Fear clouds Kenyans’ view of New Year

Wednesday December 31 2014

Kenyans at Uhuru Park, Nairobi on December 25, 2014. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE

Kenyans at Uhuru Park, Nairobi on December 25, 2014. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

SAMUEL KARANJA
By SAMUEL KARANJA
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As Kenyans prepare to usher in the New Year, nearly half of them foresee a gloomy future, with fears that the level of corruption in the country and the high cost of living will worsen.

On average, 45.5 per cent of Kenyans predict things to worsen on the six key economic and governance issues they were polled: Corruption, cost of living, political climate, employment opportunities, economic conditions and security.

Of the 2,190 urban and rural respondents interviewed by Ipsos Kenya, 49 per cent of them believe corruption will get worse while, 19 per cent said it would go down and 27 per cent predicting the situation to remain as it was in 2014.

Another 47 per cent who participated in the survey said the cost of living was likely to get worse with 25 per cent remaining optimistic the situation would improve. Twenty four per cent of the respondents said the situation will remain the same as last year.

On politics, the poll indicated that 46 per cent of the respondents predicted the political climate in the country will remain gloomy while 27 per cent said things would be better. The poll revealed that worries about the political climate has been rising.

When polled a year ago (in 2013), 37 per cent of Kenyans thought it would be worse during this past year (2014) and now the current (December, 2014) poll shows that this figure has increased (to 46 per cent) for next year (2015).

Regarding employment, 44 per cent of those interviewed in the survey carried out between December 9 and 15, 2014 see a bleak future with 30 per cent saying they expected better things.

Another 44 per cent believe the economic conditions in the country are likely to worsen with 25 per cent expecting things to get better.

Security also remained an area of concern for many Kenyans with 43 per cent seeing the situation deteriorating.

Recent attacks by the Al-Shabaab in various parts of the country prompted the Jubilee government to overhaul its security machinery including appointing a new Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National Co-ordination and a new Inspector-General of Police.

“Not even one-third think the situation regarding any of them (six areas polled) will be better next year, with employment opportunities attracting the most positive assessment (better  at 30 per cent),” says the poll results.

MAJOR SCANDALS

Such expectations, said the pollster, echo the findings from an Ipsos survey the previous month (November, published on December 19 2014) which showed that 50 per cent of Kenyans were aware of major cases of corruption that have taken place under the Jubilee government.

Of the half that was aware, most frequently mentioned were the police recruitment scandal (57 per cent), Karen land saga (46 per cent), Coast land issues (35 per cent), the laptop project (18 per cent), and the Standard Gauge Railway controversy (15 per cent) amongst others.

Ipsos’ opinion polls manager Victor Rateng said compared to a survey carried out in 2013 to establish perceptions of 2014, concerns have risen for employment opportunities, security, and the political climate.

In 2013, when Kenyans were likewise asked about their expectations regarding employment situation for the (then) coming year (2014), 37 per cent thought it would be worse.

This latest survey was conducted before the appointment and confirmation of new Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery and the enactment of the controversial new security laws.