Politics and policy
Kenyans prefer December elections- polls
The majority of Kenyans prefer a December General Election, two opinion polls released Wednesday show.
The polls conducted separately by Ipsos Synovate and Infotrak Harris, place those wish to have the polls conducted in December 2012 at 72 percent and 64 percent respectively.
In the Synovate study that was conducted between March 23 and 30 this year, only five percent of the 2,024 respondents said they wanted the polls to be held in August this year.
However, in both polls, 12 percent of the respondents were in agreement that the General Election should be held in March next year as was determined by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Ipsos Synovate’s managing director Maggie Ireri said preference for a December 2012 poll is high across various parts of the country with Nyanza having the highest – at 80 percent. It is closely followed by Western (74), Nairobi (73), Rift Valley (73), Coast (69), Central (64) as well as North Eastern (59).
“The main reason given by those in favour of the December poll as the election date is that this is a less busy period of the year thus people are available to vote,” said Mrs Ireri.
“In the past, schools have been used as polling stations and it is not surprising that 28 percent of Kenyans would like the date to be during the school holidays so that learning is not interrupted."
Ms Ireri said those who prefer the March 2013 date argue that it will allow them adequate time for preparations of the elections while others felt that it was in line with the court ruling.
In the Infotrak Harris Poll, 16 percent of the 2,400 respondents want the polls to be held in August this year.
Angela Ambitho, the company’s CEO said 74 percent of those who preferred the elections to be held in August stressed on the need to adhere and respect the Constitution, while another ten percent said they wanted to "avoid violence during the holiday season".
“Those who support a March 2013 election said the IEBC was not ready and needed time to prepare boundaries, while others – three percent – said the court had decided the date," said Ms Ambitho.
She said of those who prefer a December poll, 51 percent of them said it was a long holiday and many Kenyans were therefore free to vote, 44 percent of them said Kenyans were used to voting in December while another two percent said there was need to give the IEBC time to adequately prepare for the elections.