Arun Sudhaman

Working the angles around media, comms and marketing.

Ashraf Ghani: the Afghani Obama?

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GhaniEvery story that involves politics and social media must now come with a mandatory reference to Barack Obama. Despite the fact that, by and large, it was the strictly old school technique of email – rather than any fancy social networking – that helped deliver success in the US presidential campaign.

Nevertheless, the latest contender for the crown is Afghani presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani, who has enlisted a UK social media agency called Red Narrative, as detailed by this story in PRWeek. It seems like an odd move, if only because only around five per cent of the country has an internet connection.

Another twist in the tale comes from the involvement of the ‘ragin cajun’, political consultant James Carville. Foreign Policy asks all the right questions about this appointment here. Carville is a legend, but campaigning in Afghanistan is a world away from the political milieu he thrives in.

Fundraising from overseas Afghanis – there are 500,000 worldwide – is a good idea, and a strong digital campaign can make a huge difference in this regard. These are people who are still engaged with their country’s political landscape, so the prospects must be good. The English-language site is here.

The campaign also has two local language sites: here and here. The thinking is that even a small number of local Afghanis could spread the message out to their local communities. This is a little bit more ambitious. I can’t help but feel that, by rolling out this big digital push, and calling in Carville, Ghani is seeking to promote his prospects to a Western audience. Why? Your guess is as good as mine, particularly as he already possesses two decades worth of Washington experience.

Either way, I doubt that Hamid Karzai, still the dominant frontrunner, is quaking in his boots.

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Written by Arun Sudhaman

July 10, 2009 at 3:07 pm

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  1. […] Ashraf Ghani: the Afghani Obama? […]


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