Why Jubilee supporters will still vote Uhuru despite the country heading to a wrong path

On July 23rd Ipsos Synovate released the results of a national poll that had asked Kenyans how they’d vote in the forthcoming presidential elections. Part of the questions in that survey wanted to know if Kenyans considered the path the country had taken as the right path or the wrong path. Interestingly, 61% of Kenyans thought that the country was headed to the wrong direction. However, majority of those Kenyans, 47% of them, said that they would still vote Uhuru despite them agreeing that the country hadn’t been heading the right way.

There are some who saw that contradiction and used it to discredit the Ipsos Synovate research. Angela Ambitho of Infotrak Research also pointed to the contradiction when asked by Larry Madowo whether Kenyans should trust her research more. To Angela Ambitho, a well conducted research would have had a direct correlation between the questions “who will you vote for” and “do you think the country is headed to the right direction”.

Although I personally took issues with the Ipsos Synovate research, today while watching Kivumbi I got an insight as to why Jubilee supporters don’t tend to blame Uhuru Kenyatta for the direction the country has taken. In their today programming, Kivumbi asked residents of Nakuru and Laikipia about their economic lives and if those lives would influence their voting decisions. About four people were interviewed by KTN News reporters in each of those two counties.

In both of the counties, the residents acknowledged that their lives have been harder in the last four years, and that they will make their voices heard in the ballot by voting our their respective governors out of office. In Nakuru for instance, the incumbent governor Kinuthia Mbugua did not win the Jubilee nominations. He attempted to vie as an independent but was later persuaded by Uhuru to support Lee Kinyanjui who is running under Jubilee ticket. Voting out the incumbent is also the lesson the Laikipia residents have decided to teach their governor for making their lives harder.

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Having listened to the interviews, I now understand why Jubilee supporters agree with NASA supporters that the country is headed in a wrong direction, but will still vote Uhuru Kenyatta. In Jubilee quarters, as explained above, the person to blame for the high cost of living and lack of certain key services is the county government.

NASA on the other hand places the blame for the high cost of living on the presidency. This is a conclusion I arrived at by the virtue that not many NASA aligned governors will be shown the door as compared to Jubilee governors who will be rejected at the ballot.

The disparity here implies that the citizens haven’t actually been able to differentiate between the functions of county governments and those of the national government.

To offer some help in who is rightly to be blamed for particular hardships, I would advise that if there is a problem that seems to affect all Kenyans equally no matter which county they live in, then that problem has arisen due to incompetence of national government. The cost of living squarely falls on this category as it is largely a matter of fiscal discipline and policy – something that the national government has complete control over. If however there is a problem that seems to affect only the members of a particular county, like the never ending Nairobi traffic jams that don’t affect anyone in Turkana, then that’s the failure of that particular county government.

Punishing a governor due to incompetence of the national government is rather inhuman, and likewise punishing a presidential candidate due to the failures of a governor is equally heartless. Vote on the eighth of August, but vote wisely.

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Odipo Riaga
Managing Editor at KachTech Media
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