Kenyan PM gets high approval rating in new survey

www.chinaview.cn 2008-09-09 16:37:26  

    NAIROBI, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga has earned a higher approval rating than President Mwai Kibaki in the latest opinion survey by a U.S.-based pollster which was published in the local media on Tuesday.

    The Gallup pollster said the majority of Kenyans also approved of the leadership demonstrated by President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga in steering the coalition government.

    But the survey showed the prime minister enjoyed a 22-percentage point lead over the President in approval ratings.

    An overwhelming 85 percent of those polled approved of Odinga's leadership compared to 63 percent for Kibaki, according to the poll on the Grand Coalition Government.

    In a further show of confidence in the prime minister, three in every four Kenyans believe the creation of the position of Prime Minister will have a positive effect on the everyday life of citizens.

    A similar poll by the Steadman group released in late July had Odinga at 75 percent approval rating and President Kibaki at 68 percent.

    In the polls released on Monday, approval ratings for the president and the prime minister mirrored the trends seen during the elections last year.

    Kibaki enjoyed highest approval ratings in Central and Eastern provinces, while Odinga won more approval in Nyanza, Rift Valley, Western, Coast, Nairobi and North Eastern.

    The trend was repeated when the ratings are based on the ethnic groups, with President Kibaki getting higher approval from the Kikuyu, Kamba and Meru, while the Kalenjin, Kisii, Luyia, Luo and with others backing Odinga.

    The survey said the majority of Kenyans think that the coalition government will survive until the 2012 general election.

    The Gallup survey said 56 percent of respondents were optimistic the unity government would hold, against 18 percent who think it would collapse before the five-year term ends.

    Twenty-one percent of those interviewed could not predict the coalition's fate.

    According the pollster, Kenyans are more concerned about the availability of jobs, poverty and inflation than they care about anew constitution.

    Some 17 percent of those interviewed rated poverty and inflation as the top concern to be addressed by the Grand Coalition Government.

    Gallup lead researcher Robert Tortora said that those who believed the coalition would not hold cited lack of political will and ethnic divisions within the government.

    Some 52 percent of Kenyans wanted the government to prioritize issues on alleviation of poverty, according to the poll that was conducted between June 19 and July 9.

    "Kenyans want inflation, unemployment, food shortage and land reforms to be speedily tackled," Tartora said.

    Other issues the public want to be addressed include constitutional reforms at 9 percent, while 7 percent wanted the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons and the improvement of education in the country.

    National healing and reconciliation efforts received a major boost with majority of Kenyans expressing their willingness to coexist regardless of ethnicity.

    Some 82 percent of the respondents agreed they would coexist peacefully in the city or local community, regardless of tribal affiliation.

    Only 15 percent disagreed while an additional 3 percent declined to comment during the survey by Gallup, conducted in June and July.

    The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) received a nod from an equal majority of 88 percent who believe it is the key to reducing the threat of future ethnic violence.

    The TJRC is one of the commissions to be set up in line with the Feb. 28 peace accord to help bring closure to the country's painful past.

    And 11 percent gave job creation as the issue that concerns them most, while only 9 percent said they wanted the government to conclude the new constitution.

    The findings should make politicians, lawyers, religious leaders and NGO officials who have been arguing about how to conclude the law review rethink their priorities.

    The last two weeks have been dominated by debate with the Law Society of Kenya and the civil society groups demanding inclusion in the law review. The government wants a team of experts to prepare the supreme law.

    "Tackling inflation and unemployment are long-term issues that cannot be resolved overnight. Kenyans seem to appreciate this and want the coalition to hold long enough," Tortora said.

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