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Poll: Kenyans have little hope in 2024 amid tough economy

Members of public board a matatu along Ronald Ngala Street, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Nairobi]

The number of Kenyans who think the country is moving in the wrong direction has gone up, with only 30 per cent habouring any hope of a better 2024.

The number of dissatisfied citizens increased from 55 per cent in December last year to 61 per cent this year, dimming the hopes of many as the year draws to a close.

Twenty one per cent fear that next year will worsen while 19 per cent think things will remain the same.

New study by Infotrak Research and Consulting shows that three out of five Kenyans are unhappy with the country’s current trajectory, with women and youth leading the pack.

Even as a majority think the country was off-track, some 18 per cent Kenyans think that nation was headed the right direction, citing peace and unity, effectiveness of government, availability of infrastructure, fight against graft, among others.

Rising cost of living, unemployment and poverty ranks highest among the reasons many feel the country has veered off course standing at 93, 37 and 20 per cent respectively.

“The skyrocketing cost of living is a sentiment that has become a persistent drumbeat throughout the year. The ever-climbing price of basic necessities like food, housing and transportation is the deniable champion of concerns,” said Raphael Mulwa, policy and governance expert at Infotrak, while releasing the data.

“While the cost of living reigns supreme, unemployment also looms large, with many Kenyans wrestling with finding stable work. Poor governance and corruption further erodes trust while increased taxes and persistent poverty add weight to daily struggles.”

Kenyans who were hopeful about New Year are yearning for change in key issues of concern including the cost of living, corruption, food security, cost of doing business and poverty.

Majority feel that there is need to improve quality of health care and education, clean water and efficient disaster management, among others.

In the coming year, Kenyans are looking forward to good roads, reliable transportation networks and access to modern amenities.

Priority areas that many Kenyans want resolved in 2024 are the high cost of living, with 56 per cent listing it as their major concern, followed by high taxation at 36 per cent, cost of fuel at 33 per cent and unemployment at 27 per cent.

Others include access to affordable health care and corruption at 15 ad 13 per cent respectively.

Kenyans living in Nyanza and Western regions led the pack of those who expressed a sense of uneasiness in the direction the country is taking at 72 per cent and 69 per cent respectively.

Regions where many Kenyans think the nation is off-track include Nairobi, Coast and Eastern.

“As curtains close on 2023, a palpable sense of weariness hangs heavy over Kenya. Sixty two of Kenyans paint a picture of a year gone wrong labelling it as bad or terrible,” states the report.

Harsh Nyanza verdict

Further, it explains that 27 per cent of Kenyans think 2023 was an average year and only 11 per cent find it good or excellent.

In Nyanza, 71 per cent of Kenyans think it was a “terrible” year. Kenyans living in Nairobi and Coast regions echoe the pain of hardships followed by Western region.

Central and Eastern regions were resilient in the 2023 while North Eastern expressed optimism in the 2023 terming it as a “good year in a landscape dimmed by disappointments”.

Hopes that the economy could improve in 2024 rank the highest reasons for optimism at 77 per cent while those who are pessimistic that the economy would worsen further are 84 per cent.

The poll carried out between December 18 and 19 sampled 1,500 respondents from the 47 counties.

The survey was carried out through computer assisted telephone interviews with a 95 per cent degree of confidence.

 

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