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Terrorism blow to Uhuru popularity

Thursday May 28 2015

President Uhuru Kenyatta commissions the National Primary School’s Electrification Project during the official launch of the Last Mile Connectivity Project at Katulu S.A. Primary School in Tala on May 27. 2015. PHOTO | PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta commissions the National Primary School’s Electrification Project during the official launch of the Last Mile Connectivity Project at Katulu S.A. Primary School in Tala on May 27. 2015. PHOTO | PSCU 

PETER LEFTIE
By PETER LEFTIE
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President Uhuru Kenyatta’s popularity has dropped from 67 per cent last December to 48 per cent last month, a new opinion poll has revealed.

The poll, conducted by Ipsos Ltd between March 28 and April 7, shows that Deputy President William Ruto’s rating dropped sharply, from 63 per cent in December to 35 per cent last month.

By contrast, the approval rating for the three Cord leaders, Mr Raila Odinga, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka and Mr Moses Wetang’ula, improved marginally over the same period.

Mr Odinga’s popularity went up from 24 per cent last November to 29 per cent last month. Mr Musyoka’s popularity also rose from 16 per cent last November to 18 per cent last month while Mr Wetang’ula’s improved from 15 to 18 per cent in that period.

Perceptions about Mr Kenyatta seem to have been affected by the government’s generally poor response to terror attacks and general insecurity.
But the trend seems to be a public resentment against politicians, particularly the Opposition, with more respondents saying they have no confidence in leaders, than those who said they had faith in them.

Mr Odinga yesterday dismissed the poll as unnecessary. According to him, the pollster had focused on non issues.

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“We are still very far away from elections. In developed countries pollsters would be measuring government performance. What they are doing right now is unfair,” he said.

He said the pollster should be advised to spend time on issues that benefit Kenyans.

“They tell us  the President’s rating is high, that Raila Odinga’s support has dropped, that Kalonzo Musyoka doesn’t have support, this is not useful to Kenyans now,” he said.

The poll was conducted over the period when Al-Shabaab attacked the Garissa University College and killed 148 people in the worst terrorist attack since the Westgate massacre of 2013.

The attack raised serious questions about the government’s response to the threat posed by terrorism.
The poll also showed that compared with the Grand Coalition Government, the Jubilee administration’s performance was less satisfactory.

Those interviewed said its performance on fighting corruption, encouraging economic growth, reducing the cost of living, its human rights record and tackling crime and terrorism was worse off compared to the Grand Coalition under President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga, whose tenure ended in March 2013.

Jubilee also had a worse rating on freedom to criticise the government, wildlife protection, land issues, respect for the Constitution and conservation of the environment.

EDUCATION AND HEALTH

It only bested the Grand Coalition on provision of education and health services.

The pollsters interviewed a total of 1,964 Kenyans aged above 18 years and spread across the country. Majority of those interviewed said they were self-employed and had at least a secondary education. Most of them also said they earned less than Sh10,000 a month.

The latest ratings are the lowest Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto have registered. Last October their popularity levels were at 71 and 62 per cent respectively. Mr Kenyatta’s popularity dropped marginally in December to 67 per cent while Mr Ruto’s rose to 63 per cent, only to drop to 35 per cent last month.

The poll also showed that Mr Odinga’s popularity had fluctuated between 37 per cent in November 2013 to 24 per cent last November, before rising to 29 per cent last month.

Mr Musyoka’s popularity had also fluctuated between 20 per cent in September last year down to 16 per cent in November before rising to 18 per cent last month.

Mr Wetang’ula, too, had also oscillated between 19 per cent in September last year down to 15 per cent in November before rising to 18 per cent last month.

The poll showed that whereas 48 per cent of those sampled expressed “a lot” of confidence in Mr Kenyatta’s leadership, 11 per cent returned a no confidence vote in his leadership.

Thirty-five per cent of those polled also expressed “a lot” of confidence in Mr Ruto, against 22 per cent who returned a no confidence vote.
Of those who supported Mr Kenyatta, 68 per cent were Jubilee while 22 per cent were Cord supporters.

Generally, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta recorded one of the highest levels of support, with 55 per cent of the respondents expressing “a lot” of confidence in her. Only eight per cent said they had no confidence in her. Mrs Kenyatta has been involved in a campaign to reduce child and maternal deaths by giving free mobile clinics to counties.

The Opposition in general fared badly, with only 18 per cent of the respondents expressing “a lot” of confidence in it, against 23 per cent who said they had no confidence.

The poll, however, showed that only 19 per cent of Kenyans expressed confidence in the Jubilee administration as opposed to 15 per cent who returned a no confidence vote.

Whereas 29 per cent of those sampled expressed “a lot” of confidence in Mr Odinga, 30 per cent said they lacked confidence in his leadership. Similarly, 18 per cent of those sampled expressed “a lot” of confidence in Mr Musyoka against 32 per cent who did not share that view. Mr Wetang’ula was also backed by 18 per cent of those sampled while 31 per cent expressed no confidence in him.