this study?
Civic Tech initiatives

Organisation responsible for case study:
Name: Digital Rogue Society Experiment Group (DRSE.G)

Org. type: Non-Profit

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Political Parties Online Activities Assessment and Report

Post Status:
Main Project Location: Addis Ababa
Project country/countries: Ethiopia
Project dates: 2016 –
Last updated: 23 March 2022

Brief overview of the Case Study   

DRSE.G is licensed by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) to observe competing political parties activities in the digital space for the long term. It undertook the observation and submitted a report along with the findings to NEBE.
This case study seeks to demonstrate political parties’ online activities during the Ethiopian Election 2021. It leverages Facebook text posts of the parties to visualize the distribution across the defined categories and sub-categories. The visualization is portioned in three parts namely pre-campaign, campaign and post-campaign period and a separate sheet uncovering the entire data collection period. The total number of posts evaluated is 1,057.
This case study mainly focuses to analyze the process of political parties’ digital understanding, commitment, representation, role and dynamism during the election period.

The challenge or problem

The project identifies the following issues to be addressed. These are: -
Observe political parties online activities in conformity with election-related legislations and political parties code of conduct
Gaps in political parties standing in digital representation
Understand the language democratization in the digital political space
Absence of internal Social Media Policy across political parties
Lack of appropriate index to navigate political parties digital discourse (perception & commitment for wide outreach)

The solution that was implemented

The data-driven visualization powered by Google’s data studio enabled to:
Visualize political parties distribution in the digital space
Identify election code of conduct violating political parties
Create a database to build a predictive model
Determine (benchmark) political parties code of conduct in the digital space
Report NEBE and the security apparatus about posed challenges
Understand administrative or security timing and contextual challenges political parties were facing

What results were achieved?

Out of the total 46 political parties, only 22 have Facebook public pages to communicate their messages
Three political parties violated political parties code of conduct during post-campaign period (silence period)
Varying level of communication. Political parties which invested resources and has commitment for communication and having a youth base had substantial level of communication frequency
National political parties had better social media engagement over regional parties
The language democratization is pretty much underdeveloped where only regional parties seem to incorporate it
Build a foundation for further Social media Policy related intervention in the political dynamics
There seems to be underdeveloped awareness on the relationship between content and audience as well as the benefits and effects of diversifying forms of content.
Brand building is given less attention by political parties
NEBE is keen to support local civic innovation

Lessons and recommendations

Data-driven solutions have wide-reaching and cross-cutting impact;
Government, private sector, donors and international organizations should support digitization efforts in the political landscape;
Political parties should reassess their means of communication in order to gauge the youth, i.e., highest portion from the entire population;
Relevant stakeholders like the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia shall introduce leapfrogging to galvanize digital inclusion across the political spectrum;
Capacity building of political parties on digital literacy, ethical digital space engagement, content creation and management, brand building, political consumer mining and so on must be given due attention.
Government and donor organizations should support local innovations

Case study images

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