Kenyans prefer to directly elect PM

November 28, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 28 – Most Kenyans prefer to directly elect an Executive Prime Minister as opposed to allowing the party with the majority in Parliament to pick the powerful premier.

According to a survey released on Saturday by Synovate Research Company, 62 percent of Kenyans were against the party with the majority in Parliament electing the powerful PM.

“Only three in every 10 Kenyans prefer the party with the majority in Parliament to elect an Executive Prime Minister,” said Synovate Managing Director George Waititu.

He said most of Kenyans of high education qualifications preferred the direct election of an Executive Prime Minister.

“39 percent of those without formal education are in favour of a Prime Minister elected by his/her party. Over two thirds choose a popularly elected Prime Minister. The percentage of those who think there should be no Prime Minister is slightly higher among those who have completed tertiary (4 percent), secondary (5 percent) and primary education (5 percent), than those who have completed University (2 percent),” he explained.

He said based on their opinions Kenyans prefer a Prime Minister whom they will be accountable to the people and not his party.

Mr Waititu also said it was a strong indication that Kenyans are afraid of allowing such a powerful position to be left in the hands of the party with the majority in Parliament.

“This might suggest that Kenyans might want the Prime Minister to have a greater sense of accountability to the people, rather than his/her party. It is also possible that Kenyans think it is risky to allow election of such a powerful position to the mercies of the biggest party in Parliament,” he said.
But he said that 5 percent of Kenyans would like the position of the Prime Minister to be eliminated. 

Unfortunately most Kenyans have not accessed the draft constitution two weeks after its launch.

Mr Waititu said only 13 percent of the 1,007 adult Kenyans interviewed said they had received a copy of the draft.

“Nine in every 10 Kenyans (87 percent) have not yet accessed a complete copy of the draft constitution. These findings affirm concerns from pressure groups that many Kenyans might not get an opportunity to read a copy and provide feedback,” said he.

Due to a lack of accessibility he said many Kenyans relied on the media and on politicians’ views for them to provide feedback.

Nairobi had the highest percentage of people who had received the copy with a mere 9 percent, followed by Western Province which had 8 percent of the population receiving a copy.

82 percent of people in Coast, 84 percent in North Eastern and 85 percent of the population in Nyanza said they had not received a copy of the constitution in the phone interviews conducted on Thursday.

But among those who have completed university, 42 percent were recorded to have received a full copy of the harmonised draft.

The Committee of Experts on the Constitution Review had earlier said that the drafts would be availed to most Kenyans by end of next week.

However, there are sections in the public who have urged Parliament to amend the law to increase the 30 days given to Kenyans to read the constitution saying it was not enough for everyone to understand its contents.


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