By Peter Orengo
Kenyans are to blame for governance challenges and poor leaders they elect to public offices, a new audit report by Strategic Research Company shows.
While the citizens were optimistic that the new constitution could solve most of their problems, they blamed the nation’s failure to realize her potential in all spheres since independence on poor leadership.
Most of the respondents interviewed in the survey mentioned unemployment, at 17.3 per cent, as the main economic problem facing Kenyans. On social issues, the respondents, mentioned tribalism and nepotism (22.8 per cent) and insecurity (12.2) as problems that need agent attention while less than half of them said poor governance (45.3 per cent) and corruption (19.8 per cent) as political problems facing Kenyans.
The survey was commissioned by Community Aid International and Jadili Coalition among the citizenry on the performance of the government on good governance and sought views on the direction the country should take in regard to the implementation of the new constitution.
In the survey, each county elicited economic problems within their areas that require immediate attention. It emerged that issues such as corruption, poverty, unemployment, tribalism among many others are all attributed to poor leadership.
Kenya Anti-corruption Commission (KACC) chairman PLO Lumumba who launched the report blamed Kenyans for choosing the kind of leaders who have continuously let them down.
"We have continued to use the ballot to elect semi-illiterate and visionless leaders who change into demi-gods once they are in the office. This time we must interrogate ourselves and do the right thing," said Lumumba.
He said the implementation of the new constitution calls for an over-haul of the political class since the current ones are busy fighting the implementation process.
"In order for ethnicity to be dealt with, we must first remove those who try to set us apart and seek for those who only stand of unity of Kenyans," said the KACC chairman.
Overall the citizens gave the government a satisfaction rating of a lowly 6.1 indexes. This was attributed to lack of commitment to address challenges confronting Kenyans.
"Poor leadership, which has given the nation poor governance over the years is viewed by majority as the cause of many historical injustices. This has hampered equitable distribution of resources nationwide," said Ceasar Handa, the Strategic Research Director.
In Mombasa county unemployment was the key economic problem. For those in Kisumu and Siaya counties, poor infrastructure was the main issue; in Kilifi, unemployment and poverty topped the list of concerns, while in Machakos, unemployment and poor infrastructure were key concerns.
But the satisfaction rating with regard to the confidence in the new constitution to address people’s problems was a high of 49.1 indexes. 79 per cent of those interviewed mentioned that the new constitution was going to change their lives while 17 per cent believed otherwise.
But more than a half (58 per cent) did not still understand the entire constitution while 19 per cent understood it well.
Slightly more than half (51.1 per cent) mentioned that they thought their communities had been active to demand for democracy and reforms.
To tackle the leadership crisis, Kenyans called for empowerment of citizens to reject poor leadership through vetting of aspiring candidates on integrity at both national and county levels.
The ability to recall non-performing MPs was cited by a quarter (23.2 per cent) of respondent as a priority measure provided for by the new constitution. About 17 per cent of Kenyans still think mass action and demonstrations would ensure government listens to them.
The survey was carried out among residents of 15 districts between October 2 and 15 last year.