Why most Kenyan MPs face 2012 defeat
Kenyan voters would reject more than a half of MPs if a General Election were held today. The voter’s anger is driven by what is perceived as failed promises and mismanagement of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), according to the results of the latest poll by Infotrak Harris released in Nairobi on Friday.
MPs representing constituencies in Nyanza and Western regions should be most worried with the trend as their voters seem to be the most dissatisfied with their representatives.
In Nyanza for example, 77 per cent of those interviewed said they would throw out their present MPs if the election was conducted today.
The trend in Western showed 67 per cent of voters were unhappy with their MPs.
The trend, though similar to previous trends when more than 60 per cent of MPs have been rejected at the General Election should worry MPs as it indicates that they may find it difficult getting re-elected even if they were to switch to newly created posts such as that of Senator and County Governor.
According to the survey, 63 per cent of Kenyans are yearning for new faces in Parliament under the new constitution.
The bone of the contention is that many of the MPs have reneged on promises made during the 2007 campaigns.
“Failure to fulfill pre-election pledges is the main reason why voters are dissatisfied with the MPs” Ms Angela Ambitho said when releasing the poll in Nairobi on Friday.
Approximately six in ten of those who indicated that they would not re-elect their MPs attributed it to undelivered promises and poor management of CDF.
The poll was conducted between May 27 and June 2, and interviewed 2,400 people in both urban and rural districts.
In 2007 more than 65 per cent of the sitting MPs were voted out and signs are that history could repeat itself next year.
Undelivered promises topped the list of voter concerns with 57 per cent of those polled citing it, followed by poor management of CDF at 35 per cent.
Voters have in the past raised concern over the management of CDF blaming corruption, politics and poor workmanship for the hundreds of stalled CDF projects in the country.
In the current financial year, the Treasury set aside Sh3.7 billion to wrap up work under kitty in preparation for the new constitutional order after next year’s elections.
The money to the CDF Board is to lay ground for handover of the projects to 47 county governments to be established under the new order.
The allocation averaging Sh17.8 million per constituency, if approved by Parliament, will go towards completing classrooms, equipping boreholes, hospitals and even public toilets in some areas.
All the projects have to be completed in the current financial year.
Without the Sh3.7 billion top-up, the total CDF allocation in the current fiscal year is Sh19 billion – an average of Sh90.5 million per constituency. In some constituencies the money has been misappropriated in a complex collusion involving MPs, Constituency CDF management and constructors.
Other reasons for discontent, according to the poll, are corruption (16 per cent), inaccessibility to constituents (11 per cent), poor leadership (9 per cent), poor participation in parliamentary proceedings (4 per cent) and arrogance (3 per cent).
The youth, aged between 18-35 years, represented the biggest percentage (81 per cent) of the dissatisfied Kenyans plotting to send the current MPs packing.
Gender analysis also showed that more males (59 per cent) than females (41 per cent), do not intend to re-elect their representatives.
However, urban dwellers (67 per cent) were more unwilling to give their current MPs another mandate to represent them, compared to their rural counterparts at 33 per cent.
At the provincial level, Nyanza MPs should be the most worried as 77 per cent of the electorates vowed not to re-elect them, followed by Eastern at 74 per cent. In Western, 67 per cent of the voters are also ready to part company with their current MPs.
MPs from North Eastern and Coast regions have a higher chance of re-election as only 44 per cent and 56 per cent, respectively, are opposed to giving them a fresh mandate.
Not all MPs will defend their seats, some having announced interest in the first gubernatorial elections, while others have set their eyes on the new Senate. Next year’s election will be the first to be held under the new constitution and there will be a total of 349 MPs and 67 senators, with each chamber having its own speaker.
Not all MPs will be voted out as 37 per cent of the voters plan to re-elect their sitting MPs. Voters who plan to give their MPs another term cited good management of CDF, the fight against corruption, uniting people, active in parliament proceedings and charisma as some of the positives.