Most Kenyans think country headed in the wrong direction

Nearly two-thirds of Kenyans think the country is headed in the wrong direction, with seven in 10 citing the high cost of living as the biggest reason, a new poll shows.

According to the Infotrak poll, some 64 percent of Kenyans think the country is headed in the wrong direction, with only 18 percent saying it is on the right track.

At least 11 percent cite poor governance as the reason for “wrong direction”, with bad politics, corruption, unemployment, poverty, insecurity and crime listed as between four and one per cent as contributing to the feeling of the country not doing well.

At least 16 percent think Kenya is not headed in the right or wrong direction, with two per cent saying they do not know where the country is heading.

Funded by the Nation Media Group, the poll was conducted on May 8 and 9, sampling 2,400 respondents in 47 counties in computer-assisted phone interviews.

It had a two per cent margin of error with a 95 percent degree of confidence.

In terms of political party affiliation, 70 percent of those that identify with Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) lead among those who believe Kenya is headed in the wrong direction.

The DP has rebelled against President Uhuru Kenyatta, blaming him for the high cost of living, rising prices of fuel and basic commodities, the country’s increased debt and an unresponsive government.

President Kenyatta, on the other hand, accuses his deputy of neglecting duty and refusing to offer advice needed to run the country, even as he insists that Dr Ruto ought to have resigned and let him appoint a loyal person willing to work with him.

Mr Kenyatta has thrown his weight behind Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition leader Raila Odinga, who he says, is the best person to succeed him.

This, it has been argued, has tied Mr Odinga’s fortunes with those of President Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party, including the burdens of an incumbency that like the high cost of living, joblessness and a rising debt.

Perhaps not as a surprise, as every Kenyan feels the pinch of the high cost of living, three in five (or 59 percent) of those that identified as Mr Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) supporters also think the country is not heading in the right direction.

At least 53 percent of Jubilee supporters polled think the country is not doing well, same to 66 per cent of Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper Party backers.

About 51 percent of Kenyans who identify as supporters of parties other than the big four also say the country is headed in the wrong direction.

By gender, some 65 percent of women and 63 percent of men say things are headed south.

Kenyans aged 18-24 and those in the 46-55 age bracket feel more strongly that the country is not doing well – at 65 percent – with 62 percent of those aged more than 55 having the same thoughts.

At 70 percent, residents of Western are the most dissatisfied with the direction the country is taking.

They are closely followed by those of Rift Valley and Nyanza (66 percent), Nairobi and Mt Kenya (65 percent), with the Coast coming last at 54 percent.

Dr Ruto is seeking to inherit President Kenyatta’s Mt Kenya base to use in his August presidential bid, while Mr Odinga firmly controls Nyanza.

He still leads in Coast where Dr Ruto has recently made inroads.

Four in five residents of Nairobi (78 percent) – the highest in the country – cite the high cost of living as the reason for their pessimism, with North Eastern leading (26 percent) among those that cite poor governance.

In the Infotrak poll, only 18 per cent of Kenyans think the country is headed in the right direction.

At 31 per cent, those who identify as Jubilee supporters are the most optimistic on the direction the country is taking, followed by those from other parties, at 27 percent, ODM (22 percent), Wiper (16 percent), and UDA followers having the fewest at 14 percent.

Of the 18 per cent that think the country is doing well, two fifths (39 percent) cite the fact that there is peace in Kenya for their answer.

At least 15 percent say it is because of good infrastructure, devolution (11 percent), Kenyans living in harmony (10 percent), the economy doing well (nine per cent) and the Executive doing a good job (five per cent).

At 42 percent, North Eastern is the most optimistic about the direction Kenya is headed, with 57 percent of the residents citing peace and 11 percent devolution. Nyanza comes a distant second in terms of optimism, at 22 percent.

Only 13 percent of Western and Eastern Kenya residents think the direction the country is taking is the right one.

Central leads in its approval of the direction the country is headed, with 22 percent of residents citing good infrastructure for their answer.