Majority of Kenyans wary of Shabaab attacks, want KDF troops back home
On the eve of the first anniversary of the terrorist attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Shopping Mall, a new opinion poll has been released showing that majority of Kenyans believe that chances of another deadly attack by the Somalia-based al Shabaab militants were “extremely high”.
The study shows two in every three Kenyans think they are sitting ducks in the face of the al Qaeda-linked terrorist group. Nearly all those interviewed by Ipsos Kenya Limited (formerly Ipsos Synovate) said al Shabaab was still a danger lurking in the shadows threatening their safety.
The poll results were released yesterday at Ipsos headquarters in Nairobi. The poll shows only three per cent of those interviewed, which statistically means “hardly anyone” believe that al Shabaab is not a threat “at all”.
The findings dovetail with another revelation of the pollster that majority of Kenyans want the country’s military to pull out of Somalia. Only one out of every five people –19 per cent– want the KDF troops to stay in Somalia under the African Union Mission in Somalia “as they are now”.
The rest want the military to return home, but they are divided on whether the Kenyan troops should come back to seal off the long porous border between Kenya and Somalia or whether to have them back only if they are replaced by other African countries. Very few want KDF to back off unconditionally.
“There’s more unease about the impact of the Kenya Defence Forces in Somalia,” said Dr Tom Wolf, the Ipsos consultant who released the report.
Wolf said the data appeared to show most of those who want KDF out of Somalia seem to believe al Shabaab’s pledge that they will stop killing of unarmed Kenyans if that happens.
But there are no guarantees that the militants, keen to spread their radical extremism in the Horn of Africa, and who also want to revenge this month’s killing of their leader Ahmed Godane, will leave Kenya alone if their demands are met.
President Uhuru Kenyattta has already vowed that KDF will only leave Somalia when al Shabaab is crushed, and when there’s peace and security in that country riddled with conflict for more than two decades.
Insecurity also ranks high in the Ipsos poll, and in the last three months alone, one out of every ten Kenyans have been victims of crime with half of those victims having been attacked at least twice or more than three times.
The tragedy is that their confidence in the country’s police force continues to stay low.”As in the past, only a minority of these victims of crime (42 per cent) has
reported the police, with a solid majority (60 per cent) completely dissatisfied with the response they receive. Indeed, this high level of dissatisfaction may explain why more crime victims do not report such incidents,” Ipsos noted in their survey.
One out of every three Kenyans did not believe President Kenyatta when he blamed “local political neorks” for the bloody killing of over 60 people in Lamu County in June. Their verdict: It was the work of al Shabaab. Only 16 per cent believed the President.