This is a blog about me and the things that make me laugh, smile, hurt or cry!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The President's Website

Recently, the President of Zambia, Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda set up his own website, separate from the State House website.

At first glance, it appears simple and to the point, with a prominent notice that this website is not paid for by the Zambian tax payer, but by the President's supporters. I was aghast when I went through the site. I feel that as the leader of this nation, they could have done a lot better for him than this. The most obvious thing is that it appears to be what one would set up in order to tick off that, "I have a website".

1. My first gripe is that they did not use a .zm name, when this is what identifies us to the whole world as a Zambian website. If it really was a personal website, why did they not go with They went with, which could just as well be a website dedicated to the late ng'wazi Kamuzu Banda, first president of Malawi. They should have identified the website with Rupiah Banda, if it is indeed developed by his supporters. As usual, we are thinking of today and not tomorrow. or .com would have been a website to outlive his presidential term of office.

2. The intro is too long and too texty. It is difficult to know what it is all about.

3. News. This is the worst page. With our poor internet connectivity in Zambia, to require each news item to be downloaded in pdf is restrictive. So many people actually access internet by phone, and you must have a smart phone to read and download attachments. I should immediately get a sense of what news there is about the President with snippets (not headlines only), on the site.

Secondly, to effectively communicate with his people, the website should also generate its own stories. They (he) should set the agenda and not allow it to be set for them. In this respect, this news is passive.

4. The pictures are a mish mash and require flash (again, not ideal for our average local internet cafes). Also, it is not a proper gallery with captions. What are the pictures there for, what are they about? They don't tell a story or give us any more information about the president.

5. The videos, the same. They are adverts as opposed to telling us about what the President is actually doing.

6. Even as a vanity project, it fails. As such, i don't see the need for an alternative site from

7. Feedback. The website is clearly about Dickson Jere and not about the President. The perception should be that we are communicating with the President and not with his press aide. Of course, there is always a protocol, but we don't need to be distanced from the President, right when we want to talk to him.

8. Learn from others. It may be cliche, but is a good place to start. It's not my favourite site, so check back for an update once I have completed my research on great websites by political figures. Why not a facebook page too. A simple search will reveal just how many Zambians (of all shapes and sizes) access facebook on a daily basis.

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