By: SAMUEL KARANJA
Kenyans want Pope Francis to address various issues when he jets in next week, top among them peaceful co-existence, corruption and tribalism, a survey shows.
The poll by research firm Infotrak also shows that nine out of 10 Kenyans are excited by the Papal visit, but Catholics are “extremely excited”.
Among the 777 Kenyans polled, 65 per cent would like the head of the Catholic Church to preach the message of peaceful co-existence among communities, while 24 per cent of Catholics and non-Catholics think the Pope should address corruption.
The Jubilee Coalition and county governments have been dogged by a myriad of corruption claims.
The pressure on Jubilee to address corruption culminated in the resignation of Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru on Saturday.
Many top officials in the Devolution ministry are facing corruption charges.
While answering the question “What message do you think the Pope should give Kenyans?”, 20 per cent of those interviewed named tribalism, while 13 per cent favoured respect for human rights.
Other issues Kenyans want the Pope to dwell on include immorality (5.8 per cent), social justice (five per cent), accountability (four per cent) and good leadership (3.9 per cent).
The poll was conducted in all counties between October 3 and November 20.
The survey also sought to know which message the Pope should bring to Kenyan leaders and 47 per cent of interviewees said he should stress peaceful co-existence.
Another 44 per cent think corruption should top issues Pope Francis should talk about with leaders while 28 per cent say tribalism should be on the table.
Other areas Kenyans want the Pope to bring up when he meets leaders are good leadership (18 per cent), respect for human rights (17 per cent), accountability (13 per cent), social justice (six per cent) and immorality (two per cent).
“With the clergy, Kenyans would like the Pope to deal with leadership, immorality and co-existence,” Infotrak CEO Angela Ambitho said on Sunday.
The survey shows that 49 per cent of Kenyans want the Pope to discuss matters of peaceful co-existence when he meets religious leaders while 39 per cent want him to ask the clergy to exercise good leadership.
“Whether our clergy have not been exerting themselves well or not is a question one would beg to ask. Maybe Kenyans want them to emulate the Pope,” added Ms Ambitho.
Another 14 per cent want immorality discussed between the Pope and religious leaders while 11 per cent are for social justice.
Almost all Kenyans are happy with the visit and excitement cuts across denominations, regions, age and gender.
Ninety three per cent of Kenyans are excited. Among Catholics, 98 per cent are extremely excited while the percentage for non-Catholics is 91.
“Pope Francis is admired by Kenyan Catholics and non-Catholics alike, who have embraced his optimism, humility and more inclusive tone,” said Ms Ambitho.
“Indeed, the Pope’s likeability seems to have rubbed onto the Catholic Church, which despite being caught up in scandals globally, has a high approval rating in Kenya,” she added at the firm’s offices in Nairobi.
Since his election as Pope, Kenyans generally say they have been more inclined to giving more importance to their family and treating others with kindness as indicated by 79 per cent of respondents.
He also seems to have had a positive influence on prayer as 74 per cent said they prayed more regularly since the Pope’s election.
The poll shows that 87 per cent of Catholics in Kenya have a favourable opinion of the Pope while 82 per cent of non-Catholics are of a similar opinion.
The survey revealed that 95 per cent of Catholics believe Pope Francis presents a major positive change of direction for the Church, a view that is held by 84 per cent of non-Catholics.
Also, 98 per cent of Catholics in Kenya believe that the Pope presents a major positive shift in Christianity while 85 per cent of non-Catholics hold the same view.
At the same time, 97 per cent of Catholics believe the Pope presents a major positive shift in global leadership, a view which held by 85 per cent of non-Catholics.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION