By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
The Center for Policy, Research and Strategic Studies (CEPRASS) published a “Pre-Election Opinion Poll Survey 2021” indicating that 80% of Gambians believe that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) can deliver a free and fair election on December 4th 2021. According to the report the survey polled 969 households via telephone and only 5% of those polled think that the IEC will not conduct free and fair elections.
However, the report also blames the IEC for the 2016/2017 Political Impasse. According to the report “the IEC’s announcement of two election results was the cause of the 2016/2017 political impasse as it led to Jammeh and the APRC party contesting the election results on the grounds that fraud is what led to the announcement of two different results”.
The survey report compiled by Researchers of CEPRASS, mostly lecturers of the Gambia’s only University, details IEC’s reasons for the announcement of double results. “The IEC, however, did report that this was caused by tallying errors that didn’t affect the overall results” read the report. In addition, the report indicates that “voters are increasingly concern about IEC’s role in the electoral cycle”.
Electorates Believe IEC did Enough not to Register Foreigners
It would be prudent to note that the High Court ruled against the IEC’s authorisation of Banjul Mayor’s issuance of Attestation Forms in July 2021 and also made a translation error between the statistics of Mansakonko and Kerewan during the voter’s registration process. When our reporter questioned the IEC about the translation error they confirmed that the error only appears on the provisional figures issued by the IEC and have been corrected in the final Voters Registration Statistics.
On a positive note, the CEPRASS report indicates that “75% of the electorates either strongly agreed or agreed that IEC did enough not to register foreigners”. Only 13% of the electorates “either disagreed strongly or disagree that IEC didn’t do enough not to register foreigners”.
According to the report, only 28% of the respondents are women while 63% of respondents are between the ages of 18 to 44 years. Gainako’s analysis of the IEC’s final registration data shows that 58% of the registered voters are youth while 57% of the total registered are women. The report also indicates that IEC registered a total of “962,157 individuals (about 41% of the overall population of the Gambia)” and that 95% of the respondents say they have a voter’s card.
NPP Leading the Polls, Majority Undecided
The poll also indicates that the majority (43%) of electorates don’t know who will win the December Election and almost a third (31%) of voters believe the incumbent (NPP) will win a second term. Third on the polls is the UDP with only 15% of respondents voting in favour of President Adama Barrow’s former party, led by former Vice President Ousainou Darboe. Rounding up the polls is GDC and APRC with (3%) each; PDOIS (2%), CA (1%) and the rest.
The absence of Independent Parties was a noteworthy omission. When our reporter contacted CEPRASS Researcher Mr Lamin Dampha, he explained that Independent Candidates were not considered for the poll. He noted that only Political Parties were included in the first poll with a second one published towards the end of November 2021, days or weeks before the December 4th 2021 Presidential elections.
Our reporter questioned Mr Dampha on the poll having an impact on the elections being so close to the elections. In response, Mr Dampha noted that he’s not sure if the polls will have a negative impact on the elections but the question would be considered further.
Below is a link to Gainako’s publication on the final Voters Registration statistics issued by the IEC.