Do you recall one of the jokes that used to be narrated in the early 1990s about Kenyan security forces? Well, allow me to remind you.
In an effort to determine the top crime agency in the country, the President tasked the leading teams in CID, GSU and Kenya Police to catch a hyena, which was released into the expansive Ngong Forest.
The CID went into the forest, placed animal informants everywhere and questioned all plants and mineral witnesses. After three months of extensive investigation, they concluded hyenas don’t exist.
The GSU went into the forest and after two weeks with no capture, they burnt the forest, killing everything in it including the hyena. They made no apologies; the hyena deserved it. The Kenya Police went into the forest and came out two hours later with a badly beaten dog that was yelling, “okay, okay, I confess that I’m a hyena!”
Recently, I remarked that an independent political pollster in Kenya is like a hunted creature. And depending on how one looks at things, we can be equated to the hyena or the dog. While it seems like a no brainer that in an election year frequent presidential popularity polls are an exigency, various presidential aspirants either directly or through their supporters and hirelings have come out to strongly to malign and condemn the poll statistics, the polling firm(s) and indeed the individual pollster(s) through rallies, talk shows, articles and social media.
In manners unbecoming of persons seeking the highest office in the land, they have used unsubstantiated claims, innuendos and cheap propaganda to try and bring our reputations into constant disrepute. Indeed from my personal experience over the last couple of months, I have concluded that just like in the joke, there are three kinds of aspirants.
The first lot remind me of the CID who act quietly and use various persons to do their dirty work. These aspirants no longer publicly come out to condemn polls much as their intolerance for our numbers is perhaps the highest. They use hirelings in strategic places to disseminate propaganda at every turn and especially when we release polls.
Their campaigns seem to be well oiled and ruminate of James Bond movies where the bad guys resort to extremes to achieve the desired goal. Should the numbers not please this lot, they resort to “no holds barred tactics” which would literally ensure some of us like the dog cease to exist.
The second lot of presidential aspirants are no better. Like the GSU, they bask in the glory of impunity and the “mpende msipende” culture.
Unlike the first lot, they are silent operators, they make piercing and in certain cases alarming remarks on pollsters. Most of their statements on opinion polls include a chorus on how they believe the statistics contributed to the 2007 post-election violence.
They are vindictive and often seem to wallow in the miasma of self-importance. In their eyes, the popularity polls will never be good until and unless they are in the lead. Indeed, left to their whims, these aspirants would quickly smoke some of us out of existence and declare without any apology that opinion polls were never and will never be good for Kenya.
The last lot of aspirants are often the quickest to condemn the polls. No sooner do we release numbers than they will be spitting vitriol. If they are not insinuating that we are mere guns for hire who inevitably sing the tune of the so-called masters who pay us, they are crying foul on the professional competence of the pollsters.
- Editorial Cartoon : 20.06.2013
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