alexa MPs’ plan to regulate opinion polls opposed - Daily Nation

MPs’ plan to regulate opinion polls opposed

Thursday May 12 2011

Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau at a past press briefing. PHOTO /  FILE

Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau at a past press briefing. PHOTO / FILE 

By BERNARD NAMUNANE [email protected]

Pollsters on Thursday came out fighting an attempt by MPs to control opinion polls as the clock ticks towards the next elections.

The firms termed the bid to outlaw political opinion polls as “ill-advised and unnecessary”.

Synovate and Strategic Research demanded involvement in the drafting of a Bill on the polls should the Party of National Unity’s MPs go ahead with a motion that was filed in the House on Wednesday.

Mr George Waititu of Synovate and Mr Caesar Handa of Strategic Research termed the attempt by MPs Jamleck Kamau and John Mututho as a step backwards.

“We are operating in a political market in which there is a lot of information in the public domain. One would hate to go back to the dark days when only politicians could give out information,” said Mr Waititu.

Mr Handa warned that the Bill was meant to suppress the industry.

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They were reacting to Mr Kamau’s filing of a motion to bring a Bill that will set up a board to regulate opinion surveys with a view to banning those on politics.

The Kigumo MP argued that pollsters were being used to push the agenda of certain politicians and their political parties.

Prominent politicians, among them Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, deputy prime ministers Uhuru Kenyatta and Musalia Mudavadi and MPs William Ruto and Martha Karua (Narc Kenya chairperson) have said recent opinion polls were skewed.

The polls released by Synovate in April placed Prime Minister Raila Odinga ahead of them, with 38 per cent of Kenyans saying he was their choice for State House in the next elections. The other candidates scored below 20 per cent.

On Thursday, Mr Waititu said their industry was regulated by the Marketing and Social Research Association, which bases its standards on the guidelines set by the global regulator, Esomar (European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research).