KENYA: Politicians, Voters have Contrary Perception of Leadership, Study Shows

NAIROBI OCTOBER 9 2015 (CISA) – A national research by the Jesuit Hakimani Centre has revealed that there is a clash of expectations and negative perceptions between Kenyan voters and their elected leaders.

“We (voters) expect leaders to solve our problems and lead by example. We expect them to be honest, accountable and transparent,” stated Dr Elias Mokua Director Jesuit Hakimani Centre October 8, while presenting the findings of the National Research on the Public Participation and Devolved System of Government.

“Elected leaders believe they are in the offices to change our lives for the better, to serve us and help the country move forward and offer a high degree of accountability and responsibility,” added Dr Mokua.

According to the research, upon being elected, leaders are perceived by their constituents as “corrupt, selfish, greedy, inaccessible and power hungry.” Leaders on the other hand perceive voters as having very unrealistic expectations of them.

“Most of the voters view leaders as cash cows, they look at them as people who should solve their problems instantly,” said Dr Mokua adding that the research revealed that most voters don’t understand the functions of the national assembly.

“Elected leaders work is not to bring about development, their main function is to legislate, to make laws,” he stated.

The research also found out that people don’t understand the purpose of political parties which are seen to be mechanisms that get people to power.

“How can we question the integrity of our leaders if we don’t understand the mechanisms that bring them to power,” posed Dr Mokua.

The research was conducted in 29 counties in form of questionnaires that were supplied across the country. During the exercise different leaders were interviewed including members of parliament, senators, governors and members of county assemblies “in view of contrasting what the voters have said.”

According to Dr Mokua the national research was inclined towards policy formulation and was motivated by the new constitution and a devolve system.

“We wanted to do a kind of audit across the country and understand how we are fairing on looking at the mechanisms of upholding national unity and integration in a devolved system. We tried to examine the relationship between leaders and their constituents, now that we have 48 governments with each having legislative powers,” explained Dr Mokua.

Present during the event were Bishop Cornelius Korir, Chairman Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro, senators Hassan Omar (Mombasa), Mutula Kilonzo Jrn (Makueni), Beatrice Elachi (Senate Majority Chief Whip),  members of parliament; Abdikadir Aden (Mbalambala), Anna Nyokabi (Kiambu MP) and Ken Okoth (MP Kibra).

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