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NPP FAULTS CEPRASS POLL

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By Omar Bah

The governing NPP has described the latest CepRass poll which predicts wins for the opposition in urban Gambia in Saturday’s mayoral and chairmanship local government area elections as too “indecisive and compromised”.

CepRass predicted victory for the opposition UDP candidates in Banjul, Kanifing, Brikama and Mansa Konko with the NPP sweeping Basse, Janjangbureh, Kerewan and Kuntaur.

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The poll indicated that about 61 percent of the potential voters in Banjul, 24 in Kanifing, 42 in Brikama, 35 in Mansa Konko, 35 in Kerewan, 42 in Kuntaur and 19 Basse, are undecided.

Reacting to the findings yesterday in a Standard exclusive, NPP communication secretary and President Barrow’s adviser on cyber security, Sulayman Camara, said: “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 Saturday’s election.”

Camara argued that the selected gender representation of 39 percent female and 61 percent male is “clearly not a balanced ratio of respondents in a voter opinion survey in The Gambia”.

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He said over half of the Gambian population are 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.

“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. 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. In Brikama, as against WCR, 42%, and in Banjul, 61% of respondents have been indicated in the report as undecided on their favoured candidate for chairman and mayor respectively while in Brikama, 22% have pledged to support Seedy Ceesay and 23% intend to vote for Yankuba Darboe, and an insignificant range of 42% undecided. How can it be logically or mathematically concluded?” Camara asked.

He added: “In Mansa Konko, where 40% of respondents are undecided, 32% favoured Landing Sanneh and a close 28% favoured Kebba Dem, how could it then be concluded in the perception survey that Landing Sanneh will win against Kebba Dem? What is the basis of logic in the analysis? 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 election.”

Camara argued that the question of how candidates were treated has been ambiguously stated in the report.

“It is left to imagination how the respondents perceived the question and thus how they responded to it. In any case, how a candidate is treated by his party, IEC, the government, any other entity or individual cannot be perceived as a relevant local government issue in the face of so many substantive issues to be resolved by councils in their regions of jurisdiction. 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 in this country. In their regional, social and economic development profiles, with regard to local democracy, local services and poverty alleviation, local infrastructure 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 weekend’s elections,” he said.

He said a blanket analysis of national local government issues in eight 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.

“The commission of inquiry on the conduct of councils which apparently took a prominent place in the survey matrix is in fact not a local government issue. It is a matter entirely under the purview of the central government. Voters are not expected to vote on the rationality or otherwise of this and should not have been highlighted as a subject of analysis in this survey. It is a matter of concern to certain individual local government politicians and somehow they managed to drag it into the electoral battlefield 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 outlined 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,” Camara concluded.

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