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EDITORIAL: Local leaders should embrace social media for better communication

Social media is by no means the most powerful communication tool with the farthest reach. President Barack Obama is possibly the most famous politician who earlier on understood its power.

During his campaigns, he used it successfully to reach a large section of young voters who tipped the election scales in his favour. From then onwards, everyone had to leave a digital footprint on social media.


A new breed of influencers has taken over simply because through their followers, they act like live, talking and mobile billboards which many are exploiting financially.


While in Rwanda some leaders are present on social media, those to whom it could serve best are conspicuously absent; local leaders such as mayors.


A few months ago there was a nationwide campaign to connect the rural population with smartphones. With most services being available online, it was a smart move and many people and organisations contributed generously towards the campaigns. Unfortunately, very few mayors use the platform to reach the people they lead yet at their fingertips are tools that leaders of yesteryears would have died for.

It makes sense for a village leader to be connected to his or her people via social media for easy communication. Some are using it via WhatsApp groups and it has done away with bureaucracy. However, the uptake by many grassroots leaders is still very slow, and even those who are present on social media are only connected to their work colleagues or people in their social class.

These are things that need to change to bring leaders closer to those they lead.

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