The Vicious Relationship between Apathetic Political Behaviour and Citizen Quiescence in Nairobi County
Voter apathy is a growing phenomenon in Kenya. Voter turnout since the Constitution 2010 was enacted has been falling drastically. In the 2013 general elections, the voter turnout was 86%, and the turnout dropped to 78% in the August 2017 elections. Further, in the 2022 general elections, numbers dropped to 64%. More significantly, the number of young people registering to vote in the 2022 general elections dropped by 5.27% compared to 2017. This apathetic political behaviour among Kenyan voters has far-reaching implications not only for democratic practices in Kenya but in governance, particularly for demand for public accountability. In this study, the researchers aimed to establish whether a relationship exists between apathetic political behaviour and citizen quiescence (citizen inaction) in demanding public accountability. Citizen quiescence is operationalised to mean general disinterest, lethargy, or unwillingness to participate in civic duties. The researchers hypothesised a direct relationship between apathetic political culture and citizen quiescence due to weak institutions and diminishing public trust in Kenya. To establish this relationship, the researchers surveyed a sample of 100 respondents drawn from Nairobi City County using a multi-stage sampling technique. The test results for linear regression analysis were R(98) = 0.841, p<0.05, R2 .703, demonstrating a positive linear relationship between apathy and citizen quiescence among Kenyans. In other words, as citizens became more apathetic in participating in democratic processes, their quiescence in demanding public accountability also increased. Besides, it was established that all factors held constant; apathetic political behaviour could explain 70.3% of citizen quiescence in Kenya at a 95% confidence level. The significance of this study was to demonstrate the necessity of civic engagement in public accountability to reduce pilferage and misappropriation of public resources
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