New Opinion Poll Reveals BBI Unpopularity in Kenya

Tifa Research CEO Maggie Ireri.
  • Trends and Insights For Africa (TIFA), an African-based research company, on Thursday, July 1, released the results of an opinion survey they conducted to determine the popularity of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). 

    The results demonstrated the unpopularity of the initiative with only 19 percent saying they would votes if a referendum was to be held. 31 percent of those sampled indicated they would vote against the BBI proposals if the referendum were to be held today. 

    It further states that a total of 50 percent of Kenyans are either undecided, will not vote or not sure on how they will vote regarding the BBI proposals. 

    Tifa Research CEO Maggie Ireri.

    Their findings further break down the reasons for the 31 percent intending to reject BBI as follows: 10 percent due to increased budgetary allocation to counties, 8 percent due to use of government resources to promote BBI, 8 percent due to creation of Prime Minister and two Deputy Prime Minister positions, 7 percent due to creation of 70 new parliamentary constituencies, 6 percent due to satisfaction with the current Constitution and 4 percent due to creation of the position of leader of the official opposition.

    The updated report comes after the company released its first findings on the proposed constitutional changes on Jan 7, 2021.

    The research company completed all its interviews the day before the Court of Appeal began to hear the case challenging the judgment of the High Court on May 4, leading to a national referendum.

    An estimated number of about one-third of Kenyans support making changes to the Constitution before the 2022 general elections.  

    The survey indicates only 47 percent of the people knowing nothing about the BBI. Despite the major improvement from 9 percent to 29 percent on people that know something about the proposed BBI reforms – a total of 63 percent  of sampled population did not know anything about the BBI. 

    TIFA conducted the national survey between June 24, and June 28, 2021, covering the public’s views on issues brought about by the proposed constitutional changes.  

    The detailed report delves deeper addressing the public’s findings on topical matters such as the support for minimum reforms by Parliament if BBI does not go forward, perceived main motivation for BBI reforms, reported participation in the BBI process among others.

    Drawing from its conclusions, the research company highlights the expectations of a referendum. 

    “The decline in support for it appears to reflect the dominance of negative expectations about having the required referendum before the next election (with 46 percent considering this either “very unlikely†and another 34 percentruling it out altogether, as opposed to only 20 percent who consider it “certain†or “very likely†to take place),” read in the report. 

    However, the research company urged the public on the interpretation of the data they released.

    “Whatever this outcome, it is clear that certain views captured in this survey are probably less dependent on such future events.” 

    The Building Bridges Initiatives (BBI) Taskforce led by Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji (second right) during a sitting with the Senate on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.
    The Building Bridges Initiatives (BBI) Taskforce led by Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji (second right) during a sitting with the Senate on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.
    Simon Kiragu