Expensive Campaign websites

Thu, 29 Nov 2012 Source: Lawal, Mahina

*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

further investigation.

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

elections are,

- · 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*

Source: Lawal, Mahina

Send your news stories to and features to . Chat with us via WhatsApp on +233 55 2699 625.