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Über dieses Buch

This book offers a comprehensive account of the nature and development of political communication in Africa. In light of the growing number of African states now turning towards democratic rule, as well as the growing utilization of information technologies in Africa, the contributors examine topics such as: the role of social media in politics, strategic political communication, political philosophy and political communication, Habermas in Africa, gender and political communication, image dilemma in Africa, and issues in political communication research in Africa, and identify the frontiers for future research on political communication in Africa.



1. Introduction

The African Policom Stew
This chapter is introductory. It is indistinctly but methodically divided into two parts. The first part, in addition to exposing the fundamentals, particularities and current state of affairs of political communication in Africa slightly relative to its Global North counterparts, analytically catalogues the woes such as tardiness, negligence, conceptual misunderstanding, imposition of Western culture/tenets and media domination thwarting the institutionalization and entrenchment efforts of a theoretico-practically autonomous African political communication and offers some key suggestions useful for prognostications. The second part of the chapter coherently synopsizes the various arguments cerebrally advanced by the contributors of the rest 13 chapters. The coinage of the word policom by the authors of the current chapter as it appears in the title above was borne out of the need to abridge the phrase “political communication” to allow for a shortened title, a purpose equally servable by a second coinage, afropolicom, that is “African political communication”
Osagioduwa Eweka, Sharon Adetutu Omotoso, Ayo Olukotun

2. Political Communication: An Evolving Field Yet to Berth in Africa

This chapter is an exploratory study on the state of political communication in Africa. Using historical method of analysis and the agenda-setting theory of the press, the study found out that in spite of the fact that the field has been in existence in Europe and America for decades, the field, based on findings from selected African Universities is yet to berth in Africa and consequently recommended necessary steps that must be taken in a bid to strengthen democracy in Africa. Since 1973 when the Political Communication Division was created within the International Communication Association (ICA) in the USA in a bid to give this field of study the specialty it deserves, the multiplier effect of that division is yet to fully berth in Africa. The thrust of this chapter, therefore, is anchored on the urgent need for the dismantling of all hurdles militating against the full emergence/existence of political communication as a discipline in Africa, while urging all the stakeholders: The University Commissions, Governments, Practitioners, teachers, or scholars as well as promoters of University education in Africa to set the ball rolling. The paper notes that political communication is an evolving field of study in Africa, just as the teaching of courses as well as development of graduate program that could popularize the field and project it as a career is nonexistent in several Universities in Africa. While attributing the problem to the fact that the field developed lately in the world [Lin (Handbook of Political Communication Research. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004), Kaid (Handbook of Political Communication Research. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004), Haynes (Handbook of Political Communication Research. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004)], the paper is of the view that the field ought to have been firmly established in the first generation of Universities in Africa, especially those countries which had close political affinities since the period of nationalist activities spearheaded by the National Congress of British West Africa (NCBWA),South West African Peoples Organization (SWAPO), and African National Congress (ANC). Using historical method of analysis and the agenda-setting theory of the press, the chapter recommends that for healthy growth of democracy and its sustainability, political communication should be mounted without further delay as a separate field of study at postgraduate level in Africa while it is taught as one of the courses at undergraduate level.
Tayo Popoola

3. Political Communication and African Diplomacy

This chapter interrogates the nexus between political communication and diplomacy in Africa. African political communication in the early years of independence focused on attempts at putting a stop to the then trending pattern of coup d’états but would later incline towards the struggle against racism and apartheid not at the expense of economic developments. In this chapter, consideration is also given to the influence of external powers on the content and current of political communication in Africa right from the Cold War era and how various African nation states such as Congo, Angola, and South Africa responded to those powerful nations concerned.
Alaba Cornelius Ogunsanwo

4. African Ethics and African Political Communication: Some Comments

This work is an exercise in the field of Applied Philosophy which seeks to critically examine ethics and political communication within the purview of Africa. The problem statement is twofold: the debate on the existence of an African Political Communication and the problem of incommensurability of intellectual presentation of ethical reasoning with Africa’s vast media presence. Recognizing the existing contradictions in the discussions of African Ethics and African Political Communication, this chapter employs descriptive, comparative, and reconstructive research methods to address the problematique. The chapter finds that it is the nature of African Political Communication that necessitates the attention and contribution of African ethics, and that both concepts are not totally new, but can be carefully situated for Africa’s advancement. The chapter concludes by challenging scholars to gear towards developing African Ethics as a body of knowledge, one that will present salient and basic features which could be applied to all spheres of the Continent for improved global relevance.
Sharon Adetutu Omotoso

5. Strategic Political Communication in Africa

Politics in Africa is often believed to be a foreign import because of the popular association with colonial influences and western democracies. Contemporary African communication encapsulates traditional methods, the modern mass media, and the new social media, all of which have important roles in the purposive uses of communication in politics. Using communication to achieve political objectives requires astute strategies that are best realized through purposive planning, careful implementation, and systematic evaluation which are the hallmarks of strategic communication. This chapter explains strategic communication against a backdrop of African communication to offer five fundamental concepts that constitute the essence of strategic political communication. These five key concepts which are election campaigns, governance and government policies, internal cohesion, public opinion, and crisis management are explained to show their relevance in contemporary Africa. The conclusion shows that although strategic communication has not become a distinct profession yet in Africa, the prospects are good for its wider adoption in both business and politics. More professionalization of strategic communication in Africa will lead to better uses of traditional and new forms of communication to achieve desirable preplanned outcomes that will contribute significantly to Africa’s political and economic development.
Charles Okigbo, Ben Onoja

6. Habermas in Africa? Re-Interrogating the “Public Sphere” and “Civil Society” in African Political Communication Research

The public sphere and its associated concept of civil society are frequently cited as representative models for media and political communication in Africa, with little critical reflection on their historical and cultural specificity. In this uncritical narrative of “Habermas in Africa”, the public sphere or civil society, and by implication the media, is presented in a binary opposition to the state in Africa: bad state, good civil society. Yet, Habermas himself makes clear throughout his book that he is speaking of the public sphere, not in isolation, but as part of wider and associated political, social, economic and historical developments occurring at a particular place and time, namely Western Europe, and therefore indicating the conceptual difficulties of extrapolating his ideas uncritically to non-Western societies like Africa. Indeed, the Norwegian media scholar, Helge Rønning (1994), raises the urgent question, that: “can you have a civil society or public sphere in an unmodern context?” Thus, building on seminal ideas by African sociologists such as Peter Ekeh’s (Comparative Studies in Society and History 17(1): 91–112, 1975) concept of the “two publics” in Africa and Mamdani’s (Citizen and subject: Contemporary Africa and the legacy of late Colonialism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press) nuanced differentiation of “citizen” and “subject” in Africa; this chapter interrogates both the “public” in the public sphere and the “civil” in civil society in order to make them more relevant to African historical and contemporary democratic realities.
Suleiman A. Suleiman

7. Hostile Political Communication: Triadic Examples from Africa

The dimension taken by this chapter is unique in that it surpasses the conventional prisms of verbal communication connecting elections, campaigns, songs, films, religion, culture, diplomacy, etc. adopted by the very few scholars who have directly tackled the discourse on political communication since its appearance in the academic field of Political Science in the later part of the twentieth century by additionally hinging on nonverbal, symbolic communication connecting violence in society. By historically exploring a triad of examples addressing violence as means of communication between government and the governed through the underpinning of communication theory, the chapter argues that communication between government and the governed in Africa is characterized by hostility deeply rooted in a disconnect occasioned by factors of ethnicity and leadership legitimacy, among others. The chapter concludes by recommending more viable and peaceful means of communication between the studied groups.
Osagioduwa Eweka

8. Media, Propaganda, and the Image Dilemma of African States

Africa’s global image has emerged as a matter of serious concern. Despite the popular belief that Africans are very hardworking, tolerant, peace loving, cultured, principled, God-fearing, and law-abiding, the mental images of the African region is in sharp contrast with its ideal values and cultures. Scholars and foreign policy analysts with reflective thinking are dissatisfied with the vagaries and vicissitudes of life as they presently are in African states. Broadly speaking, the insignia of dishonesty, corruption, and bad leadership emanating from the African states have created image dilemma for their citizens at home and in the diaspora. This study used historical, descriptive, and analytical research approach to explore the image perceptions of African states. Descriptive study describes, determine, or identify what it is, while the analytical study examines why it is that way or how it came to be. The study relied on secondary sources of data collection. Thus, books, journals, in-house publications, and internet materials served as sources of information. The findings revealed that the image of African states is anchored on internal and external factors. The chapter concludes that positive image can be constructed for the African region if African leaders improve the living conditions of the African people and a reorientation of Western media operators to perceive Africa positively. It calls for a reawakening of African philosophy of honesty and hard work based on good leadership and good governance.
Joshua Olatunde Fajimbola

9. Singing Truth to Power and the Disempowered: The Case of Lucky Mensah and His Song, “Nkratoɔ”

This chapter focuses on language use in Lucky Mensah’s song Nkratoɔ “Message,” which gained popularity in 2010, as an example of the emerging voice of the ostensibly voiceless in Africa’s nascent democracies and the freedom of speech engendered in such dynamic political and cultural milieus. Lucky Mensah transforms himself into a veritable modern ɔkyeame “spokesperson/intermediary”—a fixture of traditional Ghanaian governance structures and the intermediary between the indigenous ruler and the ruled (Yankah, Speaking for the chief: Ɔkyeame and the politics of Akan royal oratory. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1995). This analogy notes that the traditional system works in a different way than the modern manifestation exemplified by Mensah. Whereas the ɔkyeame “spokesperson/intermediary” would have set contexts, such as in the palace, whereby he would perform his traditional intermediary function, Mensah uses song and modern digital media. The major parallel being drawn is the key function of being the intermediary between the ruler and the ruled. Further, we will discuss the sociocultural and political meanings of the lyrics of Nkratoɔ as well as the overall significance of the song in the Ghanaian context. By primarily focusing on the use of proverbs, idioms, analogies, allusion, and insinuation as tools of political communication directed to the overarching power structure while simultaneously addressing the ordinary citizenry, the chapter emphasizes that popular music functions largely as a forum for commentating on the ills and frustrations of society, for uniting the citizenry, and even undermining the power and prestige of the ruling government by singing truth to power and the disempowered in Africa.
Obadele Bakari Kambon, Godwin Kwafo Adjei

10. Gender and Political Communication in Africa

Gender and political communication in Africa interrogates political communication in Africa with specific focus on Nigeria, and how well gender is mainstreamed in political communication and dialogues. This study explores the role gender stereotypes play in the political communication processes, content and effect, and the ensuing narrative. The findings of this research include the inadequacy of existing efforts such as quota systems and parity laws in increasing women’s political participation and bridging gender gap in African politics. This research advocates strategic gender mainstreaming in political communication. This includes integrating gender-friendly and gender-sensitive campaigns and initiatives into political communication in both content and purpose. This will enhance equitable media access, representation, and projection of the female political class and increased collaborative effort among women for increased political participation so as to change the existing narrative.
Tayo Agunbiade, Olajumoke Akiode

11. From “Governor-General” to “Kwankwasiya”: Democracy and Branded Political Communication in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic

The literature on branded political communication in Nigeria is scanty. Yet, the phenomenon is a growing reality in Nigerian politics. On the demand side, branded political communication refers to the art and act of politicians presenting themselves to the public as a special brand through the nicknames they give to themselves, the (often vain) political philosophy they profess, or the iconic ways they dress in the public. On the supply side, it includes the branded names given to some politicians by their followers. The Nigerian society is awash with such branded political communication models. This chapter takes a careful look at the brand names used by Nigerian governors since 1999. Those considered include “Governor-General” (Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa), “Chief Servant” (Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger), “Ogbeni” (Governor Aregbesola of Osun), and “Kwankwasiya” (Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano). Also considered is how some politicians adopt the iconic headdresses of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Mallam Aminu Kano for promoting personal political credibility.
Isaac Olawale Albert

12. Nigerian Newspapers’ Publication of Predicted and the Actual Outcome of 2015 Presidential Election in Nigeria: Lessons for Africa

Media irrespective of geography and ownership structure owe more than sanctimonious responsibility to objectivity in the performance of their roles. Predictions of electoral outcomes in Nigeria, whether empirical or otherwise derived, have an intrinsic commonality; notably, non-empirically conducted research by The Nation newspaper on the outcome of the elections have evinced higher level of internal and external validity than the empirically conducted predictions. The objective of this chapter consequently is to compare the predicted outcome of both The Nation newspaper and Kimberly & Associates’ and juxtapose them with the actual outcome of the 2015 presidential elections in Nigeria, thereby showcasing the lessons for other African states. The indicator for comparison between The Nation and Kimberly and Associates is the level of accuracy in the predicted and actual outcome in the 36 states and across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria. The chapter relied on published results of investigative researches conducted on both predicted and actual outcome of 2015 Presidential election result by both The Nation and Kimberly & Associates, using descriptive statistics. Findings revealed that the level of accuracy of The Nation newspaper’s non-empirically predicted outcome when compared with the actual result was higher than that of the Kimberly & Associates. The chapter, therefore, recommends that future attempts by media researchers in the course of predicting electoral outcomes must essentially adopt field investigation/field research in the form of observation, structured/in-depth interview, and key informant interview as used by The Nation in predicting Nigeria’s 2015 presidential election.
Michael Abiodun Oni

13. Reporting Africa: The Role of the Media in (Un)Shaping Democratic Agenda

This chapter uses a content analysis of headlines and the “African news” sections of national newspapers of five African states, one from each of the five subregions, and a focus group discussion with six Nigerian journalists to contextualize the role of the African media in (un)shaping perception about the continent. The chapter argues that the bleak picture of the continent that the African media peddles through its overwhelming emphasis on negative news and subjective reportage of the activities of African governments to its national and international publics serve largely to water the seeds of internal discord and Afro-pessimism. It can therefore be argued that the African mass media has continued to contribute to the pessimistic imaging of Africa through its one-sided reportage of the continent. This has far-reaching consequences for not only democratic sustenance but also Africa’s human and economic development. The chapter suggests that in view of the power that communication wields over matters of political and economic development and the media’s role in this equation, the African mass media needs to awaken to the obligation of partnering with government to set and nurture societal goals and aspirations, articulating a shared vision of progress for both the state and the continent.
Christopher Afoke Isike, Sharon Adetutu Omotoso

14. Globalization and Political Communication in Africa: Anglo-American Influences in Kenya and Nigeria

At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the professionalization of political publicity—with the media playing a central role—was considered unusual even in the European party systems. Over the years, the roles of communication experts have increased with the diffusion of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) in converged media spheres. As with most other cultures and practices, certain political communication trends that started and were popularized in Western democracies, especially the USA and the UK, have recently gained entry and popularity in Africa through homogenization and globalization processes. In this chapter, we pay particular attention to Kenya and Nigeria with a closer look at the phenomena of pre-election live-televised candidates’ debate and hiring of tested communication consultants from the West to advise on “messaging” (selling) policies and achievements of political candidates/leaders and their respective parties/regimes.
Okoth Fred Mudhai
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