By Macharia Kamau
NAIROBI, KENYA: Kenyan politicians are the number one destroyers of the Kenyan brand and are largely responsible for the negative image that the country gets locally and abroad.
According to a new survey, politicians rank higher in the hierarchy of brand destroyers than the terror group Al Shabaab and the illegal and divisive Mombasa Republican Council (MRC).
The Brand Kenya Board survey released recently also showed beach boys and civil society groups as the other destroyers of the Kenyan brand.
The respondents in the survey said beach boys are pestilent to tourists at the Kenyan coast while civil society groups expose the country’s weaknesses and rarely say anything positive about the country.
The Survey was done on Kenyan within and abroad as well as investors (local and foreign) and foreign nationals living in Kenya.
Other than brand destroyers, it also identified brand ambassadors credited with flying the Kenyan flag high.
These include sports personalities – especially athletes and rugby players – personalities like the late Wangari Maathai, well known Kenyan companies with operations in the region and the Kenya Defence Forces.
Other brand ambassadors identified by respondents in the survey are former president Mwai Kibaki, Evans Wadongo – a young man whose solar lantern innovation aims to change lighting among the rural poor – and Kenyan students abroad.
The Survey also found out that while a majority of Kenyans said they are proud to be Kenyan, they pointed out issues that made them ashamed of being Kenyan. These include food insecurity, high cost of living; corruption and non-issue based politics are among the issues that make Kenyans not so proud to be Kenyans.
A brand Kenya survey shows that despite a majority of Kenyans being proud of the country, there are issues that they consider thorny and need to be addressed with urgency.
Other issues cited that make Kenyans ashamed of their country tribalism, unemployment, insecurity and poor infrastructure.
The 2013 National Brand Audit, which presents perception of Kenyans about different issues that the country is grappling with, shows that 85 per cent of Kenyans are proud to be Kenyans.
Only five per cent of the respondents said they were ashamed to be Kenyan while 10 per cent were neither ashamed nor proud. Overall, 72 per cent of those sampled during the survey rated the country favourably.
The rosy rating however does not reflect “The respondents to the audit rated the country favourably with an overall National Brand Index of 72 per cent.
For the Kenyans within, the aspects that are of concern to them were corruption, high prices of essential services and commodities, non-issue based politics, tribalism and food insecurity,” said Brand Kenya Board in a just released National brand Audit.
“Kenyans in the diaspora identified poor leadership, corruption, poor planning, food insecurity, high cost of living, tribalism, unemployment as some of the challenges Kenya is faced with.”
“The investors’ concerns included taxation requirements which they consider not reasonable, poor road network, poor planning, limited investment in health services, tribalism, insecurity, political instability and high costs of doing business.”
According to the survey, foreign nationals in Kenya cited non-issue based politics, poor governance, tribalism and corruption as some of the main issues bedeviling the country. Data collection for the survey was done in January and February this year and in addition to individual respondents, questionnaires were also administered to key informant institutions.