The General Elections in Kenya are on the way coming. The year 2017 will be a defining moment to Kenya where the country is going to judge the performance of the current government and then decide whether to give it another five years in office or give a chance to another team to lead the country. It is now slightly above one year before the next general elections and the political heat is already mounting. The season of words is already setting in and people are busy selling what they thing the electorate ought to hear.
Opinion polls have been in existence since time immemorial and in many developed countries, opinion polls have been widely use to make key administrative decisions including national budgeting. In the United States of America, for instance, opinion polls have been said to be key determinant of any presidential elections. Kenya is no stranger in opinion polls especially whenever the elections are around the corner. The question, therefore, is, what is the credibility of the Kenya’s opinion polls? Who regulates the activities of opinion polls and what are some of the effects of opinion polls to the economy of the country?
The recently released opinion poll by infotrack has attracted criticism from both the ruling party and the opposition. The poll ranked some perceived presidential aspirants and the perceived percentage of votes that the said individuals are likely to get if elections were held today. Infotrack was at pain to explain at how it reached to its conclusions and how it evades political interference so as to favor some people in the ‘high places.’
Opinion polls often raise unnecessary anxieties in the country. Most of the opinion polls in Kenya are political oriented and ranking of candidates often sets a country into a political frenzy. The greatest mistakes that most opinion polls usually do is ranking participants in terms of tribes and which tribe will vote for who and which tribe is unlikely to vote for who. This has led to some tribes to leave in fear if for instance, things go as predicted by the opinion poll or against.
The government in the recent months has been blamed for concentrating its development projects to certain regions at the expense of other regions. Looking at this keenly, it all emanates from the opinion polls. During the past General Election, opinion polls divided the country into regions and indicated which regions would likely vote immensely either for the current government or the opposition and looking at many decisions that have been undertaken by the government, they go hand in hand with opinion polls.
Article by Juma Fred.