Kemo Conteh Executive Member & Head of Strategy National People’s Party
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Planning starts in the head of the planner. Based on the 10 point analysis which I have offered below, the integrity of the survey has been compromised by CepRass itself, and so, it cannot be taken to represent a true reflection of the electorate’s Intention To Vote, And The Perception Of Voters on those who will win, or lose in next week’s Council Elections in The Gambia. 1)
The selected Gender Representation of 39% female and 61% male, is clearly not a balanced ratio of respondents in a voter opinion survey in the Gambia. Over half of the population of the Gambia is women, and consistently, in the past 20 years or so, the majority of the actual voter population in both national and regional elections in this country has been women. 2) Next week is regional elections in the Gambia, Not national elections. CepRass should have conducted a regionally based survey, and the Geographic Distribution of Respondents in the survey should have been spread regionally, Not nationally skewed as indicated in their report. 3) Apparently, the survey samples were selected in the main towns of the regions. They were not selected based on a geographic, and demographic segmentation of voters in each region. 4.
In Brikama, as against WCR, 48%, and in Banjul, 52% of respondents have been indicated in the report as undecided on their favored candidate for Chairman and Major respectively. According to the report, among those who declared their intentention to vote in Brikama, 23% have pledged to support Seedy Ceesay, while 19% intend to vote for Yankuba Darbo, and an insignificant range of %s to the other candidates. How then can it be logically/mathematically concluded that in the component perception survey 23% of respondents in Brikama indicated Yankuba Darbo as the winner, against 21% for Seedy Ceesay? 5) Similarly in Banjul, where more than half, (52%) of respondents have not decided. Only (26%) have declared to vote for Rohey Malick Lowe in contrast to the minor dlifference of (23%) for Ebou Fye, in this respect, how can it be concluded in the report that (26%) of voters will support Rohey Malick Lowe, against (14%) for Ebou Fye, where the vast majority (61%) of voters are uncertain of who will win? 6)
In Mansa Konko, where 40% of respondents are undecided, 32% favor Landing Sanneh and a close 28% favor Kebba Dem, how could it then be concluded in the perception survey that 39% favor Landing Sanneh to win against 25% for Kebba Dem. What is the basis of logic in the analysis? 7) On local government issues, except in one, or two specific areas, it is unbelievable that there was any conscious survey of opinions and perceptions of voters on substantive local issues in this elections. A) The question of how candidates were treated, has been ambigously stated in the report. It does not state whether the enquiry there was on the treatment of the candidate by their party, IEC, the government, or any other entity or individual. It is left to imagination how the respondents perceived the question and thus how they responded to it. 8) In any case, how a candidate is treated by his/party, IEC, the government, any other entity ot individual cannot be perceived a relevant local government issue in the face of so many substantive issues to be resolved by council in their regions of jurisdiction. 9) Road construction, food security, waste collection and local markets, were cited as the most important issues, while corruption, revenue collection and rental prices, supposedly house rents, were ranked lowest on the minds of respondents. In general, there are great differences between local government areas (LGAs) in this country. In their regional social and economic development profiles, with regard to local democracy, local services and poverty alleviation, local Intrastructure and local industry. It is unclear, how, or why the survey did not explore and present the scope of regional disparities and voter perceptions of the electability of candidates put before them in this respect in next week’s elections. A blanket analysis of national local government issues in (8) different regions of the country with varied social and economic development profiles can be misleading and misinformed in a local government elections voter perception survey. 9)
The Commission of Inquiry on the Conduct of Councils which apparently took a prominent place in the survey matrix is infact not a local government issue. It is matter entirely under the purview of central government. Voters are not expected to vote on the rationality or otherwise of this and should not have been highlighted in as a subject of analysis in this survey.
It is a matter of concern to certain individual local government politicians and some how they managed to drag it into the electoral battle field as part of their individual or party campaign strategies. There are more pressing and more important issues of greater interest to the electorate such as the ones out lined above, which are at the core of the mission of local government, and should have been brought to the attention of voters in the process of the survey.