NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 30 – Information and Communication Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo has asked pollsters to make public details about their funding.
Ndemo accused the pollsters of misleading Kenyans by claiming that they are funding themselves yet they are profit-making business organisations.
“These are private organisations. They must disclose how they were funded. They don’t fund themselves. Why would you be funding yourselves? What gain do you get?”
“If say the University of Nairobi did that you would understand because it is a public institution.”
The Electoral Opinion Polls Act 2012 requires opinion pollsters to provide the name of the sponsor of the opinion polls together with their results.
The Act also requires pollsters to make know the population from which the respondents were drawn and the methodology used.
Ndemo is of the opinion that until now, the information provided by the pollsters has not been detailed enough.
“The polling companies must be very careful with the methodologies that they are using. If you see the arguments they fall around what method was used.”
If they fall short of these requirements, the opinion pollsters are, “liable to a fine not exceeding Sh500,000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year, or to both,” according to Section 8 of the Act.
The information Permanent Secretary also called on Kenyans not to put too much faith in the opinion polls for the reason that they in many instances do not meet set international standards.
“Polling in Africa still has some time to develop. It is very complex to fully rely on polling in Africa. They are indicative but they cannot be taken to be absolutely reliable.”
Ndemo cautions that expecting the elections to mirror the outcomes of opinion polls could cost the country a peaceful election especially as the true meaning of the findings could get lost in translation.
“What do you call opinion polling in your language?” Ndemo posed. “And you are learned. Now take it to someone who hasn’t gone to school.”
“If you are told so and so is winning in vernacular and then results come in another way how do you explain? That is the problem.”
The PS has asked opinion pollsters to exercise restraint given the law permits them to release findings on the mood of the electorate up until two days to the election date.
“What they are interested in is what would provoke arguments to promote their brands.”