NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 26 – Three presidential candidates who participated in Monday night’s debate say it was a well conducted affair.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Mohammed Dida all asserted it was a fair audit.
Odinga who is seeking the presidency under the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) told Capital FM News that he liked the debate although more time should have been allocated to discuss issues of the economy.
“I think it went well, we are learning as a country, it’s a good start that candidates are being audited for office but I think that the mode of organisation will be improved and even the questions. We did not even get into the ‘meat’ of the economy instead spent a lot of time talking about corruption and integrity,” the PM said.
Kenyatta who is running on the Jubilee Alliance also expressed pleasure at his participation terming the debate ‘fair’.
“We did our best, I think it was fair… it went all,” said Kenyatta accompanied by his wife Margaret and their three children.
Kenyatta later confirmed he enjoyed the debate on his Facebook page saying: “I hope you all enjoyed the debate as much as I did. A Jubilee government is one that will be focused on solutions.”
Prior to the second debate he had indicated his unwillingness to participate following what his campaign team said was the “excited introduction of the International Criminal Court issue as the only ‘elephant’ in the room’ during the first debate on February 11.”
In their letter to debate organisers the Jubilee Campaign team had said: “Unfortunately, the moderators only chose to introduce the ICC ‘elephant’ and thereby created a stage upon which the other candidates could gang up and ruthlessly attack Uhuru Kenyatta as if they were themselves above both blame and suspicion. This was anything but a level playing field and smacked of favouritism, bias and victimisation.”
They had argued that the ICC question took 30 minutes of the entire debate, taking up time that would have focused on other issues of public interest.
Mohammed Dida of the Alliance for Real Change was also happy with the debate saying that it had given the Kenyan voter a chance to make an informed decision in next Monday’s general election.
“Everybody has spoken but I did it from my heart but it is up to Kenyans and their sincerity to make the right decision; with one week remaining I will pray to God that he guides them. Man being man can be the enemy of his own self; he might like a thing that is not good for him and hate what is good for him, that guidance can only come from God,” advised Dida.
The second presidential debate moderated by TV personalities Joe Ageyo and Uduak Amimo focused on land and natural resources, Integrity and maters of the economy.
On Sunday, a poll released by Ipsos Synovate indicated that 93 percent of registered voters felt that presidential debates are beneficial to Kenyans.