Inside Politics

Kenyans worried about living cost, graft, study shows

Monday, April 19th, 2021 00:00 |
A fuel station attendant refills a car. The high fuel prices have been blamed for the rising cost of living. Photo/PD/FILE

High cost of living, unemployment, the Covid-19 pandemic and corruption are some of the key issues concerning Kenyans, the latest findings by a pollster have revealed.

A poll conducted by Infotrak Research firm states that Kenyans are also worried about the state of infrastructure and access to healthcare services.

Other areas worrying Kenyans, according to the poll, is the cost of doing business, access to clean water, poverty reduction, food security,  quality of education, insecurity and high cost of electricity.

Kenyans want transport facilities improved. They also want the government to address the crisis in the health sector and the perennial industrial strikes by public health workers as well as the crisis in the education sector.

Findings by the pollster indicate that Kenyans desire that constitutional and electoral reforms be addressed.

“The country’s huge external debt is also an area of concern with a majority of Kenyans calling for a halt to further borrowing by the State,” states the report.

Kenyans also want the funding of county governments to be seamless without unnecessary delays as it has been the case in the past.

Fuel prices

The poll says Kenyans want the government to address thnicity, sewage and sanitation.

“Kenyans want the government to address these areas as a matter of priority,” reads the report.

The survey, which was conducted between March 13 and 16,  covered 30 counties in all the eight regions that were previously  provinces.

Business people in the country have been hard hit by the Covid-19 containment measures taken by the government, with many people saying the measures had destroyed their businesses.

The huge increase of fuel prices had resulted in high cost of essential commodities, including maize flour and bread, and last week’s decision by the government to delay another price review came as a relief to many.  

Many bars and restaurants, for instance, have shut down while those still in business have been forced to cut  their workforce by a significant number.

Last week, bar owners and taxi operators staged peaceful protests urging the President to lift restrictions on operating hours for bars and restaurants and ease the night curfew as this had mostly affected their businesses.

“We are pleading with President Uhuru to consider our plight and lift the restrictions on operating hours or reduce the curfew hours, if not do away with it altogether,” Mike Muthamia,  chairman Pubs, Entertainment, and Restaurants Association of Kenya (Perak) said last week.

Cost of living

Perak said thousands of jobs have been  lost while over 30 per cent of bars and restaurants that were in operation before the pandemic have shut down completely.

Thousands of jobs have been lost as a result of the restrictions and Kenyans feel that apart from locking down the country, the government should use the opportunity to test and vaccinate more people.

The push to ease the night curfew comes as Covid-19 infection rates rose to over 20 per cent daily largely informing the imposition of the partial lockdown on five counties of Nairobi, Kiambu, Kajiado, Nakuru and Machakos.

In January, Uhuru extended the night curfew that runs between 10 pm and 4 am as part of measures aimed at taming the spread of pandemic.

And according to the findings by Infotrak, 20 per cent of Kenyans are concerned about the high cost of living, 18 per cent over unemployment, eight per cent about Covid-19 pandemic and seven per cent are concerned about corruption.

People in Western Kenya, at 25 per cent, are the most concerned about the high cost of living, followed by Rift Valley and Nairobi both at 21 per cent.

People in Nairobi are more concerned about unemployment, at 25 per cent, followed by Eastern (20 per cent) and Western and Nyanza at 19 per cent.

On the Covid-19 pandemic, Nyanza people are the most concerned,  at  10 per cent,  followed by Coast, North Eastern and Rift Valley at nine per cent each.

Nairobi people are apprehensive about corruption, with nine per cent, Coast and Eastern at eight per cent, while Western people are the least concerned at four per cent.

However, Kenyans in a majority of regions are less worried about the ballooning external debt with all regions reporting one per cent.

Nyanza people are anxious over the cost of doing business at eight per cent followed by Central and Western at five per cent.

Interestingly, Kenyans are not concerned about the slow disbursement  of funds to county governments with only one per cent of the residents of Nairobi, Central, Western, Nyanza, Rift Valley protesting while in Coast and Eastern only 0.2 per cent expressed worries.

In terms of gender and age, 20 per cent of females polled want the government to address the high cost of living with 19 per cent  of male desiring the same. Kenyans aged between 45-49 are most concerned over the cost of living.

Those between the ages of 25 and 29 are most worried about unemployment, while those between 56 and 59 are worried about the Covid-19 pandemic.

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