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Lifestyle

Our unpleasant encounter with fake opinion pollsters

Monday, May 9th, 2022 11:00 | By

Fellow MCA Chonjo was breathing fire. I could hardly understand what he was saying, but I could tell he was beside himself with rage.

“Why don’t you come over to the office?” I suggested on realising that the phone conversation was not yielding much. 

“Ok,” he puffed. I immediately suspected that his anger had something to do with party nominations. Chonjo, just like me,  had been sure of clinching his party ticket to vie for governorship. How right I was! My colleague charged into my office, on his face; a murderous look. 

“This is unacceptable!” he fumed and banged a fist on my desk. I quickly evacuated the delicate items from the desk, just in case.

“Calm down, mheshimiwa. What is the matter?”

“These people don’t know who they are playing around with,” he thundered. I saw what looked like tears in his eyes. To give him space to cool down, I excused myself and stepped out briefly. This worked, for when I returned, he looked more composed. 

“Now tell me everything,” I whispered. “I have been betrayed. My party has given the ticket to a total stranger. Someone who does not even know what the initials of our party stand for! That is scandalous! I must call for mass action!” he snarled and banged the desk once more. 

“Relax, brother,” I said trying my best to sound calm. MCA Chonjo then went on to tell me how he had already prepared posters and T-shirts bearing his image and his party logo.

“Now what will I do with all these?”  he asked, almost in a sob. “Mass action ni lazima!

I realised my friend was not aware I too had been shortchanged by my party - the Chameleon Party. I told him my story and how I had flatly rejected the pleas to be Lady Super’s running mate. Instead,  I had decided to vie for governorship as an independent candidate. This story seemed to cheer him up, for he suddenly brightened up.

“Bwana Gwinso, if that is the case, why don’t we combine forces and vie as a team. One of us be the top candidate and the other a running mate?” There was no way I was going to be the running mate, so I quickly said “So you will be my running mate.” 

“No. You be the running mate. Everybody knows that I am more popular than you,” said my colleague. There ensued an argument as to who between us was likely to attract more votes.

“Ok, let us organise for an opinion poll,” Chonjo said at last. That to me sounded fair enough. We  agreed to search for a reputable firm and engage them to conduct the poll.  

A quick search led us to a group called Sure Thing Researchers. Their profile was quite impressive and the ratings were above average. We contacted the group and agreed on the terms. They were to deliver the results within a week. 

Two days later, I received a surprise call from Lady Super; the very person who had snatched the Chameleon Party Ticket from me.

“Bwana Gwinso, I hear you have commissioned a group to conduct opinion polls for you?” Not sure of the intent of the question, I hesitated before answering.  

“Let me give you some advice. You just accept to be my running mate. Don’t waste time with those funny opinion polls.” I felt slighted. Hadn’t I categorically turned down the request to be her running mate? Why did she think I was about to change my mind? 

“Listen, Madam,” I bellowed. I don’t want your advice. Keep it to yourself!” I then hang up on her.

A few minutes later, my phone rang. “Hello, Bwana Gwinso. I am calling from Sure Thing Researchers. This is between the two of us. Tell me, how much are you willing to offer for a report that favours you?” I was dumbfounded.

“What are you saying?” I asked, incredulous.

“Your rival is offering us Sh500,000 to report in his favour. What of you? Think about it and call me,”he said and hang up.

Spoiling for a fight, I immediately called MCA Chonjo. “Calm down, Bwana Gwinso,” came his voice from the other end. “Imagine the same person has just called me and told me you have offered  Sh500,000 to get a report that favours you. He wanted to know how much I am willing to pay!” 

Upon realising we were dealing with unscrupulous fellows, we agreed to cancel the contract, even if it meant forfeiting the downpayment we had made.  We are now looking for a credible pollster. Kazi iko.n detect fear in one’s blood and other body fluids and ravage the body with pneumonia and other seaxaxaave nothing to do with the so-called climate change. It all depends on how you respond to them,” the organisation said in a statement to the media.

 —[email protected]

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