Commentary Logo
Japan Island disputes in SE Asia    World War III Alarm Anti-Islam video and anti-US sentiment    Skull Say no to brainwashing

       peace and anti-war Israel Iran strike imminent    sanctions as a result of nuclear tests Sanctions on Iran and workarounds    black lightning bolt India's massive blackout

Snapshots of news
Gearheads and mastheads
Home  •  About this site  •  How did we once fight corruption in colonial Hong Kong?
 •  Historical US administrative thoughts  •  USA versus colonial Hong Kong
 •  Anti-corruption review of Nigeria  •  Procurement monitoring in Nigeria
 •  Syndicated news  •  Usman's blog  •  Anti-graft news  •  Socialist news

 Monday, August 19 2019 4:41pm Hongkong Time

SKIP TO     Page 1 | Page 2

In Ghana

With a two-round (run-off) electoral system similar to Zimbabwe, Ghana held its presidential elections in December 2008 while also welcoming the emergence of new media as a new channel for political propaganda for the first time. Interestingly, just as Zimbabwe, none of the contestants received a majority vote in the first round and so a run-off election was required. John Atta Mills, who ran for president once in 2004 [14] but was unsuccessful, won in the second round by a very narrow margin of 0.46%, 50.23% to 49.77% – a close fight indeed.

And so social media was not a magic wand and there was no electoral landslide. During the 2008 Ghana presidential election, campaigners from both sides spent hours on new media [15] to rally for and wooed votes via Twitter (e.g. see hashtag #GhanaDecides [16]), YouTube [17], blogs and websites (see Through engaging politically, discussing rigorously and sharing openly online about the election, Ghanaians successfully showed to the world how they can decide and change, using the power of the new media, in a peaceful, high turnout [18] direct election that many praised [19].

My Ghana Decides Tag (#GHDTag)

Also: Ghana Decides Tag Election 2012: Ghana Decides is an initiative in Ghana creating awareness about Ghana's 2012 elections

The possible difference

So, what was the difference between Zimbabwe and Ghana? While Zimbabwe's population density is only about one-third of Ghana [20], Internet penetration rates [21] are not very different for the two countries, standing at 11.5% (with Facebook at 7.2%) and 15.6% (5.1%), respectively. These figures, though may still be far from the world's total average (see Figure 2), are already high enough for them to be placed among the top African "Facebook countries" (see Figure 3), following Tunisia (28.9%), Morocco (14.2%), Egypt (14.1%), Algeria (10.3%) and South Africa (10.2%). And given all that has happened as a result of the move of the people during the Arab Spring sparked by the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi [22] in Tunisia back in 2010 and eventually across many other African and Middle East nations, including Algeria, Egypt, Kenya, Sudan etc. (all having considerable Internet or Facebook penetration; see Figure 2 and Figure 3), one can hardly not ask, just as what the former Zimbabwe finance minister Herbert Murerwa had questioned (see note 11), if there is any relationship between the quick spread of social media, the African people (eventually dare) standing up against their long-time leaders, and the breaking out of huge agitation campaigns against the governments? If there is such a relationship, would an Africa-wide social media platform through which Africans among neighbouring countries can exchange their (sociopolitical) views and one that also help reveal public opinion trends by fostering the systematic study of, say, one common language (i.e. English) and numbers (in terms of statistics) be useful in promoting a more democratic, stable, and peaceful continent of Africa?

World Internet penetration rates by geographical region, 2012 Q2
Figure 2. World Internet penetration rates by geographical region, 2012 Q2.

Top 10 countries with highest Internet population in Africa, 2012 Q2
Figure 3. Top 10 countries with highest Internet population in Africa, 2012 Q2.

The project

Many people understand the fact that collective wisdom (e.g. via social media) can be tremendously powerful but few realize the even more powerful magic of words and simple numbers in our everyday language. The frequency of appearence, style of usage, and the associated meaning of words we use daily will not only allow us to effectively communicate with people but also carry a great deal of various other hidden information that could reflect anything from the rationale behind our acts, our thoughts to even possible future actions. Similarly, numbers act like the tiny little pieces of mirrors surrounding the everyday chaotic chunk of happenings and so, what you can't see directly could possibly be revealed through the reflections of the number (as statistics).

FREE Africa project logo
Figure 4. The FREE Africa project, to be launched at

A gentle call upon the African people (especially for the younger generations) to come together (onto such a new and free social platform) to collaborate their wisdom and understand the messages hidden in the words we use and the numbers we find everyday will not only allow us all to realize the true beauty of the pure and proud African but also see to (and eventually lead) their own futures and as well bring upon them a much broader view of the rest of the English-speaking world as the great continent of Africa develops – beliefs originating from the mind and the soul upon which our project is based.

The project is scheduled to launch in 2014. Please stay tuned.


Raymond Cheng, PhD DPA FRSA, is the founder and chief editor of He is an adjunct professor in international business and in marketing, an independent policy analyst as well as a language and cultural briefing consultant.

Email Raymond at raymond {dot} cheng {at} kellogg {dot} oxon {dot} org

SKIP TO     Page 1 | Page 2

Note 14: Unlike Zimbabwe, Ghana holds its presidential election every four years, not six as in Zimbabwe.

Note 15: See the Ghana Business News article on the review of the 2008 election as the 2012 election approaches, "Ghana elections: The last bet on social media for votes as campaign ends", dated December 6,0 2012, accessible online at

Note 16: See

Note 17: See "Ghana Decides Tag (GhD Tag)" on YouTube at

Note 18: The Ghanaian 2008 election turnout was 69.5% in the first round and 72.9% in the second round.

Note 19: See the Danquah Institute article describing how the 200 election became "an example of how Ghana made democracy better by letting the people decide" in "An African election: Movie on Ghana's 2008 elections out", dated November 23, 2011, accessible online at

Note 20: According to public data (2012 figures) released byWorld Bank, Zimbabwe has a country area of 390,784 square kilometers and a population of 12,619,600 whereas Ghana's a country area is only about twothirds the size of Zimbabwe, at 238,538 square kilometers, but with a much larger population of 25,292,392.

Note 21: Facebook penetration rates are shown within brackets.

Note 22: See the New York Times article by Kareem Fahim, "Slap to a man's pride set off tumult in Tunisia", dated January 21, 2011.

Commentary and reflection pages by Raymond Cheng, PhD DPA FRSA

  Main • Commentary   Special Foci • Syndicated News | Corruption | Socialism | GuanXi

  Health Related • Traditional Chinese Medicine   Others • OXLL

© 1997-2018 The Commentary by Office of Dr Raymond Cheng. All rights reserved. Copyright of selected news articles, the headlines and logos belongs to the respective entities. Read disclaimer

Digital platform powered by Wyith Limited, Wyith Institute. Wyith Limited and Wyith Institute are associated businesses operated by the Office of Dr Raymond Cheng • Dr Raymond Cheng & Partners Ltd and The Commentary Ltd.

Home  •  About this site  •  How did we once fight corruption in colonial Hong Kong?
 •  Historical US administrative thoughts  •  USA versus colonial Hong Kong
 •  Anti-corruption review of Nigeria  •  Procurement monitoring in Nigeria
 •  Syndicated news  •  Usman's blog  •  Anti-graft news  •  Socialist news

Contact the editor at raymond {dot} cheng {at} kellogg {dot} oxon {dot} org

The RendezvousBuildersCommentatorsContributorsReadersResearchers
Reflection Pages • Miscellaneous Stuff
The difference between instant evaluation and improving recognition – November 20
Freddy Krueger revisited: Politically correct education? – October 23
From the evaluator's perspective: Justified conclusions and decisions – October 8
Online and distance learning degrees – evaluator's perspective – September 25
The moment fake degrees turned recognized and appraised – September 9

Photo credits for top title bar, from left to right: Iza H (Work), Lukasz Gumowski (Blue balls), Marcin Bania (Smiling and naked), Lautaro Gonda (Milan station), Jan Abt (Girl taking a picture), Daniel Tang (Hot switch), Barbara Henry (Moriah reading), Ralf Herrmann (Checkmate II), Marko Roeper (Led #4), Ian Russell (Girl in downtown LA).
Note: Animated GIF graphics and clipart obtained from,,, and Sketches, cartoons and other handdrawings courtesy of Alice-the-Artist.

Special Alert! This is *NOT* the American Jewish Committee's Commentary Magazine! Special notice! This is not the American Jewish Committee's Commentary Magazine nor are we in any way affiliated with them. To visit AJC's magazine, please go to instead, thank you for your attention.
Memo with pin Technical memos for members
Receiving using Gmail | Sending using Gmail
0x800ccc0e | 0x800ccc19 | 0x800ccc79

This site is best viewed with Microsoft® Internet Explorer 6.0 or above, minimum 1024x768 16M color-depth resolution. The Commentary Group and its personnel do not endorse external sites and are not responsible for the content of these websites. All external sites will open in a new browser window.

COUNT ON THE STATISTICS  100% Towels (c) Daniel Chittka
Photo © Daniel Chittka

This new section contains some interesting statistics in bribe and corruption, please check back for more as we pile up our numbers!

It's statistics time!  Using n-gram: kickback, graft, bribe and corruption - Comparison of their historical occurrences from 1810 to 2009 A.D.

  The word guanxi (collocation) and meanings of bribe: Deeply rooted, disgusting, sad endings

Looking for a good book (c) Doug Logan
Photo © Doug Logan
tagged by area of interestBY AREA OF INTEREST
Pragmatics: Politeness trends from the historical perspective of global trade
Computer mediated communications: Social network – Came riding the waves of amazing coincidences
Language acquisition:
A critique on "A corpus driven study of the potential for vocabulary learning through watching movies"

Grammatical analysis: "When a linguist stumbled upon a Buttonwood"
Lexicon and the corpus: "John Sinclair's lexical items – an introduction"
tagged by regionBY REGION • Anything AsiaUS Presence in Asia
ChinaTaiwanHong Kong and MacauJapanKoreaSingaporeMalaysiaPhilippinesPakistanIndiaAfghanistanVietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and MyanmarTimor-Leste and IndonesiaMongoliaNew Zealand and Australia
tagged by topicsBY TOPIC • BiofuelRhino and elephant poachingAmerican movies hit China marketChina Internet censorshipChina's outward FDI opportunitiesGlobal rice yield
Island disputes in Southeast Asia | Senkakus-Diaoyu and historical findings | Dokdo-Takeshima | Spratly, Paracel, Scarborough | Kurils

For those you who don't have time to read all our news excerpts about the Asian island disputes (links above), you may find the following video, "The economic impact of a war between Japan and China", very enlightening.

© Minute MBA: More from

Free Pussy Riot!
Free Pussy Riot!

Photo © Igor Mukhin, retrieved from Wikipedia

"This trial is another example of the Kremlin's attempts to discourage and delegitimize dissent. It is likely to backfire." John Dalhuisen, Director of Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia Programme

 More from Amnesty InternationalFree Pussy Riot

How it started – Pussy Riot Prayers, February 2012

08/17 Pussy Riot imprisoned on hooliganism charges
08/17 The only professionals in sight
08/19 Pussy Riot protesters arrested in Marseille
08/20 NZ PM – Sentence 'disproportionate'
08/20 Pussy Riot fear their kids being put in care
08/22 German supporters face criminal charges
08/22 Pussy Riot – it's carefully calibrated
08/23 Russian church-state corruption unveiled
08/23 Putin's secret weapon: The Orthodox faithful
08/24 Putin-nominated watchdog slams convictions
08/31 'Pussy Riot ritual killing', man detained
09/03 Orthodox deacon speaks over verdict
09/06 Putin denies part in 'Pussy Riot case'
09/10 Pussy Riot benefit concert draws 1,000
09/10 Gorbachev says verdict "disproportionate"
09/19 Punk group to transfer to remote penal colony
09/21 Aung San calls on Moscow to release RP
10/01 Sentence appeal delayed until Oct 10
10/10 Katya freed, 2 years for Nadya and Masha
10/16 Masha and Nadya sent to remote labor prison

BBC • Pussy Riot women begin life in prison

11/16 Merkel challanges Putin on imprisonment
11/22 Maria Alekhina transferred to solitary cell
11/28 Tolokonnikova's appeal case goes to court
12/24 Extremist videos appeal adjourned

01/15 Masha's sentence deferment denied
02/01 PR civil claim granted right to appeal
02/07 Pussy Riot files complaint with ECHR
03/06 Ombudsman asks court to overturn verdict
03/08 Protesters detained in Moscow
04/13 PR gets reprimand: parole problematic
04/21 PR defense seeks abolition of conviction
07/26 Parole denied, PR remains defiant

The Knife supporting PR at Pukkelpop

08/17 Against verdict on PR – Day of Solidarity
08/23 PR seeks mitigation of remaining sentence
GLUCK ON SOCIALISM AND CHINA Asia (c) Robert Churchill
Photo © Robert Churchill

Professor Sidney Gluck (c) Sandi BachomI am honored to have obtained Professor Sidney Gluck's (right) permission to allow me to repost here some of his work and interview related to China and socialism. Professor Gluck is professor emertius at the New School University in New York. A classical Marxist, Gluck has been studying China for 60 years in history and modern development. He has lectured all over the U.S. and still welcomes engagement at the age of 94 – photo © Sandi Bachom


Usman Khurshid on Mike McCune's HD Monitor with Paths logo with Maartje van Caspel's Public Space
I am proud to announce that the website is now carrying the technology updates from Usman Khurshid's Usman is a network consultant and works in a mixed environment of Windows and Linux platforms. He likes to study about the latest advancements in computer technology and shares his views on his blog.

Click here to read Usman's tech blog
Subscribe to RSS feed
Photo © Usman Khurshid, Mike McCune, Maartje van Caspel
COMING 2019 – COMPUTING CORPUS Active Network Hub (c) Phil Sigin-Lavdanski
Photo © Phil Sigin-Lavdanski

Oh, please do not get me wrong. This new section is not about computers, electronics or any engineering stuff, but rather I am currently constructing a new corpus based on Spectrum, the monthly publication from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers USA, from July 2007 to date. Having been a member for over 20 years since 1992, I am always fascinated by some of the terms scientists use when they talk about or envision their new inventions or methodologies. How many of them eventually come into practice? Could there be some insights we could possibly derive, from the linguistics perspective?


This website is published and designed by Raymond Cheng, PhD DPA and reflects only his personal views and opinions in his individual capacity. It does not represent the views and opinions of his firm, employer(s), students, etc., and is not in any way sponsored or endorsed by any other thrid parties. Click here to read my full disclaimer

Share on Twitter  Add to Facebook  Share on LinkedIn  +1 on Google