By Landing Ceesay
The latest research by Afrobarometer, a pan-African firm, revealed that nearly half of Gambians trust the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) for conducting elections in the country.
“Despite fairly positive assessments of election quality, only about half (49%) of citizens say they trust the Independent Electoral Commission “somewhat” or “a lot,” a significant decline compared to 2018 (64%),” it revealed.
The survey research network further revealed that 7 in 10 Gambians (71%) say the 2017 election was generally free and fair, and 78% believe that announced election results were accurate.
“Small minorities report a variety of flaws in the 2017 election, including that some people’s votes were not accurately counted or fairly reflected in results (16%) and that police or soldiers, rather than elected officials, assisted voters (15%). In the last national election, in 2017, about two-thirds (64%) of Gambians who were of voting age at the time say they cast ballots. Three in 10 (30%) say they attended a campaign rally, and 11% report working for a candidate or party.
“By overwhelming majorities, Gambians support elections as the best way to choose leaders (88%) and believe that elections work well in enabling voters to remove leaders who don’t do what the people want (85%). A smaller majority (57%) say the Gambia needs many political parties to ensure that voters have a real choice. Small minorities report a variety of flaws in the 2017 election, including that some people’s votes were not accurately counted or fairly reflected in results (16%) and that police or soldiers, rather than election officials, assisted voters (15%),” the survey further revealed.
Afrobarometer, a non-profit corporation with headquarters in Ghana, is a pan-African, nonpartisan research network that provides reliable data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life. Eight rounds of surveys have been completed in up to 39 countries since 1999. Round 8 surveys (2019/2021) cover 34 countries. Afrobarometer conducts face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice. Its team in The Gambia is led by the Center for Policy, Research and Strategic Studies (CepRass).
The Gambia heads to the polls on December 4 Presidential election to elect a new leader from 6 candidates.