Most voters ‘not swayed by tribe and party manifestos’

research

Political promises and manifestos do not have much sway on Kenyan voters, a new survey shows.

According to the study by the Jesuit Hakimani Centre, only two out of 10 Kenyans will pick their next president based on their manifestos.

President Uhuru Kenyatta of Jubilee Party and NASA candidate Raila Odinga have both launched what they plan for the country should they win in the August 8 General Election. But their manifestos may not be enough to help them secure victory in the polls.

The electorate is also suspicious that elections at the national level may not be transparent and credible but believe that the process will be credible at the county level.

The study further points out that ethnicity may not be a key determinant in the polls. “Tribe as a reason rates very low as 61.1per cent do not agree that clans (at county level) and tribe (at national level) determines who wins the elections,” says the report.

“Only 38.9 per cent consider tribe as a determining factor for who wins an election. Over the years, Kenyan voters have tended to consider tribe as the most significant reason to vote for a candidate,” adds the survey that was conducted in June.

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At least 43.5 per cent of the 1,675 respondents in the study said their choice of president will be determined by leadership qualities.

Only 7.6 per cent of Kenyans will vote on the basis of party inclination. “In this sense, a political party to which one belongs does not guarantee a win,” adds the study.

The respondents in the study consider the candidates in the polls as the main triggers of violence.

They think that the politicians may take advantage of unemployed youth to violently advance their grievances.

A majority of Kenyans, at 61 per cent, believe there will be peace at the county level during and after the elections.

“Candidates seeking elective posts are seen as the primary violence triggers (at 60.7 per cent).”

 Taking advantage

Of the respondents, 53.9 per cent feel that political competitors (aggrieved or defending an election outcome) may take advantage of unemployed youth to violently advance their grievances,” says Elias Mokua, the centre’s principal researcher.

“For instance, 88.9 per cent of the respondents say that it is not normal to have violence during elections. 79.3 per cent of the said respondents know the consequences of violence but blame youth idleness and candidates for organised violence,” explains the study.

On the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s (IEBC) ability to deliver credible elections, the electorate has mixed feelings, with half the respondents having faith in the electoral process.

Campaigns unfair

“Kenyans have mixed feelings and perceptions about the credibility of the electoral process (about 50 per cent have faith in the process, 64.9 per cent think there is corruption in the process, 65 per cent think the ongoing campaigns are not fair),” says the study.

Suspicions on the electoral process are high at the national level at 49 per cent compared to the county level, where 50 per cent of voters are optimistic that the process will be free and fair.

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