The Head of the Commonwealth for the Africa Region has stated that a restriction of social media on Election Day in Ghana will be a monumental abridgement of civil liberties and democracy. Mr. John Apea, the Commonwealth Representative across 18 African countries said that such an attempt must be, and will be, frowned upon by the International Community.

Although he was quick to note that social media can be said to have both good and bad aspects, he argued, “As an aggregate, it is one of the purest streams of expressions of free speech, especially for young people, within democratic countries”. He further noted that social media is essential for high turnouts in elections, stating that “high turnouts in elections lies in making elections more accessible by leveraging social media and the opportunities it offers in terms of engagement”.

Echoing the words of the Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), who previously stated that the UN will be “averse to any steps that will amount to the restriction of freedom of expression”, Mr. Apea argued that social media is a useful tool that will continue to be used post-election: “ it helps to carefully monitor the votes during and post –election, and then tracks the political activities of elected members, and holds them accountable, prior to the next elections”.

Consequently, Mr. Apea urged the youth to go out and vote in large numbers, noting that the Commonwealth Observer Group, led by the “infallible former President of South Africa”, Thabo Mbeki, will report an election that is free and fair, and that positions Ghana as the black star of Africa. He added, the youth must go out and vote : “ they  are a brobdingnagian force that can positively change the trajectory of the elections and of Ghana”.



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