By: BERNARD NAMUNANE
A majority of Kenyans think the country is headed in the wrong direction, with corruption, high cost of living and unemployment being the main concerns.
The latest survey by Infotrak, in a way, sends worrying signals to the Jubilee administration.
It shows that the percentage of Kenyans who feel that the country doing well has significantly reduced compared to last year.
The survey points to a lack of faith in key government institutions, dismal performance by ministries and a drop in support for the ruling and opposition coalitions.
“A majority of Kenyans, 62 per cent, feel the country is moving in the wrong direction. What is interesting to note is the reduced percentage of those who feel the country is moving in the right direction,” says the pollster.
The opinion poll, which was conducted in the former provinces, comes in the wake of revelations of runaway corruption, shortage of cash to pay public servants and suppliers and heightened borrowing by the Jubilee administration.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto have come under pressure to sack State officers linked to corruption, with the US, EU and Scandinavian countries threatening to slap travel bans on named officials.
According to the poll, 29 per cent of Kenyans feel that the country is on the right track, which is a five per cent drop from last year.
The survey also shows that the percentage of Kenyans not sure of where the country is headed has risen from four to 11.
Regionally, Nyanza leads with the highest percentage (81.2) of people who feel the country is not progressing well.
It is followed by Coast (69.2), Eastern (66.7), Nairobi (67.3) and Western (56.9).
HIGH COST OF LIVING
North Eastern, with a 45.3 per cent, holds that the country is on the right path of progress, followed by Central (34.8) while 30.2 per cent in the Rift Valley have the same view.
Even in the regions that lead in endorsing the government’s progress, those with negative views are more than those with positive positions.
Some 54 per cent of people in Rift Valley feel the country is not progressing well, Central (53.5) and North Eastern (47).
“A regional analysis indicates that a majority of Kenyans in the former provinces think the country is moving in the wrong direction,” adds Infotrak.
The strong sentiment on whether the country is progressing well is driven by the topmost concerns of Kenyans, with corruption, high cost of living and lack of jobs, leading.
The survey shows that 40.9 per cent of citizens are concerned with the high level of corruption in government, high cost of living (13.3) and unemployment stands at 12.3 per cent.
The loss of Sh791 million at the National Youth Service, an attempt to siphon another Sh800 million from the same institution and reports of inflated expenditures in the Devolution Ministry, headed by Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru could have influenced the feelings.
Other issues of concern to the public are insecurity and crime (9.3 per cent), quality of education (5.3), infrastructure and roads (3.4), strikes in the public service (3.2), access to healthcare (3.2), hate speech (2.7), cost of doing business (1.5), access to clean water (1.5) and ethnicity (1.3) among others.
To tackle corruption, 59.6 per cent of Kenyans want to see those mentioned arrested and prosecuted while 28.6 want them to step aside.
EACC RANKED LOWEST
The survey shows that 23 per cent want Cabinet and principal secretaries mentioned in such scandals to resign, 16.8 per cent prefer them banned from holding public office, 12.5 per cent want the officers to return the stolen loot while 2.9 per cent want their accounts frozen.
Only 0.2 per cent are of the view that those mentioned should remain in office.
CSs Felix Koskei (Agriculture), Charity Ngilu (Lands), Kazungu Kambi (Labour), Davis Chirchir (Energy) and Joseph Kamau (Transport) were suspended following claims of corruption in their ministries.
The survey also ranked the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission the lowest in the performance by national institutions.
The media was highest ranked in performance.
“Media’s consistent reporting of issues as an objective and dynamic watchdog may have attributed to the high approval rating,” said infotrak.