Ghanaian actors and politician John Dumelo is going through it.
The day is Monday, December 7, 2020. Ghana had gone to the polls to select who they wanted as the next president and elected the next set of parliamentarians. John Dumelo moved up and down at the pharmacy shop at Okponglo, a few meters away from the University of Ghana.
His body fully committed in the only language it could understand at the time; restless. His movement in contrast to what had been months ago. His facial expression, priceless with all seriousness.
John had become a fan favourite in his campaign for election 2020. His massive following on social media meant every campaign idea and execution went viral. He shared laptops. He pounded fufu. He made hair. He cleaned. He shared joy with the people of Ayawaso West Wuogon. He faked laughs and did all that a prospective politician would do as he set his eye on victory. John was relentless. But there was one subtle voice that screamed loud amidst Dumelo’s vibrant agenda; elections are not won on social media.
As his red shirt coincidentally affirmed the tenacity in his eyes, counting of votes was a tricky race for the actor’s heart pumps and brain waves. A video of him observing the count instantly went viral as his social media following and interest in his deals would prove.
A few hours into the next day, John Dumelo witnessed what he and any other politician would dread; a defeat in Ghana’s parliamentary election. His opponent Honourable Lydia Alhassan and her team had already started their celebrations.
Knowing how far John Dumelo’s campaign had reached, trolling was an inevitable by-product of the whole journey, both in front of him and far way as social media would permit.
Some people, however, acknowledged that for a first-timer, this was a close call. A few plaudits came in. A few congratulatory messages came but the agenda to troll stood tall knowing who Dumelo is and how he rolls. Everything is fun and games when people deal with him.
What most people did not consider was the fact that, to John Dumelo, this wasn’t a game. It was a hard-fought battle to serve his people in the best possible way he could. For 2020, this was not meant to be.
And the first stage of grief hit him harder than he could imagine, denial.
John could not believe that he had lost. That is mostly normal for most people who give their all to a task. His swift response with a letter around contesting the results through recounting generated another conversation.
Mr Dumelo stated in the letter dated December 8, 2020:
‘I humbly write to your office seeking for a recount of all ballot boxes across the Constituency. This is due to several irregularities that have been identified in some polling centres.
One of such irregularities was swapping of my figures and that of the NPP candidate’s figures at polling centres.
Counting on your usual Co-operation.’
In the popular social media meme, Dumelo’s next stage didn’t quite follow the stages of grief. It was simply: ‘Election over, eyes clear, where’s my bag of memes and emojis?’.
John reacted to Pappy Kojo’s comically crafted encouragement with the laughing emojis and went into hyper mood with emojis and memes.
From tips on the next election, love from all around, questions, words of affirmation and all there is, John Dumelo showed why he is one of the most lively characters on Ghana’s social media with his responses. Not a single word typed. Just memes and emojis. Troll or be trolled, here are a bag of memes to check out.