Infotrak Chief Executive Angela Ambitho (left) and Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi. Infotrak has responded to the Governor's extortion claims.

Research company Infotrak has threatened to sue Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi over claims he made last week alleging that Infotrak had attempted to squeeze a Ksh3 million bribe from him in exchange for a more favourable score in its ranking of county governors by perfomance.

Kiraitu was ranked 38th out of all 47 governors in the country much to his chagrin which made him call for the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) to step in and probe the firm.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the research company detailed its criteria for ranking political leaders and the metrics used and warned that it would be proceeding to court to protect its reputation amid questions of the integrity of opinion polls and their role in shaping public opinion.

“Infotrak Research & Consulting reserves the right to fair legal action in protection of its reputation, and will institute the appropriate legal proceedings against those spreading such falsehoods,” the firm’s Chief Executive Angela Ambitho said in the statement.

Below is Infotrak’s Full Statement

Infotrak’s CountyTrak Performance Index, developed in 2014, is a syndicated study which seeks to provide periodic and objective citizens’ scorecards on the performance of their respective County governments against set Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) on the one hand, and the performance rating of elected leaders in each county on the other.

The Index is the first of its kind and magnitude in Kenya. It provides an excellent baseline from which other evaluation tools can be developed and more importantly provides the county governments and other interested stakeholders with robust statistics by ward on the perception of county residents over county governments’ performance of the devolved functions.

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The CountyTrak tool consists of twelve core functions with thirty three key performance indicators and five approval rating questions. The functions included: Agriculture, Health, Education, Roads & Transport, Energy, Water management, Environment & natural resources management, Trade & Tourism, County Planning & Development, Housing, Lands & settlement, Culture & Sports and Social Services.

Opinion polls, while by no means infallible, are the only reasonably reliable way to measure public opinion.  Only through the publication of polls can a society ensure that leaders and decision-makers in government and the private sector know and understand what the public thinks.

While governments and elected leaders may or may not be assisted to make better decisions by the availability of poll data, it is reasonable to suppose that their having a good knowledge and understanding of public opinion is better for democracy than their not having it. Good information is better than misinformation.

The study which covers all the 47 counties, 290 constituencies and 1450 wards with an overall sample of n= 28,200 in the 2015 index and n=37,600 in the 2019/20 index is perhaps currently the only one of its kind and magnitude available in Kenya.

Data was collected using Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI). The reporting structure appreciates the importance of the devolved government units, treating each county as an individual universe with an assigned cluster sample ranging from n=600 to n=2000, and with an error margin of between +/- 4  and +/-2 at 95% degree of confidence.

This current CountyTrak Index was conducted between during the last quarter of 2019 and  January 2020. Public release of the index was set for June 2020 but was delayed to October 2020 due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The detailed results of the CountyTrak Index by county and by devolved functions are available for public consumption on our CountyTrak website.

We also take this opportunity to clarify that Infotrak has never approached any politician with the intent of compromising its CountyTrak Performance rankings in their favour. Infotrak is guided by the principles of honesty and transparency as well as the industry ethics and code of conduct in all its undertakings.

Infotrak CEO Angela Ambitho

The company denounces any allegations of this nature in the strongest terms possible. The company recognizes that an act of bribery is criminal, and that failure to report any solicitation to the authorities is also punishable by the law of the Republic of Kenya.

The company urges those spreading falsehoods about the intentions and outcomes of the report to avoid cheap propaganda and use the right mechanisms to address their complaints. Instead of crucifying the messenger, they should go to the ground and find out what informed the poor ratings by their electorates.

Infotrak Research & Consulting reserves the right to fair legal action in protection of its reputation, and will institute the appropriate legal proceedings against those spreading such falsehoods.

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Samuel Gitonga is a senior reporter at BUSINESS TODAY. Email: [email protected]

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