I came across an audio in which my own granddaughter and Senior Member of NPP, in what appears to an address to the party supporters, disclosed that President Barrow’s party is building a database to compile and store names and voter registration numbers of their members and supporters. In the same audio, she could be heard urging NPP women to steal and hide the voters’ card belonging to their husbands if they are not sure of their husbands’ loyalty to the President. While this particular statement may be viewed by some as an attempt on voter suppression, i think it’s simply a political tease.
But the very idea that NPP, new to the game and has not been electorally tested yet , is moving very fast to establish such an important technological infrastructure suggests that they cannot and should not be underestimated. It is also a wake up call to other political parties in the arena.
This database, when completed and functioning, will enable NPP conduct internal pollings with great accuracy and advise the party on effective resources allocations ahead of the 2021 presidential elections. For example, the party will be able to establish the total number of registered voters from a particular constituency down to ward levels using available data from IEC and match that against their own numbers to understand if the area is predominantly pro Barrow, competitive or a toss-up. This information will then guide the the party as to which campaign strategy to adopt and how much time to invest and resources to deploy in order to go after every single vote.
Election and campaign dynamics are evolving and are shifting from traditional style to a more technologically supported and smarter system. With annual turn over of political science graduates from the University of The Gambia on the rise, political parties can hire them for structured electioneering in various capabcities and deploy them across the country, thus contribute to reducing unemployment among the Youth population. In politics, it’s not bad to take advantage of your opponent’s weaknesses and pick up on his/strengths. Our political parties have the opportunity to learn from NPP on this crucial point. Dismissing it or complaining about it could be politically disastrous..