Author: Wisdom Tettey

Abstract

This paper assesses the nature of political communication and democratic participation in Africa to determine whether these technologies are changing the face of politics on the continent. It analyzes who has access to the forums; topics that are discussed; what influence these digital forums have on political decision making; and the extent to which they replicate or differ from the affective and emotive manifestations of political interaction in the "real" world. It concludes that a lot more people are getting a lot more information, but that this does not translate into a significant expansion in the numbers and categories of those who engage in, and hence influence, the direction of politics on the continent.

In: Journal of Asian and African Studies
Author: Wisdom Tettey

Abstract

This paper evaluates a local Regional Network (LRNet) in one of Ghana's administrative regions; the purpose of the network is to enhance the capacity of the local government to perform its functions, promote transparency, and serve as a mechanism for civic engagement in the political process. I adopt Zhu's WSR approach as a conceptual model for this analysis, which examines, within a concrete setting, the nature, challenges, and outcomes that emanate from the intersection of the dual paradigm shifts in information technology and the reinvention of government. The case study concludes that there is a significant expectation-perception gap between the project's intent and its outcomes. The findings strongly support the view that computers by themselves cannot achieve organizational goals if the necessary enabling environment does not support them. It is clear from this study that ICTs do not function in a socio-cultural, political, and economic vacuum. Their efficacy is contingent on the various forces and realities that coalesce to shape the environment into which they are introduced. While the technologies may be designed in a way that allows them to perform certain functions, it is the decisions, orientations, and attitudes of human beings, as well as the resource capabilities of the organizations, which ultimately determine the success of IT undertakings. Therefore, organizations employing the ICTs must appreciate the limitations of an instrumental perspective that focuses only on the "digital messiah" as the panacea for organizational problems and the sole catalyst for government reinvention.

In: Perspectives on Global Development and Technology
This volume provides a comprehensive and integrated analysis of Ghanaian politics, economy and society, outlining tensions, dilemmas and prospects that the country has to contend with. The chapters critically examine the performance and prospects of democratic institutions and processes; responses to, and impact of, economic policies and programs; and how culture intersects with the preceding developments to shape socio-economic and political institutions and practices. The collection is divided into four thematic sections:
Politics, the State and Democratic Consolidation
Economic Crisis and Neo-Liberal Reforms: Responses and Implications Indigenous Institutions and the Shaping of Development
Culture, Indigenous Knowledge and Development
It combines rich, recent, empirical material with sophisticated theoretical analyses, and brings unique interdisciplinary perspectives to bear on the issues examined.