Kenyan media to host live presidential debates

Kenyan media companies will host three live debates ahead of the March 4 poll for presidential candidates to outline their policies to the public.
The debates unveiled at the Serena Hotel are a first, and will be broadcast on TV, radio, and streamed online on November 26, followed by the second on January 14, 2013 and February 11, 2013 when the third debate will be held.
In the eventuality that there is a runoff, another debate will be considered.

The Managing Director of Royal Media Services Wachira Waruru who chairs the steering committee says the debates will also provide Kenyans the opportunity to audit their presidential aspirants and gauge their policies.

“The debates will provide Kenyan voters with the opportunity to listen to, interrogate and interact with the presidential candidates. The debates will also afford the candidates the opportunity to reach out to the widest possible audience and explain how they would govern if elected president.”

“Politicians can hide behind many things at rallies because they choose what they want to say so they will be laid bare; they will be challenged on their knowledge of national issues, their priorities and temperament.”

The country’s TV stations, radios and online media including Capital FM are involved in organising the debates which will see candidates face it off with one another in live broadcasts for the first time in the country’s history.

Kenya Broadcasting Corporation Managing Director Waithaka Waihenya assured that high professional standards will be employed in organizing and executing the project with the input of PwC.

“We though it wise to have an independent body to audit this process as a steering committee we could decide how the process should be but we want the process to be irreproachable,” he said.

He added: “This is a very huge project, and a project of this magnitude needs us to ensure that there is an appreciable level of integrity and transparency in its execution,” he said, adding that even the candidates will be invited to give their views on how they want the process structured.

Nation Media Group’s Chief Executive Linus Gitahi said the process will further help dissociate elections with ethnicity and link it to national issues.

“The overall objective is to make this election an issue based election, we do not want tribal kingpins elected simply because they have a certain voting bloc. We want candidates to answer the question of how different life will be under their watch,” he insisted.

Each debate will have two moderators and four panellists who will engage the presidential aspirants in a question and answer session for 90 minutes.

Capital FM’s Editorial Director Michael Mumo said the station will stream the debates live on www.capitalfm.co.ke/news. He added that the public will be able to express their opinions, send in questions, and generally take part in the debates on Twitter and Facebook.

LORDRICK MAYABI

Lordrick is a graduate of the University of Nairobi with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism. He is passionate about political and governance issues. He also takes keen interest in human rights matters, justice and is fond of sports.

  • Timkorir

    This is what we have been waiting for. To judge the candidates on the way they tackle issues.

  • muths

    who will choose the penalists and the moderators? am worried they can be biased.

    • Tom Randiki

      There you go. Throwing a spanner in the works again. Why don’t you suggest some names? I suggest John Sibi Okumu who interviewed former President Moi so long ago at the Grand Regency.

  • COD

    This is a brilliant idea its done all over the world, I hope we won’t have all 11 aspirants because quite frankly most of them are just joyriders with no agenda………We need real presidential primaries we don’t need a million aspirants on the ballot……I am looking forward to the day that we will have only 2 – 3 parties with real identities and agenda that a voter can chose from…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/LarryGibsononline Gibson DE Nyagwoka

    That is the ultimate test for the presidential hopefuls. Kenyans will have a perfect opportunity to gauge aspirants unlike in the wild rallies where vague politicians are fully of SIASA ZA PESA NANE. I am waiting

  • doreen

    How about candidates refusing to attend?..has as been the case in the past

    • Greenmarshmarrows

      have you ever had these debates before? thot these are the first? Ohhn, you mean TV interviews? that is not debate.

  • Tom Randiki

    Debate? What debate? Before we get all sweaty and excited about the
    forthcoming debate, let’s get real. With no formal policies other than the
    whims and eccentricities of the individual candidates, none of the parties can
    boast of a manifesto. Well, to be fair, KANU does have a two-word manifesto:
    Nyayo Philosophy. Whatever that means. A debate means having two or more sides
    to a topic. As hard as I try, I can’t seem to recollect any differences in the
    candidates’ stand on key issues other than those bordering on slander. They do
    not even disagree on the ICC! Take another hot topic of the day, gay rights.
    They are all in agreement that this is un-African, un-Christian, un-Everything
    and those who practice same-sex activities in the privacy of their bedrooms
    should be in jail. Another one is abortion rights. Never, never (at least in
    public). On foreign policy: French-kissing with China while playing footsie
    with the West under the table. On taxation, the public persona says to tax the
    rich but the private persona continues to add on to the tax burdens of the
    salaried citizens. All eleven or so candidates agree on these and education,
    infrastructure, security, minorities, human rights, MPs salaries and bonuses,
    party hopping, et al. So, I suggest we leave out boring issues on 26th
    of November and instead let the candidates slug it out on a platform they know
    best: mudslinging. I can’t wait to see a repeat of the Kajwang-Mwenje
    fang-to-neck match only that now it will be live on TV. Hilarious! I’d love to
    see who among the so-called men can stand Martha’s icy stare. It’ll be
    interesting to get Jirongo’s thoughts on YK92 and his role in it. What about
    his openly polygamous lifestyle? The PM
    can also chip in with vitendawili on KKV, Miguna Miguna and why ODM is bleeding voters
    in the urban centres. Will he be allowed to have his dark glasses on? Will Ruto
    and Uhuru finally announce their on-off marriage?
    Hopefully the venue will be Nairobi and not The Hague. Can’t afford the air
    ticket. The VP, not to be left out, will most probably be asking questions,
    answering himself and then declaring them wrong. Ama vipi? Indeed, Ole Kiyiapi,
    Kenneth and Tuju will be laughed off the stage for having the audacity to give
    some sensible and well-thought-out answers to questions. Have I mentioned
    Mudavadi and Ngilu? No? Well, they’ll be roundly ignored and quietly leave
    before half-time. Blissfully, this will go unnoticed by their few supporters in
    the crowd outside the debating venue. And men, do not watch this debate at home.
    Your choice of words and comments will not be fit for family consumption. You’ve
    been warned.

    • Greenmarshmarrows

      wow, you have written much for a comment, consider starting a blog. You are rather verbose.

  • Greenmarshmarrows

    I wanna jump the gun (kind’a walk before crawling). I think this is OK, but i hope the interviewer and the panel will be fair. Get someone who can have total control on the debate. Otherwise, some candidates will go at one another (coz most have no agenda). I suggest July Gichuru (cute!!, sorry, i didn’t write that) as a debate mover. But again, she gets emotional and carried away. I think i once saw her cry during an interview? But she still remains my best choice if she is couched on how to hold up and detach herself emotionally from the debate. lets see

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.nguyo Dan Nguyo

    With the mind sets of most Kenyan voters I don’t see anything new that will sway voters to a particular candidate based on his ideology and manifesto.