By Leonard Nshimiyimana
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame remains one of two leading Sub-Saharan Africa’s tweep Presidents with over 1.5 million followers.
Twitter turned out to be the most powerful tool for leaders to convey messages to their citizens and the world at large. The social media platform, mostly used by elite people, also provides both a platform for unconditional communication, as citizens can meet their leaders and ask questions directly.
According to Twiplomacy, Burson-Marsteller’s twitter study, Kagame, a tech addict described by International Telecommunications Union as the ‘Digital President’, is Africa’s most conversational president- only coming behind Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta 1.6 million followers.
Kenyatta tops the list in Sub-Saharan Africa for mainly two reasons; his country having a population of 47.5 million people according to 2016 population estimation which is currently four folds Rwanda’s 12 million population.
Second, Kenyans are most active on twitter. According to Portlands Commission Report, Kenya came 4th in Africa in ranking of countries whose citizens tweeted most in 2015 with 76 million tweets.
President Kagame joined Twitter in May 2009, nearly three years after the social media platform was established in 2006.
Since then, President Kagame has tweeted 2,643 times and is followed by 123 tweeps ranging from politicians, evangelists, entrepreneurs, chief executive officers of big companies as well as his children Ange and Ivan Kagame.
Kagame’s tweets range from both national and international issues as well as personal and entertaining.
It’s normal for him to tweet wishing happy birthdays and congratulate or criticize teams like Arsenal and Cleveland Cavaliers.
For Kagame to be the most followed leader on the continent, it didn’t come by chance. President Kagame is connected with his international political influence as Rwanda remains a shining example in various areas of socio-economic transformation.
For instance, Rwanda was ranked the safest place in Africa and fifth globally. As from 2005, the report on doing business by the World Bank rated Rwanda as the best place for starting and maintaining a business globally.
Also, the 2015 corruption perception index by Transparency International ranked Rwanda as the fourth least corrupt country in Africa and 44th globally.
Rwanda has invested heavily into Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
According to 2013 Net Index’s report, Rwanda was ranked the first country in Africa dethroning Madagascar which had held this place for a long time before.
President Kagame has been appointed to chair Global Broadband Commission tasked to advocate the availability of services of ICT and encourage governments and private sector to pull together resources to roll out ICT infrastructures to citizens.
On a regular basis, President Kagame is invited by international organizations, respected worldwide universities and research centers among others to deliver lectures on several issues.
While President Kagame and Uhuru Kenyatta comfortably lead as Sub-Saharan Africa’s most tweep Presidents, their regional counterparts are still struggling to take ground in digital revolution platform.
For instance, Uganda’s Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has 290, 424 followers widely followed by Tanzania’s John Pombe Magufuli with 140 tweets and 173,413 followers.
Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza and DRC’s Joseph Kabila trail behind with 32,111 and 14,023 followers respectively.