Kenyan leaders told to heed polls

February 24, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 24 – United States Ambassador Michael Ranneberger on Tuesday urged local leaders to heed concerns raised by Kenyans in opinion polls.

He said opinions expressed in surveys were a call to policy makers to take action and address issues raised especially on corruption, which still runs deep in the government.

“The opinions by Kenyans are a wake-up call to this Coalition Government. And even MPs need to take Kenyans seriously. Kenyans want to see fundamental changes – this include tackling corruption,” he said.

According to a Steadman Poll released on Monday, 71 per cent of Kenyans said there were ministers in the Coalition Government who should resign to allow for investigations over corruption allegations.

The survey also indicated that 70 per cent of those interviewed said the Kibaki-Raila administration had achieved nothing in its first year in office.

Mr Ranneberger said the opinion polls held a lot of information that policy makers should use to work to the satisfaction and expectations of Kenyans.

He also pointed out at the failed Motion that was seeking to establish a Special Tribunal as an important issue that the government should address to the satisfaction of the civil society, MPs and the public.

“Immediately after that Bill, the Coalition should have said… you know we screwed up, we will consult the civil society, the parliamentarians, we will set up this tribunal in Kenya but we will do it in a way that it is credible to the Kenyan people,” he said.

The Ambassador also asked the Kenyan leadership to listen to religious leaders who last week openly criticised the government for its failure to act on corruption and perform to the expectations of the people.

He said it would be unwise for the government to ignore the concerns raised by any Kenyan.

Mr Ranneberger was speaking during the launch of a Gallup World Poll office in Nairobi.  Gallup is an international polling company with its headquarters in US.

He said the company was expected to start its operations in Kenya in July this year.  It’s entry into the Kenyan market will add to already existing pollsters which include Steadman, Synovate and Infotrak.

Gallup Chairman Jim Clifton said the company would examine topical issues especially those affecting Kenyans.

According to Gallup’s researches, unemployment, poverty and insecurity are Kenya’s top social worries.


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