Poor Kenyans happier than the rich, new survey shows

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Despite the tough economic times, the poorest people in Kenya (73 per cent) are living happier lives than the richest (72 per cent). However, seven in 10 citizens (71 per cent) say that all things considered, they are happy. And, one in 20 (five per cent) say they are unhappy, and one in four (24 per cent) that they are neither happy nor unhappy. One in six Kenyans — 16.7 per cent — think it is justifiable for a man to beat his wife, while nine in 10 citizens have a problem with homosexuals and would mind if they lived next to them, a new survey shows.

The findings contained in the Sauti ya Wananchi survey on citizen values conducted by Twaweza East Africa and availed to Sunday Standard, also show that 11 per cent of women do not have a problem being battered by their husbands, saying it is justifiable. This figure is just half the number of men (20 per cent) who think it is not wrong to beat their wives, a punishable offence according to the law, which is believed to be on the decline due to increasing education levels in the population. The survey further indicates that while a minority of Kenyans would have a problem living next to unmarried couples, supporters of a different political party or people living with HIV, “87 per cent would have a problem living next door to drug addicts.”

And if you love the bottle, please note that “seven in 10 Kenyans (70 per cent) would not be happy living next door to heavy drinkers of alcohol,” notes the survey. Out of the close to 40 million Kenyans, 1.2 per cent of adults are considered binge drinkers according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), meaning there could be some 39 million unhappy neighbours in the country. But in what could be an encouragement in the fight against HIV/Aids, the survey found that only 16 per cent of Kenyans would have a problem neighbouring those who live positively. Stigma has been one of the greatest impediments in the fight against the virus and while 16 per cent is still high, the same survey notes that this is lower than the African average which stands at 23 per cent.

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Interestingly, more Kenyans trust their neighbours more than their friends and just eight per cent think it is okay to give or receive a bribe despite the choking corruption levels. “Five in six citizens (86 per cent) say they trust their family members “completely”, more than for any other group. Around one in three citizens have complete trust in their neighbours (36 per cent) and friends (32 per cent), and one in five have complete trust in their colleagues (22 per cent),” it says. “Trust in those of a different group varies between groups. Three in 10 (31 per cent) have complete trust in people of another religion, while two in 10 (22 per cent) have complete trust in people of another tribe. Just one in 10 (nine per cent) feel able to completely trust people they have never met before,” the survey indicates. Additionally, one in 20 Kenyans (six per cent) believe abortion can sometimes be justified, which is slightly higher than in Tanzania where only two per cent think it is justifiable. Data for the survey was collected from 1,701 respondents between December 30, 2016 and January 27 this year.

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