Kenyans in political rally. (Photo: Courtesy)
A majority of Kenyans do not find the connection between choice of leaders and issues affecting them, a new survey shows. An overwhelming 88.3 per cent of Kenyans do not find the connection between elections and issues, according to the research dubbed “Election Agenda, 2017 and Beyond: Election Issuefication” by the Jesuit Hakimani Centre.
Only 9.7 per cent think political party manifestos have a meaning and are documents that can be used to track performance of political leadership. The report shows people between 50 and 59 years are more skeptical on accountability of political leaders.
“When speaking about election issuefication, a majority thinks that politicians are dishonest. The remoteness of issue-based electioneering does dent the belief in people’s power,” said Principal Researcher Elias Mokua.
The research was conducted between November and December last year and was carried out in
24 counties. The counties include Baringo, Bungoma, Isiolo, Kajiado, Kakamega, Kericho, Kiambu, Kilifi, Kirinyaga, Kisii, and Kisumu.
Others are Kitui, Kwale, Laikipia, Makueni, Meru, Migori, Mombasa, Nairobi, Nakuru, Narok, Nyeri, Siaya, and Trans Nzoia, with the primary data being collected by way of assisted questionnaires from 1,014 respondents, of whom 53 per cent were male and 47 per cent were female.
Elections must be anchored on an issue for protagonists and antagonists to slowly but steadily move away from combativeness and negativity in electioneering.
The survey shows only 26.2 per cent of the respondents think politicians can pick up citizens’ agenda and implement it.
On the other hand, the research shows election violence can be significantly reduced if there is intensified election issuefication.
However, most Kenyans feel the August polls will not be peaceful, with some 71.1 per cent expressing their worries while 29.9 per cent of the respondents think that the elections will be peaceful.
Dr Mokua, who is also the Society of Jesus (SJ) executive director, while releasing the results of the survey yesterday, said hope seems to have been lost among Kenyans as a majority of the respondents think the system is not working and that the authorities are not reliable.
“Moral apathy is on the high. Only 19.7 per cent think they have the responsibility of electing credible leaders. The fact that the opposite of the 19.7 per cent thinks otherwise is worrying. Moral apathy seems to have infiltrated every aspect of the electorate,” said Mokua.
The University of Nairobi (UoN) don said citizen agenda is not likely to influence the electioneering campaign conversations and eventual voting, adding that public participation as a mechanism for citizen inclusivity in decision-making has yet to enable citizens to set a public agenda.
According to Dr Mokua, moral apathy is demonstrated in the response to the question of what the respondents would have their county government invest in.
“One would assume that because Kenyans feel that corruption is a number one failure, they should consider it a number one issue on the agenda,” reads part of the research survey.
The research showed that 21.1 per cent of Kenyans found urgency of addressing corruption, an indication of how “most respondents have lost hope” of ever dealing with corruption.
According to the research, corrupt leaders in the government are more unlikely to face charges while the ordinary citizen has no capacity to fight misappropriation of public funds at the county level.
The research also showed Kenyans do no’t believe that Vision 2030 is attainable.
When asked whether the unemployment rate in Kenya would drop to below 25 per cent in the next 14 years, 63.9 per cent of them said no.