Two in three Kenyans opposed to Raila’s maandamano – Tifa poll

Protesters run away from water released by a police’s water cannon vehicle during a mass rally in Kibera

Protesters run away from water released by a police’s water cannon vehicle during a mass rally called by the opposition leader Raila Odinga in Kibera, Nairobi on March 20, 2023.

Photo credit: Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP

Two in three Kenyans are opposed to Raila Odinga-led anti-government demonstrations, even as nearly half think that the country is headed in the wrong direction, especially with the skyrocketing cost of basic commodities, a new poll has shown.

The poll by TIFA showed that only 31 percent of Kenyans support the demonstrations that started this week, and which Mr Odinga now wants escalated to happen every Monday and Thursday.

The Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition party leader has said the protests are against the high cost of living, a demand to stop the ongoing recruitment of electoral commissioners, and the opening of the August 2022 IEBC server to audit the poll, which Mr Odinga says will prove he won the elections.

“Among the public as a whole, nearly two-thirds (64%) opposed the planned Azimio demonstrations. Even among their supporters, only slightly over half (56%) expressed support for these protests,” TIFA boss Maggie Ireri said of the poll.

The poll also showed that hardly any Kenyans (16 percent) believe such demonstrations can achieve their ultimate goal of removing the Ruto government, although three times as many Azimio supporters hold the view as do those of Kenya Kwanza (29 percent versus 9 percent).

The poll also shows that 48 percent of respondents think that the country was heading in the wrong direction, compared to 37 percent who say the country under the leadership of President Ruto was on the right track.

Sixty-nine percent of those who said the country was heading in the wrong direction based their decision on the current high prices of commodities, while eight percent reasoned around the drought and hunger.


Six percent of the respondents said that unemployment was making the country go in the wrong direction, the same with those who blame the poor leadership of the Kenya Kwanza administration.

The minority who believe that the country is heading in the right direction based their reasons around the stabilised economy (27 percent), good leadership (22 percent), and seven percent believe that the current government has created employment opportunities.

“Among those who consider Kenya’s current direction as wrong, and comparing the (quite few) of Kenya Kwanza supporters who support the planned Azimio demonstrations (15 percent of them) with the modest majority of Azimio supporters who do likewise (56 percent of them), it is clear their reasons for doing so are nearly identical: Their economic distress. Such distress includes especially the cost of living, hunger/drought, and joblessness. As such, there a clear economic (rather than a solely political) basis for the support for these protests,” TIFA said in the poll.

When asked about the impact that the proposed Office of the Opposition Leader will have in the National Assembly if created, 36 percent believe that it will strengthen the opposition side while 48 percent see it as a way of weakening the opposition.

Sixteen percent say that the creation of the office will not have any impact on the opposition.

The study was conducted between March 9 and 11 in nine zones including Central Rift, Coast, Lower Eastern, Mt Kenya, Nairobi, Northern, Nyanza, South Rift, and Western.

TIFA engaged 2,065 respondents during its study and the margin-of-error is 2.12 percent.


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