, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 28 – A new opinion poll released on Thursday says 75 percent of Kenyans feel 2017 was worse than 2016.
According to the poll conducted by Trends and Insights For Africa (TIFA) Research, most of the 1,005 respondents sampled said their challenges ranged from political unrest, slow economic growth, job layoffs, inflation to high cost of living.
“The crisis in Kenya was not only evident in political tension but also in the wallets of many citizens who could not afford to purchase basic food commodities such as maize flour, milk and sugar, whose prices rose sharply and in some instances by over 200 per cent.
“2017 was the year when food prices became the yard stick for Kenya’s economic performance in the eyes of the ordinary mwananchi (citizen),” read the survey findings.
The main challenge faced in 2017 was the high cost of living as mentioned by 64 per cent of Kenyans followed by political tension (52 per cent) and then unemployment (25 per cent).
The doctors’ strike (17 per cent) was mentioned as a key challenge as they recall that thousands of Kenyan across the country were deprived of medical care for an extended period.
“In addition to Unga, other basic commodities whose prices shot up include milk, sugar, dry beans, and potatoes. It is therefore not surprising that the cost of living was a key concern amongst Kenyans as most households were forced to dig deeper into their pockets in order to meet their basic needs” TIFA CEO Maggie Ireri stated.
She added; “the job market in Kenya experienced layoffs in various sectors including banking, manufacturing, insurance, NGOs and retail. This is attributable to various factors, such as slow economic growth, political unrest, automation replacing people, inflation and high costs of doing business.”
Seventy nine percent of Kenyans felt that the economic conditions worsened in 2017 in comparison to 2016 with Nyanza recording the highest negative perception whilst the lowest mentions were in Rift Valley.
North Eastern, Coast and Nyanza had the highest proportion (81 per cent) of respondents mentioning that the cost of living worsened whilst Rift Valley had the lowest at 60 per cent mentions.
The poll which was conducted between December 12 and 16 shows that Kenyans say that the political climate, economic conditions, employment prospects, cost of living and internal security deteriorated in 2017.
“Considering that 2017 was an election year and that Kenyans voted twice, 81 per cent felt that the political climate worsened.”
“Rift Valley is an outlier as only 58 per cent were of the opinion that the political situation deteriorated – this could be an indicator that they did not feel the brunt of local and national politics in the same magnitude as other regions,” TIFA CEO observed.
Political tension has the highest incidence in North Eastern (71 per cent) followed by Nyanza and Coast both at 59 per cent mentions.