Voter bribery on the rise, reveals survey

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Nairobi, KENYA: A recent survey by Centre for Multi-Party Democracy Kenya CMD and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung KAS has shown that over 70 per cent of Kenyans are compromised by political aspirants.

The research says that voter bribery is on the increase because of high poverty levels, low income levels among the youth and precedence set in previous elections whereby citizens feel that they have to be bribed in order to choose a leader.

The weak enforcement of law has also been blamed hence aspirants who wish to bribe voters do not feel deterred.

“As Kenya heads to the August polls this data compiled should be a constant reminder on the importance of upholding integrity. If voters are not careful to cast the votes for leaders who address the issues that affect their community and go instead to cast votes for other reasons such as bribery and tribal affiliations, they cannot expect their interests to be met by leaders they elect,” warned Dr. Jan Cernicky, Country Representative KAS Kenya Office.

Chairperson for CMD Omingo Magara has called for issue based politics where people choose leaders on basis of policies.

Mr. Omingo sounded the alarm by saying, “Do not take a bribe. The moment you are bribed you have named your price and there is a price tag on your back. You cannot ask for the elected leader that bribed you for development projects because you have already been compromised.”

Nominated MP Isaac Mwaura said that cases of voter bribery will always happen so long as poverty levels are high.

“You are asking someone at grass roots level how taking fifty shillings from a politician would help them in the next five years. For them, that amount will cater for today’s meal and they do not know what they will eat tomorrow. That’s the reality on the ground,” he said.

The survey was conducted over a period of 3 months from April-July 2016 whereby 514 participants responded to questionnaires.

The research was done in 10 counties Bomet, Kakamega, Kiambu, Kilifi, Kisumu, Machakos, Meru, Migori, Nakuru and Tranzoia.

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