First of all, let me commend Yvonne Nelson for starting the hashtag #DumsorMustStop on social media. Every celebrity who has used it so far has advanced the cause. It took them really long to realize this was needed but at least it’s here—and it has been done.
Now, let’s dig into social media campaigns and why they are so important but useless and pretty ineffective, especially when you are dealing with governments like that of Ghana, led by a dead goat.
All over the world, so many campaigns have started on social media with specific hashtags or have been brought to social media to create further awareness and pull in the crowd. Such hashtags are particularly great at getting the attention of the big media brands—and we’ve already seen the BBC World Service having picked up on Yvonne Nelson’s #DumsorMustStop.
However, the truth remains that, running a hashtag from the comfort of your bedroom or watching a generator powered TV while tweeting is easy and everyone can do that—some even tweet while on the toilet. It’s pretty cheap and cheap methods achieve nothing substantial.
If indeed the so many celebrities who have jumped on the bandwagon are serious about making sure that Dumsor stops within the shortest possible time, the pressure to be mounted on the government must be proportionate to the damage this power crisis is causing. Social media campaigns alone do not have the needed force for this. It’s good for pulling in the crowd but even that, considering the low number of Ghanaians connected to the internet, this tool wouldn’t be at its best in pulling people.
The infamous ‘Arab Spring’ wouldn’t have achieved anything if they tweeted and tweeted with hashtags alone—they took real actions and mounted unending pressure until they achieved what they wanted. They got their hands really dirty…
So this is what our celebrities must do, led by Yvonne Nelson or any of them who have become champions of the hashtag #DumsorMustStop; take up some tents and mount a camp somewhere near the Flagstaff House for as long as Dumsor exists—and use social media to rally more people to come and set up many tents. Not just that, turn to daily protests—and still use social media to pull in people to join the protests all over the country.
For a protest to be compelling and heavy, those protesting must inconvenience themselves—sitting in an air condition room powered by solar panels or generators and tweeting thousand times is not the definition of being uncomfortable in relation to a national issue like Dumsor.
The President is a dead goat and you don’t tweet to a dead goat; you rather beat it with sticks and pour gallons of water on it—even if you want to shout, you need to have amplified speakers with thousands or millions of people shouting at the same time. That is the only way a dead goat can hear your call…
Look, Baltimore was not just on social media; people took to the streets—they got the police busy and that attracted the worldwide media, from Aljazeera to ‘Zenga TV’. It was days of continuous inconvenience and discomfort for the protesters. That is the only way you can get those at the other side uncomfortable to get up their ‘chilling’ butts. Even if they don’t act, that is the way you can make the Mahama- led NDC government truly unpopular—so that they don’t win the next elections.
The social media insults and counter-insults won’t end Dumsor, that is not enough of a pressure or any different from the many years of radio and TV talks—the value is the same. The one day protests have also proved ineffective so it’s time to go beyond that.
But the question is; are these celebrities really concern about Dumsor to the extent that they will risk their lives or make themselves uncomfortable for it to end? Even if Ghandi was here today, he wouldn’t sit on social media alone and run his mouth. The Civil Rights Movements didn’t just rely on the media of the time, real hard and hurting work was done to achieve the things we celebrate and enjoy today.
A slow African government does not all of a sudden become swift because a bunch of relatively unemployed celebrities licking ice creams with power to charge their phones have began tweeting. Some even post photos of themselves at the beach or eating a fine dinner, and shortly, they post #DumsorMustStop. The hashtag has created the awareness, I don’t even think we needed that awareness because we all know about Dumsor—now is the time to mount that agonizing pressure on those in charge by making ourselves dirty.
Are our celebrities going to stop painting their nails, leave their make-up at home and leave their weaves unattended to and fight a national cause? I doubt they would and the government knows this too so it won’t be moved.
To Yvonne Nelson, Lydia Forson, Ama K. Abebrese, Confidence Haugen, Prince David Osei, Becca, Sarkodie and those forward runners of the #DumsorMustStop social media campaign, this is the time to get your hands dirty and show us you really care. Else, this will end as one of the many cheap social media campaigns with no results….
I will be here to report on how it ends!