Penplusbytes , a non-profit organisation promoting effective governance using technology in Africa, has released  its third edition of the Governance Social Media Index  (GSMI) report, assessing which political parties and leaders have the most presence on social media and the level of their engagement as of December 4, 2016.
The organisation released its first edition  on June 30, which assessed the presence of political party leaders, political parties and election management bodies on Twitter and Facebook, while its September 30 second edition  measured how the political parties and their candidates are using social media tools for their benefits ahead of the 2016 elections.
Ghanaians are voting today , December 7, for presidential and parliamentary elections. The main contest in the presidential race is between incumbent President John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and opposition candidate Nana Akufo-Ado of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The third edition  of the index shows that Akufo-Ado, the leader of the New Patriotic Party, the largest opposition party in the country, leads the pack of seven presidential candidates on Facebook with 1,253,452 likes, which is an increase of over 200,000 more likes from the last report . President Mahama comes in second with 1,073,088 likes on Facebook, which is an increase of over 60,000 likes from the last report .
This represents a change from the second edition , when President Mahama came out on top of everyone with 1,007,595 likes. Akufo-Addo gained more likes (272,395) as compared to that of President Mahama (65,493) in the last two months.
However, President Mahama leads on Twitter with 303,924 followers, followed by Akufo-Addo with 119,725 followers. The report notes that even though President Mahama comes in first in followers, Akufo-Addo has engaged more with his followers with 5,372 tweets.
The executive director of Penplusbytes, Kwami Ahiabenu II, explaiend on their website :
the report has shown that social media has become a normal and central form of communication for all segments of the population, particularly, political parties and their leaders who increasingly rely on this new media for constant engagement with their constituents because it provides direct, cheap platform, and a two-way information dissemination in real time about their programs ahead the 2016 Ghana elections.
Early this year, Penblusbytes released its first Social Media Index (SMI)  report on Ghana’s print, radio and television media houses.
Download the full Governance Social Media Index here .