Friday, April 15, 2005

Ethiopian Election Campaign Goes Digital

Two political parties contesting in Ethiopia's May 15 national elections have been making effective use of mobile phone short message service to campaign.

The ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front ( EPRDF) and the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) have been campaigning via mobile short message service (SMS), calling people to vote for them.

Some residents in Addis Ababa said that the short messages request receivers to forward it to up to 10 other mobile users.

The ERPDF message reads, "Hi! I am confident enough that you love Ethiopia. No doubt, the future is too bright. Vote for EPRDF. Please send this message for 10 supporters of the party."

On the other hand, CUD's campaign message reads, "The moment of truth has come, vote for Kinijit (Coalition). Freedom is on the way. Ride with Kinijit."

Another CUD message also reads, "Vote Kinijit. I know you love Ethiopia. Pass this message for at least five Ethiopians who love their country."

Some residents of the capital appreciated the use of modern technology for the purpose of election campaigning.

People's Daily Online

Professors and research students in Addis Ababa developed two possible ways of mapping a limited set of 210 Ethiopic characters onto a mobile keypad, using a combination of keystrokes for each letter. They hope their work will open the door to text messaging in their country.A boy stands outside a mobile-phone shop in Addis Ababa, where Ethiopia's infrastructure minister, Kasu Yilala, recently called the country one of the least connected in the world. The state monopoly mobile-phone service provider, Ethiopian Telecommunications, is working to address the physical infrastructure shortfall.

CHECK out Wired News on SMS messaging in Ethiopic characters.

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