, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 14 – Sixty-two per cent of Kenyans would not support an amendment to Article 140 of the Constitution which allows the Supreme Court to nullify a presidential election and order for a fresh one within sixty days.
A new study conducted by Ipsos between October 14 and 22 indicates that only thirty per cent of 2,006 respondents sampled across 47 counties would support an amendment to slash the powers of the apex court with seven per cent of the sampled population retaining their opinion.
The opinion poll published on Tuesday, however, indicates that supporters of the ruling Jubilee Party are divided on the matter at 46 per cent for and against, with 82 per cent of National Super Alliance (NASA) stalwarts supporting the status quo against 12 per cent favouring an amendment.
Eight and six per cent of Jubilee and NASA followers respectively did not disclose their opinion on the matter.
The survey also reveals that Jubilee and NASA remained the dominant political formations ahead of the fresh presidential election on October 26.
48 per cent of the respondents sampled felt closest to Jubilee whereas 39 per cent felt aligned to NASA.
With a sampling error of +/- 2.16 and a 95 per cent degree of confidence, the Ipsos poll indicates that 59 per cent of Kenyans have confidence that presidential petitions filed at the Supreme Court would be decided fairly without political interference.
Twenty-one and nineteen per cent of those who took part in the poll thought political or financial interference would affect the court’s ability to render a fair decision.
Confidence levels were high among NASA supporters at 72 per cent. Only 50 per cent of Jubilee supporters said the outcome of future petitions would be fair.
Twenty nine per cent of the pro-Jubilee respondents registered doubts on whether the court would render a fair judgment in future petitions. 20 per cent were not sure.
Among NASA-allied respondents, only twelve per cent felt the court would not issue a fair verdict in future petitions, sixteen per cent of them casting doubts.
Sixty-one per cent those who took part in the study hailed the nullification of the August 8 presidential election by the Supreme Court saying that it demonstrated the supremacy of the Constitution above every institution and person.
Thirty-one per cent of respondents, however, disagreed arguing that the ruling by the apex court on September 1 undermined the will of a majority of Kenyans who cast their ballots in the invalidated poll.
Again, the support for the ruling was highest among NASA supporters polling at 85 per cent against 11 per cent who felt the ruling undermined the will of the electorate.
Among Jubilee supporters, only forty per cent felt the September 1 decision strengthened democracy in the country by safeguarding the supremacy of the Constitution and independence of constitutional bodies.
Fifty per cent of respondents allied to Jubilee, however, felt the invalidation of the August presidential election undermined the will of the electorate.
With the awareness of the ruling pegged at 84 per cent by the pollster, only 68 per cent of respondents felt the annulment of the presidential election was based on the evidence presented before the court.
Twenty eight per cent of those sampled felt the annulment was based on a perceived political inclination of the judges who they said favored the petitioners, NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga and running mate Kalonzo Musyoka.
Jubilee supporters were divided on the issue with 44 per cent of them saying the outcome of the Odinga-Kalonzo petition was based on evidence adduced before the court against 50 per cent who felt politics had a hand in the ruling.
Ninety three per cent of NASA supporters sampled believe there was compelling evidence to warrant the nullification of the election, according to the survey by Ipsos. Five per cent felt the ruling was political.
The opinion poll reveals that 71 per cent of the nation was surprised by the annulment of the presidential election.
The surprise levels were highest among Jubilee supporters at 86 per cent, the same pegged at 57 among NASA followers.
The poll came at a time when the Supreme Court convened a pre-trial conference on Tuesday as the hearing of three presidential petitions arising from a fresh presidential election conducted on October 26 during which President Uhuru Kenyatta was re-elected.
The court has until November 20 to rule on the petitions.
Should President Kenyatta’s victory be upheld by the court, he will be sworn in on November 28.