The Star (Nairobi)

8 July 2013

Kenya: Elections Were Not Free and Fair, Says Pollster

INFOTRAK Research and Consulting CEO Angela Ambitho said majority of Kenyans believe that the March 4 general elections were not free and fair

Ambitho, referring to the company's survey on public perception of the management of the elections, said delayed voting due technical hitches, inadequate voting material and incompetent IEBC staff at polling stations played a role in discrediting the election outcome.

Violence in and around polling centers and delays in announcing provisional and the final results also contributed to the negative survey results.

"Kenyans equate lack of violence to fairness in polls but critical problems and areas of concern need to be addressed to restore confidence in the exercise. It is not just the absence of violence that defines a fair process," Gladwell Otieno of Africa Center for Governance said.

Africig commissioned the survey.

However, Ambitho said many of those interviewed believe that the Jubilee government will treat all Kenyans fairly.

"Levels of confidence in different institutions vary between the regions. There's no single institution which cuts across the region on a more or less same level of confidence," Ambitho said.

"Unemployment is an issue that affects all regions with the exception of North Eastern which has Insecurity as its major concern."

The latest poll contradict the Supreme Court ruling on a petition filed by former Prime Minister Raila Odinag towards the end of March this year that the elections were free, fair and therefore valid.

The survey revealed that many Kenyans do not have faith in the Supreme Court, IEBC and Chief Justice Willy Mutunga.

The Supreme Court got a 21 per cent rating in confidence with great support coming from Rift Valley and Central provinces which are the Jubilee alliance's strongholds. Rift Valley gave the court a 71 per cent not while Central rated its performance at 75 per cent.

Nairobi, Nyanza, Western and Coast ranked the court at 30 per cent, 10 per cent, 14 per cent and 20 per cent.

The low level of confidence in these areas is attributed to the fact that Cord which enjoys great support in the areas was unhappy with the ruling.

Just before the elections, Kenyans had great confidence in the courts especially after the reforms that led to the establishment of the Supreme Court and how the courts handled the 2007 election petitions.

Mutunga was appreciated more in Rift Valley and Central regions at 67 per cent and 71 per cent. The support however, dipped in Nyanza, western and Coast at 8, 14 and 15 per cent.

IEBC enjoyed good ratings in Rift Valley (73 per cent) and Central Kenya (78 per cent). The reverse was witnessed in Cord strongholds, Nyanza (14 percent), Western (15 percent) and Coast (23 percent). Nairobi had 31 per cent approval for the electoral body.

The survey was conducted in 32 counties between May 24 and 28 with 2343 respondents. The figures were developed using the Biometric Voter Register with a margin of error of +/-1.9. Telephone and face to face interviews were used to collect data.

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