PRESIDENTIAL “TWIPLOMACY”

According to a report in the Citizen on a study carried out by ‘Twiplomacy’ late last year, President Kikwete @jmkikwete is an active tweeter with an average of 2.52 tweets a day, and 26,762 followers. However, in common with most of his peers in other countries, he is not yet taking full advantage of social media to develop connections with fellow leaders. At the time of the report he followed only two people – Deputy Minister for Communication, Science and Technology January Makamba and a citizen-centred initiative called ‘Twaweza’.

The President is said to love to engage his followers, to create healthy debates and wish them good luck. Three quarters of his tweets are replies to his fellows. He also tweets, in English and Swahili, words of wisdom on current events and links to articles or websites relevant to Tanzania. According to the report, European Union President Herman van Rompuy was the best connected world leader although he only followed 11 fellow leaders. President Obama and the White House have established mutual Twitter rela­tions with only three other world leaders: Norwegian Jens Stoltenberg, David Cameron and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The governments of almost two-thirds of 193 UN member countries have a presence on Twitter: 45% of the 264 accounts analysed are personal accounts of heads of state and government, but just 30 world leaders tweet themselves and very few on a regular basis.

As of April 2013, the President’s followers had increased to 61,957, and he is now following eleven people, one of whom is the Tanzania High Commissioner to the UK, Peter Kallaghe.

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