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Survey: Kenyan voters do not believe in election manifestos

Nark Kenya national chairperson Martha Karua stresses a point during a conference to discuss factors that may influence voting in the August 2017 elections [PHOTO: MOSES OMUSULA]

A majority of voters – nine out of 10 – do not believe in election manifestos, a new survey shows.

The findings indicate party blueprints are merely to hoodwink voters, according to the study by Jesuit Hakimani Centre.

Runaway corruption and unfulfilled election promises are some of the reasons there is no excitement among Kenyans in picking new leaders.

Empty promises

The respondents said politicians are not concerned about the promises they make in the run-up to the elections.

“Very few Kenyans think party manifestos and development blueprints can be used to gauge success or failure,” said Elias Mokua, the centre’s principal researcher.

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The research further found that Kenyans no longer view politicians as agents of change.

He added that some of the manifestos by aspirants do not have a direct impact on the lives of wananchi.

Speaking during the release of the survey findings, Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua urged voters to be keen when picking their leaders, particularly at the county level.

Ms Karua said the country’s next revolution will come from the county governments due its key role in grassroots development.

She also challenged the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to engage electoral players so as to boost confidence ahead of the polls.

Karua said IEBC cannot afford to disengage as that would only make people doubt the process of choosing their leaders in the run-up to the polls.

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She said since the French firm Safran, which IEBC picked to supply the Kenya Integrated Election Management System, was involved in 2013 when some of the equipment failed.

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Karua challenged the commission to explain how it would prevent similar failures in the August polls.

And presidential candidate Philip Murgor blamed the lack of interest in elections on poor leadership and rampant corruption.

Mr Murgor said leaders were not interested in addressing issues affecting the common man.

The presidential candidate said this had made Kenyans lose interest in changing their leaders.

The study also found out that at least 70 per cent of Kenyans fear the forthcoming polls would be marred with violence.

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The majority cited the fierce contest for governor’s seats in the counties as a possible harbinger of electoral chaos.

The study shows elections will be more violent at the county level due to the perceived high stakes in the gubernatorial race.

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The report released yesterday at Hekima University College shows “41.4 per cent of the respondents think that more focus must be at the county, as competition for the governors’ seat is stiff.”

The high stakes in the county seats can be explained by the large numbers of politicians who have trained their guns on the seats.

At least a half of sitting senators have declared interest to dislodge their governors.

The survey conducted between November and December 2016 sampled 1,014 respondents in in 24 counties.

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