Kenya: Raila tops as Kibaki ratings fall to new low

kenya_raila_odinga_2Prime Minister Raila Odinga (pictured) could be the likely successor to President Kibaki if elections were held today, a new poll has shown.

Raila ratings equal the combined total of the three leaders fronting the so-called KKK alliance bringing together Kikuyu, Kamba and Kalenjin.

At 31 per cent, the PM ties with the pooled onslaught by Vice- President Kalonzo Musyoka (14 per cent), Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta (10 per cent) and Agriculture Minister William Ruto (7 per cent).

The poll comes at a time the Vice-President is under fire for publicly touting the alliance by the three communities whose bloc vote is almost a safe bet for the presidency.

Critics have accused the VP of engaging in premature 2012 campaigns driven by tribal political alliances, but the Mwingi North MP claims his opponents are running scared.

Kalonzo is thought to be planning to make forays into Rift Valley where he believes the crucial voting bloc would have backed his bid for presidency had Raila and Ruto not joined forces in 2007.

But Kalonzos star seems to be rising in PNU where he, Uhuru and Internal Security Minister George Saitoti are fighting for the party ticket.

In the poll, 32 per cent of the supporters of PNU and its affiliates preferred the VP for the top seat compared to 18 per cent for Uhuru.

The findings put Uhuru the first among equals in the battle to inherit President Kibakis Central Province constituency. The Kanu chairman enjoys a two-point lead over Narc-Kenya chairperson Martha Karua (8 per cent), his main challenger for regional supremacy.

President Kibakis ratings are at an all time low at 5 per cent, perhaps because of the lame duck syndrome plaguing leaders serving their final constitutional term. The Head of States dwindling fortunes sound an alarm bell to any of the presidential hopefuls banking on the influence of the incumbent to have a head start.

Railas surge could be attributed to increased visibility as he discharges his role as supervisor and coordinator of Government business. The improved working relationship with the President that has seen him drop his abrasiveness could also have won him admiration from some of the Presidents supporters.

The two principals have appeared in key public meetings together as their weekly consultations are said to have improved, a development acknowledged in the report by South Consulting that tracks progress on implementing reforms.

The survey findings will be music to the ears of the PM, whose tough stand on trials of post-election violence suspects and the Mau saga has made him unpopular with leaders from Rift Valley, a region that overwhelmingly voted for him in the last election.

According to the Synovate poll where 2,005 respondents were polled, 62 per cent of ODM supporters would vote for Raila as their president, while 14 per cent chose Ruto.

Uhuru, Karua and Kalonzo would each get two per cent of votes from ODM supporters.

Interestingly, PNU and affiliate party supporters said they would elect Kalonzo (32 per cent) as their preferred candidate.

ODM party remains the most popular political party with 44 per cent of respondents rooting for it. PNU came second at 18 per cent, ODM-K 10 per cent, Narc-K 2 per cent, Narc 2 per cent and Ford Kenya 1 per cent.

Kibaki got the highest disapproval rate in terms of performance at 36 per cent compared to Raila 23 per cent and Kalonzo 33 per cent.

The performance rating of President Kibaki seems to have waned with 41 per cent of his supporters from PNU and affiliate party highly disapproving the way he has been handling issues.

ODM and affiliate highly disapproved Kibakis performance at 41 per cent and 36 per cent from respondents not affiliated to any party.

Some 36 per cent of respondents said they do not highly disprove Railas performance.

Sunday Standard

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