NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 1 – The first of three presidential debates organised by the Kenyan media will now be held in January 2013.
In a statement, the Presidential Debates Steering Committee said that the debates will now be conducted after party nominations for presidential candidates.
“Following our statement on October 10th regarding the planned first ever presidential debates in Kenya, the joint media Presidential Debates Steering Committee would like to announce that the debates will be held in January 2013 and not November 26th as earlier indicated.”
“The decision to move the debates follows consultations with stakeholders who felt that it would be in the wider interest of the public to stage the presidential debate closer to the March 2013 general election, and indeed after the formal nomination of presidential candidates has taken place,” the statement further said.
The debates are limited to 90 minutes.
The move to have debates after nominations is meant to ensure that they only include those who will appear on the ballot.
The debates were initially supposed to start with the first on November 26, followed by the second on January 14, and the third on February 11, 2013.
According to the Elections Act, political parties are supposed to have conducted nominations by January 18, 2013.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is set to conduct nominations from December 4-6, while the United Republican Party URP has announced their nomination date as January 7.
The National Alliance (TNA) will hold its nominations on December 10.
The debates launched over three weeks ago are aimed at helping voters make informed choices, promoting national cohesion and steering the campaigns towards issue-driven.
Meanwhile the chairman to the steering committee Wachira Waruru has called on the public to engage in discussions, suggest issues they want discussed and possible questions on the debates’ Twitter account https://twitter.com/KenyaDebate2013, Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/KenyaDebate2013, send emails to [email protected] or SMS – 2282.
The country’s TV stations, radios and online media including Capital FM are involved in organising the debates which will see candidates face off with one another in live broadcasts for the first time in the country’s history.
Each debate will have two moderators and four panellists who will engage the presidential aspirants in a question and answer session.