William Ruto should do more to lower the cost of living, opinion poll shows

A family shares a meal. [Courtesy, Facebook]

President William Ruto has partially delivered on his 100-day-in-office pledges but needs to put more emphasis on economic recovery, a new poll shows.

The survey released by Infotrak yesterday awarded President Ruto a 52.1 per cent score on his performance within the first 100 days, which lapsed on December 23. It was conducted between December 21 and December 22, with 840 respondents being interviewed.

Immediately after he was sworn in, the president made an array of pledges to be implemented in the short term, touching on thematic areas such as infrastructure, governance, gender and equality, and economic recovery.

According to the Infotrak “Voice of the People” poll, which generated a citizenry scorecard on the Head of State’s 100 days in office, the 52.1 per cent was ranked as grade C, meaning his performance needs improvement.

Infotrak Chief Executive Officer Angela Ambitho, speaking during the release of the poll, said most Kenyans felt Ruto had overall not performed well on his economic pledges and needed to focus more on the same.

Kenyans ranked his delivery on economic pledges at 49.2 per cent. The report noted that while Ruto had performed well in reverting port operations to Mombasa and appointment of six judges rejected by former President Uhuru Kenyatta, he had failed in making food accessible and affordable or lowering the cost of living.

The respondents however felt Ruto had delivered on his Sh50 billion Hustler fund pledge and graded it at 55.8 per cent.

They were also pleased by the allocation of funds to county governments to support selected economic activities and graded it 55.3 per cent. It was followed by the increase of tax collections through the use of technology, which got a score of 52.9 per cent.

Kenyans, however, felt not enough had been done to improve the lives of low-income earners and Ruto was graded at 49.6 per cent on the same.

Ruto’s worst performance, the poll showed, was on his pledge to reduce the cost of living and make food affordable and accessible to all Kenyans, which scored 42 per cent and 39.6 per cent, respectively. “The president needs to prioritise lowering the cost of living and making food more accessible. These emerged as the two most important issues for Kenyans,” said Ambitho.

President Ruto’s achievements in governance were graded at 55.9 per cent. He scored 57.2 per cent for appointment of six judges and 54.5 for reforming institutions involved in justice, law and order.

On ensuring gender equality, Ruto was ranked at 52.5 per cent. Key issues under this thematic area included establishment of women’s right agency in the office of the President (53.6 per cent), implementing two-thirds gender rule (52.5 per cent), and fair appointment of women in senior public positions (52.4 per cent).

A majority of Kenyans felt Ruto had done well in delivering on his infrastructure pledge.

In line with his manifesto, the president had promised to revert port operations to Mombasa within his first 100 days in office, which he did. He was awarded a 59.9 per cent ranking.

Kenyans from Eastern region gave the president the highest score (55.7 per cent) in his first 100 days in office. They were followed by those in Central (55 per cent) and Rift Valley (53.2 per cent).

Those in Nyanza region gave the president the lowest score at 46.9 per cent followed by Nairobi at 48.6 per cent and Coast at 50.3 per cent.

A review of other key areas such as social sector showed that Ruto performed averagely; this includes enhancement of access to quality and affordable education, affordable healthcare for all, accessibility to clean water, and inclusion of marginalised groups such as women, youth, and people living with disability.

This also extended to his performance in supporting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and in the reduction of the prices of key commodities such as unga, fuel, etc, where citizens felt he had performed averagely and gave him a 45.2 per cent score.