IPSOS recently carried out and revealed a study that said CORD supporters are living less comfortable life as they are lacking sufficient money to live at a standard considered normal in a society than their JUBILEE counterparts. The study which sparked mixed feelings as many agreed while others didn’t buy the findings. Well, Gabriel Oguda a policy researcher and political consultant recently addressed the issue of poverty vis-a-vis political affiliation.
According to him, since IPSOS Kenya Twitter page is yet to share sampling methodology for the study, the researcher is presuming that they did clustered random sampling, which just means that they first splitted Kenya into separate Counties and then allocated every county a certain quota of respondents. For instance, of the 17 constituencies that constitutes Nairobi County, 9 of them are occupied by TNA MPs – more than half of the total, still the Nairobi Governor is a CORD man.
Having in mind that the KIHBS 2 Survey just began last week and it will last for one complete year which’s a long 12 months for only data collection while IPSOS went into the site for barely four weeks and they’re done with data collection and analysis, the researcher went on to ask several questions including if IPSOS categorise Nairobi County as a CORD or JUBILEE zone based on the fact that the Governor is a CORD man? How many people from Nairobi County fell into the overall sampling frame? And which constituencies did they come from? What if three-quarters of their Nairobi respondents were derived from Nairobi constituencies that were sympathetic to
And it is believed that IPSOS will never resort to answering these questions as there is just one study that does poverty mapping in Kenya and it is called the Kenya Integrated Household and Budget Survey (KIHBS). And you know what, there is no question on political affiliation in the KIHBS questionnaire. Simply because; (i) political affiliations change overnight, and (ii) there is no proven correlation between political affiliation and consumption patterns (for example, there is no scientific evidence to show that those who support Raila Odinga eating three plates of deep-fried chips per day, while those supporting Uhuru Kenyatta drinking 100 bottle-tops of kumi kumi per hour).
However, that is not even where the basic problem lies. Research has shown that said income is not a proper way to measure poverty as humans are liable to overstate their poverty, or wealth, status according to existing situations.
In a situation whereby the government make formal public statement that henceforth the allocation of the Constituency Development Fund will depend on three indicators (poverty, marginalisation and terrain), and my MP wants Seme consttuency to be allocated more money than Mandera West, he will simply call an old woman down in the village to tell her that if a group of data collectors coming standing at her doorstep collecting CDF data, she should inform them that her children have long dumped her without sending anything whether in cash or in kind to her, and that she only lives on the kindness of neighbours and the church.
Or another younger woman could say that she was not privileged to go to school and that she has more than 8 children all of whom are recently wandering about the local market scrapping the barrel’s bottom just to feed. Since while examining and putting down poverty-related data, the those at the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) assign what they refer to as ‘weights’ to poverty indicators.
By way of illustration, one’s level of education plays a significant role in their general poverty (a primary school dropout is, averagely, poorer than a university graduate), the same to number of children (a household with 7 kids is, averagely, poorer than a household with 3 children), the same to geography (a household in Jimo village is, averagely, poorer than another household in downtown Nairobi.
Now if all the inhabitants of Seme constituency responded to the questions as the first woman did in the poverty mapping questions, then Seme constituency will be regarded the poorest electoral area in the entire country. But truth is; it’s not so. And that is why the KIHBS questionnaire goes further than ‘opinion polling’. They really suggest that they rather visit houses in order to be able to attest that people don’t have any domestic animal as they said. as well as their kitchen being out of any form of fire for a week the way they replied to the questions asked earlier.
Remember this is similar to what took place during the 2009 National Census where results from certain constituencies were rendered invalid.
The Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA) went ahead and used this data to allocate CDF funds to constituencies for the 2013/2014 FY. There is yet a court struggle happening on these contested results, despite the then Planning Minister, now Kakamega Governor, Hon. Oparanya, disclosed that these outcomes had since been systematize and thus no reason to raise concerns.
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Then outline questions asked by the IPSOS including ‘“Does anyone in your household ever go to sleep hungry?/Does everyone in your household always get enough to eat?” In point of fact, anybody can say yes since they know that if agreeing to it would earn them a social security program. It is on a rare note would anyone be truthful about these types of questions, so such questions as these shouldn’t form the basis of the analysis. Every excellent and painstaking researcher will tell you that whenever they design data collection tools (quantitative or qualitative), they always sneak in one or two questions for triangulation purposes. These are questions that help the interviewer catch any inconsistencies in the responses being given.