International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Polls: Support for ICC remains high, but fear of violence has increased

Support for the International Criminal Court (ICC) remains high in Kenya as the country awaits the decision of the pre-trial chamber on whether six Kenyan suspects should stand trial, according to two opinion polls released this week.

One opinion poll notes that respondents who believe violence is likely to occur if the Kenya cases proceed to trial has steadily increased between October and December last year. The same poll found, however, that more people believe violence is unlikely than those who do.

A pre-trial court of the ICC has until January 23 to issue its decision on who goes to trial, or not, of six Kenyan suspects facing multiple charges of crimes against humanity for violence that nearly tore apart Kenya after the December 2007 presidential election.

Public support for the International Criminal Court process stands at 64 percent as of December last year, according to a poll released on Tuesday by South Consulting. This is a slight increase from an October poll South Consulting conducted, which had public support at 62 percent.

South Consulting is the firm monitoring and evaluating the series of agreements that ended the violence that shook Kenya between December 2007 and February 2008 and left more than 1,000 people dead. The African Union panel led by former United Nations chief Kofi Annan that mediated those agreements hired South Consulting to track progress in implementing the agreements on its behalf because none of the members are based in Kenya.

On Thursday, another firm, Ipsos Synovate, released their latest poll on Kenyans’ perceptions of the ICC process and other social and political issues in the country. The Ipsos Synovate poll, which was also conducted in December last year, found that 54 percent of respondents support the ICC process. This is a slight drop from October last year when that support was at 59 percent.

Ipsos Synovate Managing Director Maggie Ireri stated that Kenyans are still divided over the ICC process, as according to their poll, supporters and opponents are almost 50-50.

“I think the country right now is quite interesting and tense,” Ireri said as she laid out the key findings of their latest opinion poll. She said that because opposition to the ICC process was highest in four out of the country’s eight provinces, the judges’ decision will also influence the calculations of key political players.

The provinces that showed the highest opposition to the ICC process in the Ipsos Synovate poll are Central, Eastern, Northeastern, and Rift Valley. Two of the suspects – Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and former Higher Education Minister William Samoei Ruto – have declared their interest in running for president. Both, however, have yet to secure the ticket of a political party. Kenyatta’s political base is Central Province while Ruto’s is in the Rift Valley. A date is yet to be set for Kenya’s next election, but a court ruled last week that the polls must be held by March 2013.

“Depending on the outcome of what the judges are going to say, it will definitely affect the political alignments,” Ireri said.

The South Consulting poll stated that 36 percent of respondents said violence is somewhat likely or very likely if the Kenya cases proceed to trial. This is slightly lower than the 41 percent who said violence is unlikely. South Consulting notes, however, that the December 2011 figure is an increase compared to when respondents were asked the same question in October. Then only 23 percent said violence is somewhat likely or very likely.

“The shift may be attributed to local discourses of victimisation,” South Consulting said in its report. “In many parts of the country, perceptions that the six suspects “are not the ones who bear the greatest responsibility continue to dominate public debate on the ICC process.”

The South Consulting poll covers other areas such as what is the most important issue for Kenyans (the high cost of living). The poll was conducted December 3-9, 2011 and involved face to face interviews with 2,500 respondents. Its margin of error is plus or minus 1.5 percent.

The Ipsos Synovate poll was conducted December 12-19, 2011 and the 2,000 respondents were interviewed face to face. Its margin of error is plus or minus 2.2 percent.

South Consulting’s latest poll and quarterly report on the Kenya agreements is available at: www.dialoguekenya.org.

The latest Ipsos Synovate poll is available at: www.synovate.co.ke.

10 Comments
  1. THE MEDIA ARE THE ONE BUILDING THESE TO SEEM BIG ..THERE IS NOTHING UN USUAL WHEN A CRIME HAS BEEN COMMITTED WHY GENERALISE THAT THERE IS TENSION?BY DOING THIS CAUSING AWARENESS AND UN EASINESS TO PEOPLE WHO WERE AT PEACE

  2. There is a lot than what meets the eye. Tension is all over. Even with the Judges themselves. Why did they ought not to air it on air? That is tension! Why change the days of judgment now and then from 26th Dec 2011, 6th Jan, 9th Jan and now 23 Jan. That is tension.

    LET US BOW DOWN AND PRAY

    Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name.
    Your Kingdom come,
    your will be done,
    on earth as in heaven
    Give us today our daily bread.
    Forgive us our sins,
    as we forgive those who sin against us.
    Lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.
    For the kingdom,
    the power and the glory are yours.
    Now and for ever.

    Amen.

  3. Let the ICC do its work. The government of Kenya should concentrate its efforts on Reaching those outside ICC list. Its actually a big shame that anyone would imagine running for any public office with their Charges confirmed. it goes a long way to say how casual they are about civility.

    Alex

  4. The police are causing unnecessary tension in Nakuru patrolling streets. Nobody is concerned with the outcome Those who took the cases to the Hague. They did what they had to do. criminals can take the advantage of the situation . Kenyans Know the truth better.

  5. the media should act responsibly.This is just one case why the media hype?
    Some of the susspects may be using the media to create chaos.We the citizens havev decided to maintain pecace no matter the outcome.Impunity must be dealt with forthwith.We want to live anywhere we want in Kenya.
    MAY WE DWELL IN UNITY,PEACE AND LIBERTY.
    PLENTY BE FOUND WITHIN OUR BORDERS!!!!!

  6. The ruling is out. At the end of the day we have a life, lets take care of this precious gift. Keep peace, one nation, Lets pass love to all.

  7. The rulling is out.And nobody is above the law so lets respect the ICC rulling,Kenyan have decided to maintain peace coz with or without the suspect life must continue.

  8. I fully support the ICC process because this would be a lesson to the rest and similar scenario will not take place again in Kenya this coming election. I believe there is Kenyan who is happy with what happened in Naivasha, Nakuru, Eldoret, Nairobi name them. This was a total inhumanity and injustice of the highest order and should not be repeated.

  9. I urge Kenyans to maintain peace and unity during this process. We don’t need to follow our political leaders but we need to think about the future of Kenya as a whole. When violence rocked Kenya last election, only common mwananchi was killed, wounded, raped and all bad things that you cant imagine of. So let us remain united focusing achievements not things that will draw us back in terms of development.

  10. im aware the two presidential hopeful of the suspect mr Ruto and Uhuru have contested only parlimentary seat in 2007 and won it peacefuly before the annoucement of disputed presidential election i dont understand why they held responsible today violence erupted after the annoucement of the presidential result if it hapen they have been used but the big guestion is that who used them otherwise i wish all of them a fare trial and goodluck like ali and kosgey

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