Kenya’s politicians least trusted in society, survey indicates

June 29, 2017 3:55 pm
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Senior Program officer at the Kenyan division of the firm Victor Rateng said that traditional media enjoys 88 per cent approval rating despite significant rise of social media as a form of relaying news/JEREMIAH WAKAYA

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 29 – The media, religious leaders and civil society organisations remain the most trusted by Kenyans, according to a new study released by Twaweza East Africa on Thursday.

Senior Program officer at the Kenyan division of the firm Victor Rateng said that traditional media enjoys 88 per cent approval rating despite significant rise of social media as a form of relaying news.

Social media however enjoys a significant level of trust from the citizens at 44 per cent, albeit doubts of the authenticity of content posted in social media accounts.

“There’re certain aspects of social media that are trustworthy but it also depends who has access to social media. That coupled with the fact that people do not see social media as necessarily reliable gives the traditional media an advantage,” Rateng said at the Twaweza offices in Westlands, Nairobi.

According to the study, politicians enjoy only 34 per cent of public trust cumulatively with only 6 per cent of those saying they had “a lot of trust in politicians”.

Twenty-nine per cent of those who said they trusted politicians in the poll that saw 1,714 respondents sampled indicated that they had “some trust” in politicians.

Senators are the lest trusted politicians at 46 per cent followed by Governors and Members of County Assembly who scored 53 and 52 per cent respectively in the survey dubbed “Constitution, Devolution and Inclusion : Citizens’ views on governance in Kenya” conducted in December 2016.

The poll also established that rural citizens are slightly more active in graft-prevention at 41 per cent with their urban counterparts’ anti-graft efforts being graded at 35 per cent.

The same situation obtains when it comes to asking leaders how public funds are being used, with rural folks leading at 44 per cent compared to urban dwellers who trailed almost ten points behind at thirty-five per cent.

The polls which has a margin or error of +/- 2.2 per cent further indicates that opposition parties are the greatest advocates for expansion of the democratic space in the nation at 28 per cent. The media, at 10 per cent, follows.

When asked, “To what extent do you think Kenya practices democracy?” 43 per cent of respondents said they did not even know what democracy stands for.

Twelve and 40 per cent of those who took part in the survey indicated that democracy was being practiced in the country to a large and small extend respectively.

One per cent of participants who acknowledged knowing what democracy is said they did not know how well it is being practiced.

The meaning of democracy appears to be lost to members of the female gender who account for 59 per cent of those who do not know what “the will of the people, by the people and for the people” meant.

Freedom of association, equity/justice, freedom of assembly and government by and for the people dominated the responses given at 15, 13 and 10 per cent respectively with other respondents saying democracy meant fair political competition.

The poll also indicates that 48 and 67 per cent of Kenyans believe that everyone is equal before the law and that the government respects freedom of expression. Fifty and 31 per cent of respondents disagreed on the two issues respectively.

Sixty-nine per cent of respondents also said that they had reasons to believe that the government interferes with how media operates, thirty per cent dissenting.

On freedom of expression, another sixty-nine percent believed the State allows people to enjoy rights of assembly and to demonstrate.

200 out of the possible 96,250 numeration areas countrywide were selected by Twaweza while selecting its sample population, Rateng indicated.

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