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INVESTIGATING THE CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF POLITICAL APATHY ON DEMOCRACY IN KENYA

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INVESTIGATING THE CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF POLITICAL APATHY ON DEMOCRACY IN KENYA


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Many people commonly hold the view that democracy is currently considered the most effective system of governance. It is considered as a prerequisite for national development because of the belief that it fosters transparency, accountability, the rule of law, respect for human rights and civic participation. All these are necessary for national development. But the successes of all these depend on the relationship between government and its people. The failures of government to meet up its expectations normally lead to political apathy. Similarly, democracy is seen as a way to protect individual rights, promote political stability, and foster a sense of civic engagement and responsibility among citizens (Bekoe, 2018).

Conceptually, the term ‘apathy’ is the mental state of not caring much about something or about anything at all. It is the suppression of passion, emotion or excitement for something. On the other hand, political apathy is the deficiency of love and devotion to a state. It is the indifference on the part of citizens of any state as regards their attitudes towards political activities such as elections, public opinions, and civic responsibilities(Berinsky, 2019). Additionally, political apathy is therefore absence of interest in, or concern about, socio-political life. Also, political apathy can occur due to a variety of reasons, including limiting political participation directly through discriminatory policies or indirectly through slow, inefficient or non-representative bureaucracies. According to Ian Dey (2018), both direct and indirect methods result in individuals or communities feeling politically disengaged since they believe little will change with their action.  discovered four main factors which lead to political apathy in Kenya:

1.      Incompetence of the electorate

2.      Unemployment

3.      The political environment

4.      Electoral violence

However, governance and politics and therefore political apathy occur every year, all year long, not just during election years. conducted a series of public opinion polls on democracy and governance in Africa in 2013-2014; they found that 32 percent of respondents said they never discuss politics, while only 20 percent of respondents say they frequently discuss politics. Further more, when individuals are politically apathetic, they often exhibit a disinterest in, or even a detachment from, the political process. This can manifest in various ways, including not voting in elections, not staying informed about current events and political issues, and not actively participating in civic activities or political discussions.

Similarly, political apathy can have negative effects for a democratic society, as it may lead to low voter turnout, reduced engagement in civic life, and a weakened sense of responsibility among citizens to hold their government accountable. Apathy can be caused by various factors, such as a perception that one's individual actions will not make a difference, disillusionment with the political system, or a lack of knowledge or understanding of political issues (Ronald, 2017). It is often seen as a challenge for maintaining a healthy democracy, as an engaged and informed citizenry is crucial for the functioning of democratic institutions. Therefore, a survey will be conducted in order to investigate the causes and effects of political apathy on democracy in Kenya.

 1.2 Statement of the Problem

The beauty of democracy depends not on the number of registered political parties in a country but rather on the degree of popular participation in the democratic process. However, past elections in Kenya have been marred by allegations of irregularities and voter manipulation. Instances of rigging and corruption in the electoral process  eroding citizens' trust in the system, leading to political apathy. Also, many Kenyans have a lack of trust in political institutions due to perceptions of corruption and inefficiency. When citizens believe their voices won't make a difference, they are less likely to engage in politics.Socioeconomic challenges, such as poverty, unemployment, and inequality, can divert citizens' attention away from politics as they struggle to meet their basic needs. Thus, it is in the light of these that the study seeks to investigate the causes and effects of political apathy on democracy in Kenya.

1.3  Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to investigate the causes and effects of political apathy on democracy in Kenya. Specifically, the study will;

1.        Determine the extent of prevalence of political apathy among residents of Kiambu, Kenya.

2.        Identify the causes of political apathy in Kiambu, Kenya.

3.        Ascertain the effects of political apathy in Kiambu, Kenya.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study:

1.        What is the extent of political apathy among residents of Kiambu, Kenya?

2.        What are the causes of political apathy in Kiambu, Kenya?

3.        What are the effects of political apathy in Kiambu, Kenya?

1.5  Significant of the Study

Investigating the causes and effects of political apathy on democracy in Kenya will be revealed to the government at various level, politicians, electoral bodies, media houses, political parties and residents in the study. Also, the findings will be revealed to political candidates and activists to disseminate information about their platforms, policies, campaign events, and achievements. Further more, to the media houses, it will provide a platform for spreading awareness about political issues, mobilizing support, and engaging with a wide audience.It will also be revealed to the resident of Kiambu as they be aware of the importance of participating actively in electoral processes.

Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regards to investigating the causes and effects of political apathy on democracy in Kenya.

1.6 Scope of the study

The scope of this study is boarded on the  investigating the causes and effects of political apathy on democracy in Kenya. Empirically, this study will elaborate the extent of prevalence of political apathy in kenya, the causes of political apathy and the effects of political apathy in Kenya. Geographically, the study will be delimited to residents of Kiambu, Kenya.

1.7 Limitation of the study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents.

In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.

More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.

 1.8 Definition of Terms

Political Apathy: refers to a lack of interest, involvement, or concern about political matters, such as government policies, elections, and civic participation.

Democracy: is a form of government in which the power to make political decisions is vested in the hands of the people, either directly or through elected representatives.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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  • Methodology: available


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