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Pollsters in Kenya say they have been mobbed, robbed and accused of witchcraft

Friday, July 14, 2017 - 02:09

Latest poll data shows the Kenyan presidential race may go to an unprecedented second round. The polling, which IPSOS says adheres to international standards of fairness and accuracy, has caused a storm of anger and threats against the company on social media. Pascale Davies reports.

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With Kenya's general election less than a month away, it's polling companies feeling the heat. Ipsos says its staff have been mobbed, robbed, and even accused of witchcraft. That after their figures showed the race could go to a second round for the first time ever, a finding viewed with suspicion by locals who assume good polling can be bought. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BUSINESSMAN, SEBASTIAN OWINO, SAYING: "Opinion polls… it depends I think they are not so credible as such because in this country most likely you might find whoever has money can influence the opinion polls. So guys can buy people. Kenya is generally a corrupt country. You find I can sway people's ideas if I have money." Kenyans are preparing to elect their next president, lawmakers and local representatives on August 8, with current President Uhuru Kenyatta seeking a second five-year term but facing a close battle with long term rival Raila Odinga. Ipsos appointed Swahili speaking American Tom Wolf as its public face. But his fame comes at a price - he's had to flee angry mobs twice, and politicians are calling for his deportation. Wolf says the company has also faced threats of legal action. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IPSOS LEAD RESEARCHER, TOM WOLF, SAYING: "This is an area of survey work compared to the west that makes Kenya rather different even if as I said earlier… even in the U.S. in the last election candidate Donald Trump was saying the polls were rigged against him as far as this general main stream conspiracy of the media and I guess the academy of favouring Hilary Clinton, so in that sense America is becoming more like Kenya every day." Suspicion was already running high in Kenya. Its last two elections were marred by irregularities, with the opposition alleging rigging. The 2007 election is remembered for protests that sparked widespread ethnic violence, killing around 1,200 people. It all adds up to make next month's vote one of the closest watched elections in east Africa.

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Pollsters in Kenya say they have been mobbed, robbed and accused of witchcraft

Friday, July 14, 2017 - 02:09