March 5, 2014


With jobs scarce, the cost of living rising, corruption seemingly uncontrollable, its no surprise trust in political leaders is dropping.

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Polling suggests public trust in political leaders is dropping

Polling suggests public trust in political leaders is dropping

Public trust in our political leaders appears to have plunged in the last three months according the latest opinion poll results. No surprise there perhaps but taken together with other recent events and factors it is significant.


The poll by Ispos Synovate shows Uhuru Kenyatta’s approval rating dropping from the 53 percent of respondents who when asked last November said they trusted the president, down to 41 percent in the latest survey. Deputy President Ruto’s ratings fell from 48 to 38 percent over the same period and those for Raila Odinga from 37 to 25 percent (and the poll was conducted before the ODM internal election fiasco at the end of last week).


Loss of public confidence in Kenya’s leaders in government is not surprising. Inflation continues to rise aided and abetted by the introduction of VAT on many hitherto untaxed items; jobs are scarce; the crime situation continues to worsen; corruption at all levels seems to be thriving; and one chaotic cock-up follows another – Westgate, the rail tender, devolution in melt down. Meanwhile MPs, and county representatives continue to lavish more money… on themselves. Only Lupita Nyong’o brightens our lives!


Raila Odinga’s standing in the public eye must surely have diminished further after the disgraceful scenes witnessed live on television as the “men in black” smashed ballot boxes and destroyed ballot papers at ODM’s Kasarani gathering last Friday, forcing the conference and elections to be terminated.

Now CORD/ODM is split down the middle and facing another period of internecine fighting. Today the press report the sacking, or resignation, depending which report to believe, of Odinga’s aide and campaign manager Eliud Owalo amidst much recrimination.


Macharia Gaitho, not a journalist one has often seen going against Raila Odinga, wrote a stinging opposite editorial piece on Saturday in The Daily Nation (‘ODM party election fiasco a sad reflection of politics Kenyan style’), saying that the ODM leader is ‘in perpetual self-destruct mode’ and stating that the “men in black” ‘thugs’ were ‘clearly identified with Mr Odinga’s political machinery’.


This is all worrying for Raila Odinga but it must also be of concern to Kenyans whether they be ODM supporters or not. Good government can be improved by the objective criticism of a strong opposition; bad government can be checked by the same. CORD/ODM is the only nationwide political force Kenya’s has at present and we need it to its job as the main opposition.

CORD/ODM lost the last election, at least in part, by failing to register their supporters in sufficient numbers, or campaign effectively, because the party was too busy being involved with internal squabbles, nominations and a “who gets what” mentality even before the election was held.

Kenyans need better government than we are getting at present and for that to be achieved also requires an active and more coherent opposition: we have neither at the moment.


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