In a new opinion poll, Kenyans have ranked the International Criminal Court (ICC) process involving the country’s president, deputy president, and a former radio journalist as the least important of the problems facing Kenya.
On March 4, independent polling company Ipsos Synovate released the poll, which said that only one percent of respondents expressed that “the leadership wrangles due to the ICC cases” was the most pressing problem facing Kenya. This is a one percentage point decline from a November 2013 poll Ipsos Synovate conducted when two percent of the respondents said that the ICC cases were the most pressing problem facing Kenya.
The difference between this latest poll and the November 2013 one is within the margin of error, which is plus or minus 2.2 percent, so it does not represent a significant change in opinion.
In polls before November 2013 that Ipsos Synovate conducted on what people consider the most urgent problems facing Kenya, the ICC did not feature. The earlier polls had a small percentage of responses that fell under the category “others.”
The fact the ICC now ranks as a pressing problem for some of the respondents may be due to the high level diplomatic lobbying the Kenyan government carried out on the issue between May and November last year. This lobbying took place at the United Nations Security Council, African Union, and the annual gathering of member states of the ICC. It involved trying to get an African Union resolution on the immunity from prosecution of heads of state and governments and their deputies adopted by the United Nations Security Council and the Assembly of Parties to the Rome Statute, which governs the ICC. These lobbying efforts received wide coverage in the Kenyan media and generated a lot of debate.
President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta is facing five counts of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in violence that followed the December 2007 election. In a separate case, Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang face three counts of crimes against humanity for their alleged role in the violence that followed the December 2007 election.
In the poll released last week, the high cost of living was ranked the most pressing problem in the country with 50 percent of respondents rating it so. Second was lack of employment with 19 percent of those polled ranking it as the most pressing problem in Kenya. Corruption came in third, with nine percent of those polled rating it the most pressing problem in the country.
This poll is different from others conducted on the ICC because it addresses the question of what Kenyans consider to be the national priorities. The other polls on the ICC focus on what level of public support the process has in Kenya. The last poll that gauged public support for the ICC process was done in November last year. It showed there was a slight increase in public support for the ICC process.
The March 4 Ipsos Synovate poll also covered how much trust is enjoyed by Kenyatta, Ruto, opposition leader Raila Odinga, other leaders and institutions, as well as issues such as the achievements of the Kenyatta government.
Ipsos Synovate interviewed 2,031 people across the country between February 8 and February 15 for the poll. The interviews were conducted face-to-face. The company funded the poll.