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More than three million not willing to vote, poll shows

Another 6.4 percent are doubtful of their participation in the exercise, bringing the total percentage of those unlikely to participate in the election to 17.3 per cent.

More than three million eligible voters are not willing to take part in the General Election in August, a Facebook poll has shown.

The results of the survey by Mzalendo Kenya, released on Tuesday in Nairobi, show more than 10.9 per cent of Kenyan youth are very unlikely to take part in the election. They say their reason is disillusionment with the current crop of elected leaders.

This, according to the 2009 national census that shows there are 19 million Kenyans aged 18 years and above and are therefore eligible to vote, means that 3,287,000 eligible voters are unlikely to exercise this democratic right come August.

“The survey findings clearly reveal a highly educated youth that are greatly disillusioned with the current crop of elected leaders and as a result are reluctant to take part in the election,” Jessica Musila, the executive director of Mzalendo Kenya, a project started in 2005 whose mission is to “keep an eye on the Kenyan parliament”, said.

THE ‘FRUSTRATIONS’

Ms Musila said most of the respondents say the situation was borne out of the “frustrations” and “inaccessibility” of elected representatives, mostly Members of Parliament (MPs).

“From the results, it was clear the current crop of elected leaders were generally perceived as self-interested in pursuing votes and do not care about the public’s opinions on issues,” Ms Musila said.

The report says 70 per cent of the respondents believe MPs are only interested in their votes and not in their opinion and 65 per cent say the lawmakers are not bothered by what the public think.

Fifty-five per cent of those interviewed stated they have good understanding of the political system in Kenya and therefore can affect legislation in Parliament.

Ms Musila said the respondents are aware of when the next General Election will be, their local constituencies and parliamentarians’ names, contrary to recent claims that the youth online are disinterested in politics.

The survey was conducted between October 1 and November 15, 2016. It sampled 8,300 adults with an average age of 26 self-selected through Facebook advertisements across Kenya, 58 per cent of whom have attended university. It has a margin of error of +/- 0.9 per cent.

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