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State House Nairobi dismisses opinion poll on Uhuru Kenyatta’s popularity

By Rawlings Otieno | March 29th 2016

NAIROBI: State House has dismissed a survey that suggested President Uhuru Kenyatta is the most popular for the presidency in the 2017 General Election.

It also suggested President Kenyatta, despite being popular, will not secure a first-round win.

State House Director of Communications Munyori Buku said the Infotrak opinion poll was designed to advance “the recurring theme of the 2017 political propaganda” that next year’s General Election will be a two-horse race between Jubilee and CORD, and that a runoff between the two top candidates will be inevitable.

The other motive, he added, was to imply that in CORD, Raila Odinga was the best bet over the rest.

“Angela Ambitho is the queen of opinion poll propaganda. Just before the election season kicks in, she is recalled to position and re-position presidential aspirants and political parties. She has been in the game since 2007 and this time round, the schemes and the conspiracies are no different,” Mr Munyori claimed.

He added: “But this fantasy will come to fail. President Kenyatta continues to serve the people of Kenya. With the ongoing transformation in the country, he will soar above the 2013 numbers,” he added.

Also not in agreement with the poll is Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress, which has accused Infotrak of manufacturing numbers to tilt public perception towards a particular candidate.

ANC said pollsters should declare their source of funding if indeed it is in public interest.

ANC Secretary General Geoffrey Osotsi said the poll results released on Sunday showing Uhuru as ahead at 45 per cent was the most dishonest and disorganised in terms of deliberate biases, inconsistencies and fallacies.

The pollster had put Mr Mudavadi at 0.5 per cent popularity, way below former presidential hopeful Peter Kenneth with 2.2 per cent.

“It is unfortunate that a pollster would fall prey to a well-crafted scheme to pigeonhole voters, especially regions and ethnic groups into a two-horse electoral architecture that serves the interest of the men of power at the expense of reality, people’s rights and democracy in an electoral process,” said Mr Osotsi.

The party, he said, was preparing a petition to the National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee seeking to come up with a legislation to regulate opinion polls.

ANC argued that pollsters should openly declare that they are “propaganda wings tricking Kenyans to doctored narratives of trends that are paranormal.

“ANC will soon be petitioning Parliament come up with a legislation to regulate opinion polls. This madness must be arrested and cured for the good of the country,” he said.

Osotsi wondered how the dormant former presidential candidates could outsmart the active ones in a poll where all leading aspirants come from the same region.

He also queried why people who have never declared candidature are rated on the same platform as the declared ones, and the undeclared outpoint the declared.

Mr Osotsi also claimed that the depiction of other top politicians scoring combined percentage popularity far less than the second-rated aspirant, Raila, was not an accident.

“It is like the piper held a gun on the pollster and ordered her to ensure Raila will be their opponent and Ruto be put in his place. Uhuru’s score at 45 per cent is ridiculous when his government is at its worst confidence levels,” said Osotsi.

At the same time, Raila’s Orange Democratic Movement said the Infotrak poll was irrelevant and diversionary, adding that the only opinion poll that can add value is the rating of the Jubilee government on its performance.

“As we speak, who’s Uhuru running against to warrant a rating? Who else is campaigning apart from Uhuru? The only time an opinion poll can make sense is once all political parties have nominated their presidential candidates,” said ODM’s Political Affairs Secretary Opiyo Wandayi.

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