Monday, February 4, 2013

Election Watch: Kenya Presidential Debate 2013 - An Idea whose Time has Come

Presidential Debate
In the last few days it has been death by gubernatorial debates especially Nation TV and Citizen TV which have gone full throttle in securing the gains of the new constitution and expanded democratic space we enjoy. That's not all, with no incumbent running for the March 4 poll the media executed a coup of sorts through the media owners association.

The media fraternity came up with the concept of a presidential debate. The first of it's kind in Africa. At first it was looking mission impossible with initial dates set moved to February 11, 2013 because of a number of factors key among them being a crowded presidential race and no primaries conducted as at that time.

However, this debate looks highly likely and it should be a significant occurrence in the elections calendar. Currently, we are posed for a run off going by the current polls however, there also a huge segment of undecided voters in these opinion polls.
Gainers and Losers
The small parties have all to gain in these debate because they get to share a podium with the two biggest parties. I have been listening to the small parties and my take is that they have a clear policy articulation strategy. However, they are faced with budget constrains and sometimes a media that does not give them airtime

CORD stands to lose the most especially with presidential candidate Raila Odinga who is still the Prime Minister of Kenya. Raila is good with big crowds in his trademark Kitendawili's but it is a wait and see if he will have the incubent syndrome where he is NOT used to being used hard questions which sometimes might look off to someone enjoing the trappings of power. The other to gain/lose is the deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta. Though, not a reigning minister he is the immediate Finance minister before he was forced by civic society to step down because of Hague case. He will be expected to explain to the nation on how they intend to go about the business of  governing the country while they have cases to answer at the Hague. Also, Jubilee launched an excellent manifesto which he will be expected to explain how they will raise funds to execute that five year plan.

For Musalia Mudavadi who is currently trailing the two but has had the backing of former head of state and looks increasingly as a state house project. It will be great to watch Mr. Mudavadi in the same stage with his former party boss Raila Odinga.

Other interesting things to looks for is the chemistry between Martha Karua [the ONLY woman running for presidency this year] and Uhuru Kenyatta and also chemistry between Uhuru Kenyatta and Peter Kenneth whom am told do accommodate each other.

Lastly, I will be looking for Prof. Ole Kiyapi who has been presenting his agenda in a coherent format. The key question is will be professing or engaging.
Facebook Page: Kenya Presidential Debate
Twitter: @KenyaPresidentialDebate2013

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