Expensive Campaign websites
*Expensive Campaign websites-Okudzeto Ablakwa Follows Akuffo Addo, JM is
third, Nduom Last*
Now, the USA elections are over and done with political campaigns. Ghana is
close to elections and the campaigns are seriously at their last minutes.
Like most Ghanaians say, last days are dangerous therefore it is hoped that
nothing would be left to chance.
I was writing this article when I witnessed the hacking of the Ministry of
Justice and Attorney Generals Department’s website on Monday. I must call
on the National Security to treat this issue seriously. They should contact
the Argentine government as well as report the issue to Interpol for
Anyway, my main topic is about how political websites are currently faring
during the campaign. Research we conducted have revealed that the most
active political websites in Ghana today and are in good shape for the
- · www.okudzetoablakwa.com
- · www.akufoaddo2012.com
- · www.johnmahama.org
- · www.pppghana.org
Our researchers also looked at the development, management and seriousness
it has attached in the use of social media. And was able to suggest the
cost of their development and management based on the functions used in
their design and development as well as management.
All the above websites used content management systems (CMS) which are
wordpress, joomla and drupal. That alone made them more of a web 2.0
website- interactive, modern and technologically effective.
On cost, many web developers our researchers spoke to who use CMS quoted
not less than USD 5,000 for a basic and regular website. These according to
them includes, a custom design to reflect the clients campaign, CMS
allowing the client to easily update pages, create a poll and add events.
In addition, it allows them to expand their site with more pages, create a
multi-level site menu, add multiple user accounts to allow and restrict
site administration access to different users.
Indeed political websites are not cheap. They communicate to a larger
audience both home and abroad. It allows people to follow the activities of
the political parties and the politicians.
I am also impressed with the way the www.johnmahama.org has been
advertised on all billboards and other political campaign tools. I recently
saw the same on the new campaign billboards of Honourable Akuffo-Addo. This
is not to say who started first but it shows the importance our
flag-bearers have attached to their online campaign.
The most expensive of all could be www.akufoaddo2012.com. It is well
updated and has a lot of features and functions which may require expert
developers to manage and maintain. I am also not surprised about the
dedication of time and energy on this website,
www.akufoaddo2012.combecause the party made it clear from the onset
that it will use the power
of online media to support its campaign efforts. This website could cost
over USD10,000 with management of over USD 3000 a month.
Following closely is the Website of the Honorable Deputy Minister for
Information, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa. His campaign website,
www.okudzetoablakwa.com has improved especially with news, videos and
photos. It has also been clearly advertised on facebook.com and other media.
It still stands tall as one of the best parliamentary candidates' campaign
website. And like I said in my previous article, I am yet to see other
individual campaign websites aside presidential websites beaming with life
and fairly appropriate for this campaign season. Just like
www.akufoaddo2012.com, web development experts are required to develop and
main such a website.
It should cost the honourable minister over USD 8000 to develop this kind
of website and must be paying over USD2,500 a month for its management.
The PPP website, www.pppghana.org is also very informative and well
branded. It is has every information you would need about the Progressive
People's Party. It is also well maintained and I guess it is not expensive
to maintain as it lacks functions that would make it require the expertise
of programmers. This website looks more like a blog and not expensive to
develop. It could cost about USD 700 to develop and a maintenance fee of
USD 100 a month.
The new entrant, www.johnmahama.org is a website to watch out for. This
website is updated with speed. As soon as I hear on any radio online about
the President's campaign, I am sure to find it on the website with
exclusive and well captioned photos. This website could cost over USD 7000
with management of over USD 2000 a month. It also satisfies the rules of
website usability. It loads fast and easy to navigate. You are able to find
what you want on this website.
Over all, I think these websites are doing well. But I must say again that
campaigning online isn't an option for politicians. It is indeed a
necessity for presidential campaigns all the way down to parliamentary
elections in Ghana.
Voters are going online to research candidates and their positions, what
they have done before, their future aspirations and all. “ if people are
interested in you and your campaign, they'll be searching for you on the
Web.” Kelvin, a web developer/
Perhaps the most misunderstood medium in all of politics is the website.
Partly because it is (relatively) new, and partly because it is
“technical,” consultants, candidates and volunteers often overestimate the
power of a website, and fail to see the real ways it can help their
It is true campaign website can be very expensive especially when they are
that of the ones mentioned above. But they are powerful tools in successful
campaigning. When used right, however, websites can and will be a great
benefit to your campaign.
A political campaign website also helps to get information out quickly and
cheaply – The Internet is a great way to get press releases, issue papers,
articles, and even campaign posters out to the public in a short amount of
time. Of course, no one will know the information is there unless you tell
them about your website (we’ll discuss promotion later), but the web is
still a great way to make campaign materials available to your organization
and the voters at large.
In my last article, I mentioned that as Ghanaians living abroad, it helps
us to know how to support elections in our various constituencies. For
instance if I am able to view the projects my Member of Parliament(MP) is
undertaking in my constituency online and his future projects, it gives me
an idea of what is going on, I can even speak to my family back home to
give him another chance and because I am the breadwinner of my family and I
support over twenty(20) of my family members who are over 18years, I know I
can lobby at least 20 votes to support my MP in December or make him lose
the same figure if he is not doing well.
It further provides extra information for those who want it – Your campaign
website is a great place to post your issue papers, reports, responses to
your opponents’ attacks, etc. In your political mail pieces, you can talk
about an issue, and then direct those who want more information to your
Similarly, you can let reporters know that additional research items for a
story are available on your website.
I will urge the teams working on the various websites to continue feeding
the website with lots of information to enhance the work our politicians.
This is my opinion. What do you think? I am proud to be Ghanaian coming to
*Author: Mahina Lawal
Visual Communications Consultant
Former Student, North Carolina Central University, USA*
*Email: mahinalawal @gmail.com*