, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 29 – The ruling by the High Court declaring Kadhis’ Courts illegal will not change the decision of majority of Kenyans during the August 4 referendum.
A survey conducted by Infotrak Harris between May 24 and 27 indicated that the decision would not affect the vote of 80 percent of the 1,200 respondents while 10 percent said it would impact their verdict.
Infotrak Harris CEO Angela Ambitho said on Saturday that the study had also revealed that 49 percent of Kenyans who intend to vote in the forthcoming referendum did not agree with the Kadhis’ Courts ruling.
“Forty nine percent said no, we don’t agree with the ruling;, 37 percent said they agree while 14 percent were not sure. Most of the ones who agreed with the ruling were from Nairobi while those who didn’t agree were from North Eastern and Coast provinces, perhaps where Kadhis’ Courts are most sensitive and prevalent,” she said.
She also added that there was a direct relationship between how Kenyans would vote and their understanding of the contents of the proposed new constitution.
Ms Ambitho who explained that the decision of the respondents to vote ‘No’ was most likely informed by their lack of knowledge, also asked the Committee of Experts to focus their civic education efforts on such people.
“If we look at the awareness levels by demographic groups, we find that there is a very close correlation between the lack of awareness and the intention to vote ‘No’. We note that in Eastern and Rift Valley provinces the awareness levels were low and those are the same provinces that have the highest incidences of people saying they will vote No,” she said.
The survey also indicated that more women than men would vote ‘No’ in the forthcoming referendum in relation to their lack of general understanding of the contents of the proposed law.
“They say the Constitution will have a lot of goodies for women…well, women don’t seem to know so. There are more women than men who intend to vote ‘No’. So we feel there needs to be more civic education in this regard,” she said.
Ms Ambitho further explained that more Kenyans would vote out of their own conscience as opposed to what their political or religious leaders said if the referendum were held today. However respondents who had not yet familiarised themselves with the proposed law’s contents said their vote was dependent on civic education campaigns.
The Infotrak Harris CEO also said that majority of Kenyans were not in favour of the clauses on abortion and Kadhis’ courts as proposed in the new law. They however applauded the devolution clause with a majority of those intending to vote ‘Yes’ attributing their vote to a new dispensation that would follow a positive referendum outcome.
Also, the study indicated that a majority of the youth in Kenya were conversant with the contents of the proposed law while the older generation was not.
“Seventy one percent of those aged between 18 and 24 will vote ‘Yes’; 64 percent of those aged 25 to 34 will also vote ‘Yes’. In fact, as you go down the age group radar the percentage of those who will vote ‘Yes’ declines. So it is the older age group that is more sceptical about whether they vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’,” she said.
Fifty one percent of the respondents were male while 49 percent were female. All those who participated in the study were registered voters who also planned to participate in the referendum.
The survey was conducted in all provinces in Kenya.