Study: Economy, graft fight, unemployment key issues

Thursday, February 10th, 2022 05:32 | By
Afrobarometer National Investigator and Associate Director Institute of Development Studies,University of Nairobi Paul Kamau during the Kenya Round 9 Survey release in Nairobi yesterday. PD/BENARD ORWONGO

Management of the economy, the fight against corruption and unemployment has been cited as the key issues that likely to determine who becomes the country’s next President

A poll done by Afrobarometer, a research network based at the University of Nairobi revealed that the majority of Kenyans were keen on a leader who will address the issues regardless of their political affiliation.

The survey which was conducted between November 12-30, 2021 and interviewed 2,400 respondents, found the current administration rated poorly in its efforts to improve living standards of the poor by 16 per cent.

“Kenyans are concerned that despite raising various concerns about their welfare the government of the day is not rising up to the occasion to address them. From our research it came out very clear that most of them were tired and hence they are looking for a leader who would be able to at least listen to their concerns,” said Paul Kamau, a researcher at Afrobarometer.

 “Between 2014 and 2021, the list of the most important problems has remained consistent – Kenyans are clear in terms of what they want their government to address.”

Asked what were the most pressing challenges facing the country, the 40 per cent of the 2,400 participants in the poll said the management of the economy,  war on corruption 35 per cent and unemployment 32 per cent.  In fighting corruption, respondents rated the current leadership performance as poor by giving it 22 per cent while in managing the economy Kenyans gave the government with 17 per cent.

At the same time, the poll established that while urban residents were concerned about the economy, corruption and unemployment, those in rural areas were concerned about public services and food-shortages.

 Currently leading presidential aspirants have been on record trying to woo Kenyans over how they would address some of the challenges.

ODM leader Raila Odinga manifesto is focused on industrialisation, universal healthcare and social protection stipend. His fierce rival deputy president William Ruto is rooting for his bottom-up economic model.

Education was ranked as the best among areas where the government is performing well with 65 per cent. Infrastructure and improving basic health service came in second and third respectively with 63 and 55 percent.

Honest elections

 The poll also revealed that more than 75 per cent of Kenyans support elections as the best way to choose their leaders and they believe that many political parties are needed to give voters real choices.

 However, the report also revealed that 61 per cent of Kenyans say that elections do not ensure that leaders they elect reflect the views of the voters.

“A good majority say elections don’t ensure that MPs reflect the views of voters. Still, most say regular, open, and honest elections are the best way to choose their leaders,” said Kamau.

 Kamau said that most Kenyans were actually interested in going to the polls not to elect quality leaders to punish incumbents who have disappointed them.

With exactly six months to the election date, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has been rated among the least trusted government institutions. The agency rated lowly with 53 percent compared to other key agencies.

Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) led the pack with a massive 72 per cent followed closely by National Police Service (NPS) which has 67 per cent and the Judiciary have 61 percent.

“Seeing that this is an election year, we note a worrying distrust in the IEBC. It tells us that something needs to be done and should be done as early as today. We are worried that if this is not dealt with, Kenyans might at the end doubt the outcome of the poll,” said the research firm’s national investigator Oscar Otele.

 For KDF Prof Winnie Mitulla, a co-partner director of the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) revealed that its trust was mainly because of its ability to deliver results in time.

 “I see a lot of debate regarding why our President is using the military in key government agencies. But the reality is that these people are results oriented. Once given a task they deliver and they do it as expected,” said Mitulla.

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