MPs in new bid to regulate opinion polls

December 8, 2011 2:42 pm

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 8 – A Bill that seeks to streamline the conduct and publication of electoral opinion polls has been formally introduced for debate in Parliament.

The Publication of the Electoral Opinion Polls Bill 2011 which has been sponsored by Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale is borne from the reality that publication of the electoral opinion polls results influence voters.

Khalwale said he had lobbied sufficient MPs to ensure support for the proposed legislation.

The Bill mandates the publisher to provide more information in case of release other than through broadcasting.

“The required information includes the wording of the opinion poll questions, the sampling methodology deployed and normalisation procedures used in deriving the results of the opinion poll,” he said.

This will be the second attempt by a group of MPs to regulate opinion polls ahead of the general election, after a similar attempt in September flopped.

He said there is need for a law to ensure that such electoral opinion polls are conducted in a scientific and transparent manner and all the relevant information disclosed to the public.

The Bill requires any initial publisher of the results of an electoral opinion poll to provide sufficient information to the public including; the name of the sponsor of the opinion poll, the name of the person who conducted the opinion poll and the population sample from which the respondents were drawn.

Garsen MP Danson Mungatana said that violation of the Act is an offence punishable by a fine not exceeding Sh500,000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year, or both.

“This clause is proposing that they can do all the opinion polls now but eight months towards the general elections we remove them,” he added when he argued in favour of the Bill.

Mungatana argued that opinion polls conducted towards an election titled the vote in favour of certain candidates.


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