Thursday, February 5, 2015

Third Edition -- #Ecowas@40Podcast: #StopBokoHaram; #Mugabe; #AUSummit

Welcome to another edition of the Ecowas@40Podcast, where we normally give you insights into all that is ECOWAS. This week, however, ECOWAS has been trounced by the trending #AUSummit24, which is not surprising as the January edition of the AU Summit concluded in Addis on 31 January, with the election of a new Chair in President Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

The ECOWAS@40Podcast is divided into four parts. We start off with an overview of what stories are trending under ECOWAS. We then move on to what ECOWAS and/or AU accounts are tweeting. Third, we give listeners an ECOWAS Fact; and, finally, “What’s my ECOWAS Beef?” where I offer candid views on a trending topic.

First, given the centrality of the #AUSummit24 that commenced the week of 26 January, we were always going to get an eclipsing of ECOWAS, primarily because the organisation was going to be represented in Addis anyway to discuss how to #StopBokoHaram.

So, as one might expect, none of the ECOWAS accounts tweeted anything at all during this auspicious time when the #AUSummit was trending. Instead, a number of official AU twitter accounts were tweeting. This included the official @_AfricanUnion; @AU_PSD; @DlaminiZuma; @Erastus_Mwencha; and AUC_DPA, which all gave different renditions of aspects of the AU Summit. What was perhaps most interesting about the AU Summit were the tweets by non-AU accounts. Let’s take a look at some of them.

1.      World Economic Forum – 35 RT: “How empowering women can help end poverty in Africa”
2. – 14RT “African Union’s Plan to Fight Boko Haram”
3.      Nation FM Kenya – 10RT “Broke AU seeks to wean itself from handouts”

Still on AU-related matters, Mugabe was clearly trending:
@UlrichjVV – 60RTs with tweet “apologies on behalf of all egalitarian men! Mugabe at AU Summit [says] “it’s impossible that women can be at par with men”
2.      @DlaminiZuma – 37RTs with tweet: “welcomed H.E. Robert #Mugabe to the @_AfricanUnion Commission  following his election at the #24thAUSummit”
3.      On a lighter note, one Evita Bezuidenhout (@TannieEvita) tweets: “my refugee-Zimbabwean housekeeperis thrilled Robert Mugabe is now also Chairman of the #AfricanUnion. She says it will probably kill him.”
Closely trailing behind #AUSummit24 is #BokoHaram:
1.      One ian bremmer(@ianbremmer) with no less than 818RTs tweets “Killed by Boko Haram in Nigeria 2009:700; 2010:75; 2011:600; 2012:1650; 2013:3000; 2014:7700; last month:3000+”
2.      Viven Hoch tweets, with 21RTs “les islamistes de Boko Haram auraient assassin 90% des habitants de la region de Baga

1.      Channels Television, with 12RTs tweets : “ECOWAS Parliament gathers support for Nigeria’s elections”
2.      NTA News tweets, with 14RTs, “INEC Meets ECOWAS Election Observation Mission”


Did you know that ECOBANK is considered an agency of ECOWAS? It has nothing to do with the fact that it is listed on the ECOWAS website, but everything to do with the fact that one of the biggest shareholders from its inception in 1985 in Lome, Togo, was what was known then as the ECOWAS Fund for Cooperation, Compensation and Development (ECOWAS Fund), or what we now know as the Ecowas Bank of Investment and Development – also located in Togo.

4.      What’s my ECOWAS Beef?
Given the very important role of ECOWAS in combating Boko Haram, one would have thought the Ouedraogo Commission would have gotten more serious on SM. None of the ECOWAS accounts tweeted or even dared to re-tweet all that was happening under the #AUSummit. None at all! Yet the AU accounts – and there are a growing number, including the Vice; Chair herself; AU PSD; Dept Political Affairs, and now AU Foundation, etc – were regularly and constantly tweeting and re-tweeting every hour throughout the five days.


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