Kenya’s Inaugural Presidential Debates 2013

Am sure by now we have all heard of the media initiative and launch of the inaugural presidential debates as can be seen in this video clip

The plan is to host the presidential candidates in a joint forum and live broadcast with interactive participation from Kenyans

The tentative schedule as proposed by the committee is

  • November 26, 2012
  • January 14, 2013
  • February 11, 2013

However I must at this point raise some preliminary issues.

First: “Issue driven” vs “ethnic” politics.

Almost all those at this launch talk about “issue driven” politics vs “ethnic” politics

This is unfortunate because the media is the largest culprit in fanning ethnic politics. The media has many times twisted and contorted public events into ethnic conflicts either to achieve their sales/marketing objectives and in other instances to either denigrate a politician not in their favor and or alternatively give biased advantage to a favored politician. Regardless, one cannot go objectively into a debate if already the moderators have a prejudiced opinion.

The moderators of this initiative/forum cannot go into that debate with preconceived ideas

Second: Dates for the debates

Especially the first date, is a mere 5 or 6 weeks away. The reality is that parliament the other day created a law that allows party hopping right up to mid January.

What this means is that there could be other presidential wannabe’s lurking in the background looking for the right opportunity to launch their presidential bid in January. Also there are party hoppers that will make their shift and allegiances in January, thereby causing significant shift on the political landscape

But more importantly, apart from the self-anointed or self-appointed chest thumping de-facto presidential candidates, I have not seen or heard of any party that has plans to legally  formalise their presidential nomination process earlier than mid-January (someone correct me if am wrong)

Sure these heads of parties are strong and basically unchallenged in their outfits, but the reality is that due process must be followed in their individual parties, calendars and schedules for nomination process must be publicly announced and followed. In light of the fact that as of today, none of these parties has actually announced their internal dates for these processes, doing so now, would be tantamount to the media debates dictating schedules for these parties. It is my view therefore that interviewing these potential nominees is actually committing and perpetuating a public fraud – the proverbial putting the cart before the horse. I am therefore tempted to state that this initiative is a project by the oligarchs to hoodwink and confuse the public

In my view, the listing of the schedule is premature and should begin a day after at least two parties have nominated their candidates. Provision must therefore be made for late nominations otherwise some candidates will have unfair advantage over others

Third: Number of Candidates at the Debate

Considering that there are at least 5 or more candidates. Could even be as high as 15, there need to be some sense of reducing the actual number of candidates to participate in this forum.

Typically one would chose the top say 3 in the polls, unfortunately the credibility of polls in Kenya is very low and partisan. It is also possible that the polls are grossly misleading.

Its however illogical to even assume that one can have more than 3 politicians on a platform to articulate their vision as well as respond to structured and ad-hoc questions. Realistically either the process will be too rushed to provide any valuable insight, or else will be way too long and carry on for even 30 hours if true opportunity is to be provided for adequate question and answer sessions. And this assumes that the politicians are on the same page, with rival policies, this can stretch even more as the candidates or their supporters  rip into each others credentials.

Finally having expended themselves in the first interview, a second, third or even run-off interviews will not add any new value and they will end up repeating themselves. Follow up interviews may be great, but these should be more to do with clarifying issues arising from the first debate rather than conducting new debates

There will be a need to restrict the number of candidates for the debates, the schedule as well as heavily strucuture format in order to optimise the quality for the session(s)

Fourth: Mindset of the Debates

Kenyans are in the habit of going into debate to finish and destroy each other, and come back carrying our “hero” shoulder high.

The media is already setting such a tone for these debates. I think, the media need to reverse this mindset, and require that the tone for the debates be that of articulating policies, interrogating the viability of the policies as well as review of the candidates background etc, otherwise debate can quickly degenerate into unpleasantries.

Kenyans love opportunity to grill an individual rather than discuss opinion. Huge difference. And in turn, some affluent folks love to hammer sense into detractors.

Also some of these candidates are quite intimidating


Overall, this is a welcome initiative, the media has time and again showed its bias for and against certain candidates and I therefore recommend that a credible panel be the one to conduct the debates, the media should do what they do best – broadcast.


This is the first part in this series, keep an eye out for the second part

In the meantime

What do you guys think?

64 comments on “Kenya’s Inaugural Presidential Debates 2013

    • I have now listened to parts of this debate is closely. While many thought that Raila would be Uhurus nightmare, it was actually Dida who who did Uhuru in both in the first and second debate.

      Dida seemed better prepared this time than last time for Uhuru Kenyatta. The letter he produced was a killer in my opinion. That knocked the air out of Uhuru Kenyatta as the land issue was brought closer to home.


  1. having watched the two presidential debates.

    considering that a total of 5 hours was spent on this exercise

    very little came through in terms of querying the candidates on the how/what/where etc of their policies.

    too much went into the whistles and bells and very little on content.

    most of the heated content was on scandals

    what is amazing is that the media houses had a “panel of experts” analysing the shows but never thought it necessary to run the questionnaires by this panel so that the questions to the candidates would have provided more substance

    the plus side it gave raila opportunity to explain once again the molasses plant
    uhuru did poorly on the land issue, hedging too much making him appear untrustworthy. finally conceding to owning 30,000 acres in taveta was a particularly poor decision since it now affirms what people have said all along.

    all in all what this served best was instead of candidates hitting out at each other indirectly in rallies, they were put in the same room to hit out at each other and respond to the same. no surprise that the more democratic and experienced individual (raila) was the one that faced the most criticism on policy. those that have demonstrated oppostition to reform especially during the kibaki govt (uhuru and karua) are now re-inventing themselves as the chief proponents of the constitution and reformed judiciary, yet all this was an effort that has come about largely due to ODM / raila and other untiring agents for change

    and so now in the next 6 days or so, we must go to the ballot to choose between those that vehemently oppose reform and those that have continuously fought to bring about change and reforms. so sad but we do hope and trust that the kenyan is much wiser, more informed and will make the right decision

    CORD it is.


  2. For once, the church is singing the right hymn!

    NCCK cautions against Uhuru presidency

    Protestant churches have said leaders facing crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC) will have a difficult time running government from The Hague.

    The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) said Wednesday it was more difficult for Jubilee Coalition leaders Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto to run a government hundreds of kilometres away compared to the vicinity of State House, Nairobi.

    However, NCCK said the eight presidential candidates were exercising their democratic right to contest in the March 4 General Election.

    “It will not be easy running a government while away as compared to from State House, but we ask Kenyans to exercise their discretion and vote as they want,” said NCCK Secretary General Rev Canon Peter Karanja after a two-day meeting at the Jumuia Conference and Retreat Centre in Limuru.

    “We ask for the law to be followed as we await the court ruling, which we shall agree with,” he said.

    Rev Karanja was referring to Friday’s High Court ruling on a case challenging the eligibility of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto to vie for elective office.

    The church leaders’ meeting discussed the importance of peace and a free and fair election.

    Present were the NCCK chairperson Rev Canon Rosemary Mbogoh, deputy secretary Oliver Kisaka and Zion Harvest Mission Bishop Nicolas Oloo.

    The council also condemned the criticism directed at diplomats for stating their countries position on the elections.

    “NCCK appreciates the interests of the foreign missions, European Union and African Union, because they helped us when the country went haywire and it is not fair to ridicule them,” he said.

    The church leaders said the international community must put pressure on Kenyans to have a peaceful election, but not dictate which presidential candidate to elect.

    The leaders asked young men to refrain from violence and desist from being incited by politicians.

    “In the last election, leaders called for mass action and were later unable to control the young men. Let them not do this again.”

    NCCK promised to mobilise church members to vote on March 4, and participate in voter education to ensure Kenyans are prepared for the elections.

    The leaders asked the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to make sure it delivers a free and fair election.

    Such an election would result to losers accepting defeat and dissatisfied candidates seeking relief in the courts, they said.


    • `
      Of course NCCK is pretending to have woken up from its abetting of the 2007 electoral theft and subsequent PEV.

      NCCK does not have any moral standing anymore to speak out or call against potential pitfalls facing the nation – lest they ‘spoil’ for one of their own.

      The fallacy in this moot, half-hearted public statement from NCCK’s Karanja is exposed by the fact that the official statement released (official record) DOES NOT mention any warning to Kenyans against possibly electing a fugitive President.

      The days of Muge, Okullu, and Njoya when NCCK spoke nothing but the unprincipled truth are gone! It’s now a tribalized church.

      Today’s church leadership is modeled along the pervasive culture of tribalism that dogs the nation. Today…you will not find a Bishop Muge criticizing fellow tribesman President Moi…you will instead find Rev. Karanja abetting Kibaki’s crimes, and trying to use the pulpit to sell yet another fellow tribesmate Uhuru Kenyatta. That’s how NCCK lost its respect and credibility under the Kibaki era.

      Ironically, the biggest stand-out in this statement, buried near the end of the official statement, is NCCK’s malicious and suspicious call warning Kenyans against future mass action.

      NCCK is in essence warning Kenyans against exercising their constitutional right to protest against injustices such as – another stolen election.

      Make no mistake, that’s what this statement is really all about!

      This overt message was similarly sounded at the recent Presidential debate, not just by fringe candidates with no chance of winning – like Martha Karua – but surprisingly, also by one of the moderators (Julie Gichuru).

      Without say, in the same debate, Uhuru Kenyatta seemed to have also been more concerned about ODM’s previous call for mass action – and not his own previous call for mass murder.

      To the likes of Kenyatta, mass action = mass murder. His flawed logic insinuates that calls for mass protest over a stolen election should automatically result in murders…therefore whoever calls for the protests would be responsible for any murders. It’s no longer he can’t believe he is behind the ICC dock while Raila is not.

      Are some people trying to pluck away Kenya’s Bill of Rights soon after the new Constitution was enacted? Are they using media and the church to inculcate such dark-era edicts of the Kenyatta and Nyayo days? Such messages will be treated with the full contempt they deserve! Mass action is a constitutional right of any Kenyan. It is here to stay.


  3. RR and others

    *Mr. Ndirangu Maina of TNA is the managing director of Consumer Insight and below is what he thinks about the Presidential Debate outcome:


    (A). Mr. Odinga did better than the other candidates on:
    1. Devolution
    2. Public service reform
    3. Energy
    4. National security
    5. Foreign policy
    6. Infrastructure
    7. Implementation of the Constitution

    (B). Ms. Karua was seen as the best candidate to deal with:
    1. Corruption
    2. Health care
    3. Social protection
    4. Water
    5. Environment

    (C). Mr. Kenneth was perceived as the candidate best able to bring:
    1. Economic growth
    2. Fight against tribalism
    3. Manage resources.

    (D). Mr. Kenyatta was rated strongest on:
    1. Food security
    2. Job creation.


    Hon. Kenyatta -27%
    Hon. Kenneth -26%
    RT. Hon. Odinga -22%
    Hon. Karua -12%

    Looking at the his overal rating, its is hard to understand how he ended up Ranking our presidential number 3 despite winning on 7 out of 18 issues that we discussed.


    • Guys,
      These are voodoo polls aimed at tarnishing RAO´s image.
      Personally I don’t think that Peter Kenneth performed better than Ole Kiyapi. Infact Ole Kiyapi constructively and effectively answered PK question about teachers leaving PK with loads of mud on his face. The poll is completely tribal and is not worth my time. Besides, it even rates topics such as devolution that are to be discussed in the second debate. Mentioning something is not the same as discussing it.

      UK was tongue tied through most of the debate. How the hell could he will this thing? Its a big joke.

      Are these not the same pollsters who came up with wild numbers tilted in favour of Kibaki in 2007? I rest my case


      • tnk,
        I think that Ndemo has nothing to do.
        He cannot stop people from thinking and speculating.
        Let Mutahi Ngunyi do his thing on behalf of TNA however wrong he is. He is only cheating Uhuru.


      • i actually like Ndemo and the way he has assisted and been instrumental in many ICT projects seeing the light of day. he has done far much more than even the likes of shem ochuodho who is a good friend and whom i consider as one of the most brilliant and leading lights/pioneer of ICT impact in kenya

        i just think that if he wants to join politics he should do the honorable thing like ole kiyiapi, i.e resign, chose his poison and face the electorate. otherwise he should focus on govt and non partisan projects and activities. sio kwa ubaya, he is doing a great job and is needed over there together with chaps like paul kukubo etc. they all need to stop being sucked into the politics. they have no reason or need to.


    • phil

      if that poll is to be believed, the supporters of jubilee only care about their stomachs (food) and jobs. everything else does not matter

      you gotta wonder whether these guys ever think anything through


      • 😀


        somehow one expects a lot more with all that digital talk, Management By SKYpe (MB SKY pronounced sky megabytes) as opposed to Management By Walking Around (MBWA [woof woof] sometimes confused with micro-management), and then there is a lot at stake for the two amigo’s

        i guess it all boils down to simple basic animal self preservation through all, and any means necessary

        the irony of all this is that, the same former central province constituency that vehemently rejects and opposes the former mungiki leadership and warlords but now (…er . … cough cough … ) reformed and engaged in church and progressive political leadership, is now teaming up with the unpredictable and highly volatile rabble base of the very sect and their complementary opposite across in former rift valley to boost their numbers in solidarity and for probably the same causes. bear in mind that these two groups or militia are currently amassing lethal weapons and firepower. in old day mafia society this would be the coming together of two “families”. instead of this worrying the commoner, its actually greeted with euphoria ….. hehehehe ….. now where in history do we find the lessons learnt …..
        i really wonder who is fooling who in these games?

        boggles your mind, doesn’t it?


      • Tnk,
        Note that not all Kikuyus and kalenjins are fools to follow these gangsters to their graves, just like ancient Egyptians servants who were buried alive with the dead pharaoh. At the end of the day they will make a choice that is good for them and the country.

        No Kalenjin in his right mind would want his tea and coffee rot in the fields due to sanctions because of Uhuruto. No kikuyu, and they are the main business people, would have their enterprises suffer because of the two cats. No Kenyan would like to suffer the pangs of hunger in the name of protecting two well fed cats.
        This is simply a battle Uhuruto cannot win.

        Even the wishy washy Musalia Mudavadi had to warn the country against electing Uhuruto during the presidential debates. It’s a grave matter that Kenyans are not going to ignore. Watch this space.
        The overtone window moved ages ago and I don’t think that people will vote blindly in Kenya again.


  4. Karua, Raila, Uhuru rated top in debate


    Narc Kenya boss Martha Karua, assistant minister Peter Kenneth, deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Prime Minister Raila Odinga were the best performers in the Monday presidential debate, according to a new poll.

    Consumer Insight, in telephone interviews of 328 TV viewers conducted immediately after the debate, also ranked the candidates on how they performed in specific issues.

    Many of those who watched the debate said it was very useful with a full 92 per cent saying it helped them understand the candidates better.

    The big surprise was the large number of respondents whom the research firm said had changed their choices after the debate.

    “Indeed 34 per cent of TV viewers said that the debate had influenced them to change their choice of presidential candidate,” said Mr Ndirangu Maina, the managing director of Consumer Insight.

    The surprise of the night was Mr Kenneth whose grasp of issues and facts appear to have impressed a lot of those interviewed.

    Ranked top

    While overall the polling firm’s research said Mr Kenyatta was ranked top by those interviewed, Mr Odinga performed strongly too, being ranked best in seven of the 18 issues discussed.

    Prof James Ole Kiyiapi impressed on one issue, education, on which he was ranked the strongest debater.

    Mr Odinga did better than the other candidates on devolution, public service reform, energy, national security, foreign policy, infrastructure and implementation of the Constitution.

    Ms Karua was seen as the best candidate to deal with corruption, health care, social protection, water and environment.

    In a surprisingly strong performance, the polling firm said its research showed Mr Kenneth perceived as the candidate best able to bring economic growth, fight against tribalism and manage resources.

    Mr Kenyatta was rated strongest on food security and job creation.

    Mr Mohammed Abduba Diba, Mr Musalia Mudavadi and Mr Paul Muite did not quite shine in any of the 18 issues, according to the research firm.

    Overall, Consumer Insight said 27 per cent of the people it interviewed ranked Mr Kenyatta as the best performer, followed by 26 per cent who thought Mr Kenneth did best while 22 per cent ranked Mr Odinga first and 12 per cent gave Ms Karua top marks.

    Mr Dida was ranked best performer by nine per cent of the respondents, Mr Muite two per cent while Mr Mudavadi and Kiyiapi were rated top by only one per cent of those interviewed.

    The polling firm said it interviewed the 328 TV viewers immediately after the debate between 11pm and 1am and from 6am and 8.30am.

    Mr Maina said all respondents confirmed having watched the debate and all claimed to be registered voters.

    “This sample was drawn from a database with over 50,000 people representing all demographics in Kenya,” he said.

    Mr Maina said the data was collected through Computer Aided Telephone Interviews (CATI), a technique that randomizes respondent selection and facilitates efficient data capture.

    He said nearly six out of 10 TV viewers said Mr Kenyatta was right in contesting the presidency, despite facing crimes against humanity charges at the Hague.

    Political scientist and researcher, Mr Tom Wolf, giving a personal analysis, said he thought all the presidential candidates performed well.


    • einstein

      thanks for posting this here and am sure you will agree with me that this is the kind of crappy studies that are slowly killing this nation

      before i analyse how they came up with the evaluations and what each of it means I always try to first understand the background or underlying factors and methodology

      only then can i determine whether its worthwhile to move forward and study the content

      so i do have a number of problems with this study that need some clarification

      before i go into the problems, we are reminded of the mathematical principle or logic that once you start off with a wrong premise, the error carries itself throughout the rest of the solution

      so in this study

      a) first there is no way that these guys can determine with any degree of certainty that all the persons interviewed actually “watched” the TV debate (themselves)

      b) even if they watched, this was at a time (7 to 11 pm) that most people are engaged in (or should be) other domestic duties, activites and chores, (also consider that they never kept to the times) therefore the likelihood that a person was glued to the screen for the entire 4 hours is highly unlikely (and probably quite irresponsible in some settings). some people also dont form opinion and instead rely on the most aggressive household member to set the path

      c) when people followed this interview, they did not expect to be tested after, and therefore the actual power of retention for the average person is significantly lower – see adongo’s note above, i.e the most difficult question for anybody that followed during the live take is “what did you take away from this debate” overall and also per each candidate – many will stutter and ultimately only remember one key issue that resonated or struck them. these guys talk about 18 issues – i’ve watched this debate again today and cannot find 18 issues (they just pulled that from a hat somewhere) note also how they apportion each candidate with only one strength. raila comes out with multiple strengths not because of the debate, but because his public profile is a daily staple in the media. consider that uhuru is remembered for food security and job creation hehehehe did you catch that in the debate? nope, i dont know where food security came from, but job creation for the youth is their jubilee mantra. i mean for crying out loud, even in our hey days in school cramming 18 issues and their responses in readiness for some test was a challenge for the ordinary bloke and only “swots or chops” or whatever the brainy guys were called (dorks, geeks and nerds in today-speak) had the capacity for this amazing retention. most of us nowadays carry a thumbdrive/memory stick for this purpose, while a few tote iPads and what not

      d) in fact the only people who probably followed the entire debate were people who were in social places such as pubs and restaurants, which brings into focus, their state of mind, the influences of those around them etc and how much of that they retained after leaving

      e) how many of these people interviewed are urban dwellers where there is a greater probability of access to TV as opposed to rural based or basically no access to TV. remember when you call a cell phone number, that person could be anywhere in the country, these guys did not call landlines which at least gives geolocation. you will note the study insists on TV whereas am sure many people in communities that do not have as many TVs probably followed the audio on radios. such people will have made different assessment since they do not have the visual eye candy to go along with it. this is an important point since part of the perception is heavily influenced by the visual (does somebody recall the dagger eyes that uhuru gave RAO at some point … hehehe if looks could kill ….)


      am just saying that there are so many parameters here that could easily be false indicators that its impossible to really determine with any form of accuracy this evaluation that these guys came up with

      based on the above, i think that material should not even be printed in the press.

      on this forum i suggest when we get a chance, since we have the technology, to replay, pause, continue the video clip and then make informed and factual decisions that we can publish here. i like what rr, job, adongo and mzee have already posted, i think we can adopt job’s format and break these out to the thematic issues. i would have prefered not to use that buzzword because julie threw it around quite a bit, but did everything else but stick to the thematic issues. on that note i must say i’ve always liked her talk shows, but on this one night, she was completely out of her depth.

      anyway over to you folk, btw einstein, i also know you don’t care much for that article either. but its the mediocrity that we have to live with.

      in my view that this is some snake oil (i have learnt this term from adongo and job) that the DN is peddling to try to influence its readers that a 34% shift has occured. this paves the way for the next “shocking” poll outcomes coming to a theater near you


      • Einstein and tnk;

        Of course this is a propaganda piece aimed at tilting perception. Uhuru performed poorly. They are trying to put his name alongside Raila and Martha as a PR gimmick. We all know that the Consumer Insight works for the Jubilee campaign. Further, you can see from their report that it is a hurriedly cooked. They say Uhuru was strong on food security – pray, who was discussing food security at the debate? What, precisely did Uhuru say on jobs?

        Aside from the fact that Brookside Dairies has written possibly the largest checks to Consumer Insight, it is clear that they have no track record in political research and have no idea about scientific sampling.

        BTW: I am not surprised that the Daily Nation is a part of this plot.


      • TNK,

        You got it right. It is exactly due to the fallacy of this poll that I decided to post it so you folks can be the judges. You have brilliantly pointed out the flaws of the poll. I figured out the intention of the article the moment I finished reading it and as you have pointed out, let us watch out for the next national poll. It is going to be a shocker!

        Can a mainstream media-house really stoop this low? I think His Highness the Aga Khan would do himself a favour by stopping to associate himself with the Nation Media Group which has now chosen to become openly partisan in its reporting of national issues. Otherwise, we take it that His Highness the Aga Khan has also equally become partisan in matters to do with Kenya.

        Below is the advice from His Highness the Aga Khan to the Nation Media Group a while back:

        “But now, NMG’s future will depend on its continued ability to learn and to adapt, to attract leaders and employees of the highest quality, and, driven by an ethic of responsible service, maintain the confidence of its reading, viewing, advertising and shareholding constituents.”

        Folks, am yet to find time to watch the debate a second time and share my thoughts.

        tnk wrote:

        “anyway over to you folk, btw einstein, i also know you don’t care much for that article either. but its the mediocrity that we have to live with.

        in my view that this is some snake oil (i have learnt this term from adongo and job) that the DN is peddling to try to influence its readers that a 34% shift has occured. this paves the way for the next “shocking” poll outcomes coming to a theater near you”


  5. Raila’s skype zinger made my day 🙂 Overall, this was a momentous debate and kudos to the organizers for pulling it off. Would have been better to have the two horses go head-to-head, but some of the pundas/pundni provided the much needed comic relief for what would have been a boring 4hr event. Did any of the candidates persuade the small sliver of ‘undecideds’ to vote for them? Maybe.

    For future debates, I hope the organizers will consider other formats ie give the candidates the choice to move around or stand while making their presentations, sit at a conference table etc. Although a sit-down debate imposes certain limitations, confining somebody behind a podium with no anti-fatigue floor mat is no fun either. I think Martha kicked off her heels at some point and i was waiting for the guys to follow suit.

    Anyway, looking forward to the next debate.


  6. here we go einstein you can rely on DeepCogitation to get any item on the internet.

    note, its a 3hr 15 min clip, might be heavy on page load speed


    • `
      Observation from my sharp-eyed better half:

      1) The most humanistic moment of the debate was (after the debate):

      When the Prime Minister’s first granddaughter Saphie Akatsa, sprinted on stage to his grandfather, hopped into his open arms, and rested her pretty face on grandpa’s cheeks. You can’t fake a soft heart, love or compassion! You can’t practice these natural reactions. This must be a regular moment between the two. The PM’s soft and human side was in full display.

      Martha Karua is equally a proud grand-mother who isn’t afraid to show genuine affection to her family.

      2) The cold and distant post-debate interaction between some of these red-eyed and pot-bellied debaters and their respective families leaves a lot to be desired. Did someone say – the wealthy are not always happy!

      3) Will someone please tell limelight-hogging Ngilu, Balala, Eugene et al., that after the debate, the stage is normally open ONLY for FAMILY MEMBERS of debate participants! Duh! Digital correction from the analogue.

      My 2 cents:

      After nearly a week of dramatic hype about Uhuru Kenyatta’s eloquent superiority in debating, all that followed was an anticlimactic silence from camp Jubilee. The balloon popped. Dida started it all…then Karua pounced…then came the memorable “Skype” analogy that sealed Uhuru’s debating night. The rest is history. How can you run a country through skype jameni!…for 4 godamn years!

      I now wait for the next debate on land, implementing devolution & foreign policy.

      I hope Dida, Muite, Karua et al., don’t set up the PM for another decisive moment. Land is crucial in this debate and I can guarantee it will be thoroughly explored if the moderators choose to ask the right follow-up questions. Millions of landless squatters and IDPs across Taita, Taveta, Kilifi, Kwale, Mombasa, Lamu, Nakuru, Thika, Juja, Endebes, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu are today peeking into Kenyatta’s vast holdings of land from outside the fence. This is Land which could end up through the National Land Commission’s audit for acquisition-history as mandated by the new Constitution – unless Kenyatta is elected of course. A healthy debate would be in order. I do not see the PM letting this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for answers slide without questions. After all, it is the land question that triggered a fallout between the elder Kenyatta and Jaramogi. Does Uhuru Kenyatta espouse and abet his father’s land grabbing policies that have created long-standing tension and instability in Kenya? Does he think a temporary political merger with Ruto will sweep the issue under the carpet permanently?

      On foreign policy – the elephant in the tent (ICC issue) and possibility of sanctions, will likely be revisited. On sabotaging devolution – the moderators will be unfair if they don’t ask about Uhuru’s overt efforts to cut funding for devolution (during stint as Finance Minister)…eg drafting of the Financial Management Bill and his then fights with his fellow DPM Musalia Mudavadi who was working the Devolution Bill. Let us see if the perennial fence-sitter Mudavadi will hold Uhuru accountable for watering-down the Devolution bill through cuts in funding.

      I hope the debate moderators Joe Ageyo and Uduak Amimo are listening!!!! The moderators must ask each of these candidates their stand about County Commissioners – already declared illegal by courts…in relation to devolution. Uhuru should be asked about his colorful role of mutilating the CoE draft provisions on devolution at the Naivasha retreat.

      Fair moderators should also ask Musalia why (even before Johnny Carson spoke), he said “there will be economic consequences if ICC suspects are elected”. We need a real debate folks!


  7. Anybody with the full Youtube video on the first ‘Presidential Debate 2013’ in Kenya, could you please be kind and post it here!?



  8. Folks,

    I’m going to be very brutal now as to what I think of this so dubbed ‘historical presidential debate’

    First, I must say that I have never wasted my valuable time watching such a charade in the name of a presidential debate before. But this could be due to the fact that so far I have only been watching the US and European presidential debates.

    Truly speaking, if those 8 characters are our best out there in Kenya, then a non-entity like myself is also worth consideration when it comes to who should occupy the House on the Hill.

    Secondly and honestly, in as much as Dida made me roar with laughter he was completely out of place. The fellow did not even know what was going on! It pains me even more to know that this is an ex-Lenana High School teacher. The fellow could not utter even one full grammatically correct and well thought out sentence! In a nutshell, he should just give up his ambitions and go back and prepare himself better for maybe 2017. So, I will not even try to go into how he wants to tackle the problems in the various sectors that were under discussion.

    Thirdly, while I would need to watch the whole debate again and replay it over and over, I thought none of the 7 were articulate enough to differentiate their individual policies from the rest vis-a-vis solving the problems bedeviling the various sectors that were discussed. They would solve the problems more or less the same way! When it came to the matter of Migingo, it was only Muite who would be ‘brave enough’ to bomb the hell out of Uganda using Kenya Navy! But how reckless too is that on the part of Muite!?

    Fourthly, Raila will need to be more coherent, precise and articulate in the next debate in two weeks time. Tonight, Raila was painfully searching for the right words and sentences to express himself. I mean the guy should know his manifesto off head by now and shoot his points out like bullets. In this regard the others apart from Dida fared better than Raila. If I were to grade them on their ability to be articulate, I would grade them as follows:

    1.) Paul Muite
    2.) Martha Karua
    3.) Peter Kenneth
    4.) Uhuru Kenyatta
    5.) Ole Kiyapi
    6.) Musalia Mudavadi
    7.) Raila Odinga
    8.) Dida

    I know that Raila is stammerer, but that is no excuse. Practice makes perfect. If you do not believe me just ask Joe Biden!

    Fifthly, even though the top 6 were better in articulating their thoughts, they were unable to expound on their policies in a convincing manner and as such ended sounding just like the disadvantaged Raila and kept on re-defining the problem as stated by the moderators. And it looks like Raila never even listened to Job’s advise of desisting from re-defining a problem in a debate. For God’s sake, use the 2 minutes allotted to provide solutions. In all the cases, the moderators had to keep reminding them that they also needed to give solutions! I thought I am a poor listener, but my God, none of the 8 paid real attention to what they were being asked!

    Sixthly, there was a clear element of ganging up against one particular candidate. All the other candidates, apart from Dida, seemed to gang up against Raila. That was really being cheap especially when 4 of the candidates happen to come from one tribe. It was, for example, cheeky of Karua to ask Raila to explain the wastage and corruption going on in the treasury, yet 3 ex-treasury top honchos are on the panel. Those questions should have been directed at Uhuru, Mudavadi and Kenneth before being directed at Raila. I could enumerate other examples, but I will need to listen to the debate a second time for further analysis.

    Lastly, either Uhuru is naive or he is the most ignorant person I ever met. Sample this, Martha Karua tells Uhuru exactly what Adongo Ogony has been preaching to those who care to listen that while Uhuru is free to run for an elective office, upon his election any Kenyan can go to court and sue him for being in a state office illegally due to breach of Chapter 6 on integrity issues (indictment by ICC) and which might force him to resign. No, Uhuru simply ignores that grave matter coming from a lawyer and ex-Minister for Justice and instead strong-headed goes on to tell/cheat the public how he will still be able to govern from Den Haag!

    What a lot? But that being our very first presidential debate, I am willing to cut all of them some slack!


    • einstein

      will pen my reflections on this inaugural debate in detail a little later but for now have these preliminary remarks to add to your input above and that of adongo

      first off
      of the two sessions, the first half was arguably more lively than the second.

      its easy to point fingers at julie on this but the reality is that a combination of factors like 4 hour debate is a very long time plus the formats were quite different. nevertheless julie was not presenting the questions as is, and her constant post-loading of the questions and answers with her own views/prejudices to qualify did not help

      the second
      on issues of corruption, kenyans have a way to point fingers at others over corruption but never on themselves. i think many do not really know what corruption is.

      corruption: in simple terms is to deviate from established standards, processes and principles of operations or of a product (i.e cut corners) thus compromising any of a number of features. strictly speaking corruption is such a deviation that results in poorer product, coz when the product is superior to one intended, the action is labeled a much happier, innovative (still a corruption but positive)

      so when you set out a timetable of start at 7pm end at 9pm and then start at 7:30 and end at 11pm. right there is the genesis of corruption. when you invite all presidential candidates and skip to invite 2, that there is corruption. when you allocate 2 minutes to answer a question and we have some fellows go 15, 30 seconds over. and others are cut 30 seconds into the response. these are the gaps from which full blown corruption emanates. if you cannot keep to your time schedule, what is to stop a leading candidate in the next session to call you and request a 5 minute delay as they attend to some important matter?

      in a perfect un-corrupted system, all players engage in utmost fidelity to the laid down and established standard without deviation.


      reflecting even on the two debates of Barrack Obama, the first when he was coming in, was fiery and propelled him forward, his second was guarded, moderate and slightly even annoyingly soft and disconnected.

      why? simple, the realities are different from aspirations

      so as expected, the guys with least experience in true public service governance would be the most fiery, lively, hard hitting and what not and therefore carry away the debating trophy, while those in governance have experienced the true burden of being responsible even for decisions they may have personally vehemently opposed. that should explain the marked difference between how the candidates expressed themselves.

      the role of the unbiased moderators was to balance between rhetoric, grandstanding and euphoria that would be associated with newcomers, while at the same time probing deeper the more guarded and cryptic responses from those with a little more in depth experience who certainly know the difference between plying to the gallery or executing state mandate.

      having said that however, i think the media and moderators and the candidates did a remarkably splendid job, all of them

      what remains now is go over the different pieces of information they gave us the real meat and potatoes so to speak, and evaluate in depth what each pledge stands for, whether they articulated well or not is immaterial, the point is that if they deliver on the promise how does that impact the country

      am sure we will have a great week analysing the exact content of their preliminary pledges.

      on a side note, that Dida fellow did inject humor into the program but he is evidently a 40’s man

      taught 40 students, expanded his scope to 40 million but also in this debate after the first 40 minutes, completely lost his touch was mostly irrelevant on most issues thereafter, not giving a coherent response and wandering off, but thankfully however never lost his sense of humor

      he is definitely not cut out for presidency but is a certain welcome addition to any public proceeding mostly for the lightening up of the occasion

      muite’s no nonsense and tough rhetoric is purely for the gallery. the only way to implement his so called tough stance is through a dictatorship. everyone now knows every bit of progress is through negotiated democratic space, no matter how ideal the proposal.

      my biggest disappointment in this debate and reflected across all the candidates is this continued promise of freebies. please all of you stop it. there is nothing free, stop poisoning the minds of kenyans with this nonsense. its not air that you are providing, its manufactured or processed products, and/or delivery of professional services. they are not free. someone somewhere worked to make these happen and therefore somebody else is paying for these. the fundamental goal is therefore to make some of these products and services considered to be basic human rights in the long run to be affordable i.e can be paid for by the ordinary mwananchi, but put in place programs that subsidize costs. we cannot at 50 years after independence still talk about free this and that. let the people know that they cost and in the future they must prepare to meet some of the costs even as govt programs continue to cushion vulnerable people through the subsidised costs.

      enough with the free cheese already

      incidentally this free cheese approach is the greatest hindrance to job creation.

      above all however, just as i anticipated if well conducted, everyone would come out a winner, and with people applying their own patented brand of confirmation bias many (at least from the buzz on twitter) are now convinced their candidate was the best

      ….. to be continued


      • tnk, einstein,

        Just a few things to add. Julie Gichuru wasn’t that bad but my problem with her is she tried to inject herself too much into the debate with the add on questions and some attempts at humour, laughing etc. In this thing mederators have to forget about themselves. You can’t even afford to share a joke. That is up to the candidates if they want to. Only ask the add on question to clarify things if need be. The audience is supposed to only listen to the candidates and your job is to keep them from dodging questions. She also lost control at times and let candidates make speeches.

        This was basically a descent effort but you cannot keep viewers for 4 hours straight. I suspect they lost a lot of viewers in the second segment.

        The one thing everybody will remember about this debate is the ICC question. That is usually the test in any debate. What will people remember 24 hours after the debate.

        Like we have already said the one issue that was thoroughly exposed today is that Uhuru Kenyatta has no idea how he will run the country from The Hague. Nobody should blame him for that because quite honestly there is no answer because it is impossible. But for once that question was asked directly to him more than once, and he struck out clueless on what to say. That will stick with the voters. How exactly is Uhuru going to run the government when he is over there with his deputy? Even his supporters have to ask themselves that question.

        Those manenos of oh I will alternate with Ruto are now gone because the ICC will not settle for anything like that. Oh Kenya is not a banana republic. Oh we have institutions etc. All gone. That is the mother of Uhuru’s headaches right now. And then the Integrity matter.

        And Raila’s comment which had a lot of humour summed Uhuru’s dilemma on the matter “I do not want my competitors to be removed but it is going to be very challenging running the government through Skype” Kenyans are going to remember that for a while and it is a puzzle they have to address.


    • `

      1) Linus Kaikai is a good moderator…Julie Gichuru a biased moderator! Right in front of millions of viewers, her instinctive biases showed clearly. I guess she felt for poor Uhuru after the initial bashing on ICC and tribalism. Besides cutting other debaters short while allowing Uhuru the free-time card; she just felt compelled to chip in ..onto Uhuru’s answer…by adding what the Jubilee manifesto promises like “free meals for school children” etc. Cheeeky girl, Julie! Umepatikana! She also needs to shut the heck up and allow us a chance to listen to the debators…not her!

      2) All played safe — none making a grave mistake nor showing exemplary performance.

      3) Raila Odinga won this debate within the first few minutes when he focused on debating his main challenger Uhuru. He then virtually started jogging through the race. I guess those who thought he would stammer and bite his tongue in this debate were disappointed when the “analogue” eloquently told the “digital” it couldn’t “skype” through the Presidency from the Hague.

      4) Uhuru lost this debate because he focused too much on stylistic delivery (putting effort on eloquence etc) rather than substance. He skirted answering the crucial ICC issue and several others. To be fair, Uhuru was tongue tied for the beginning of this debate because there is no justification for running for the Presidency when charged for the most serious crime on earth. He couldn’t have had an answer…other than what he can’t dare utter — he is running for Presidency precisely to save himself from the ICC (at the expense of our entire nation). Big trouble on Uhuru was his lying. He tried to lie through the local tribunal question — all newspapers will show that the cabinet shot down Mutula Kilonzo’s second attempt to bring the local tribunal. But Uhuru insisted and even asked people to check the records…we already have…and it’s not good on him. Lying in front of millions without blinking doesn’t reflect well on Uhuru’s character…

      5) Julie Gichuru cut off Muite the moment he started discussing the need for forensic audit of our budget…I guess to avert a response from Mr. Budget typos. Muite and Karua’s brand of populism is full of rhetoric and bereft of sincerity though. They made good sound bites which are quite easy to scratch off.

      6)The holier-than-thou stance by Karua was pathetic. Karua was good at criticizing Raila (CORD) and Uhuru (Jubilee) regarding their party primaries…yet her party didn’t conduct any. Talk of “hand-selection democracy”. Either because her party has no followers or she just decided to save the cash. Yet she tried to make hay out of other candidates’ party nomination troubles. That’s called throwing stones when you live in a glass house. History will show that Karua was the by-election queen of issuing party nomination certificates to party hoppers like Sonko & Kabogo. Karua must also be thinking Kenyans have forgotten her biased allocation of water resources during her stint at the Ministry of Water…or her blind defense of the first Kibaki administration (& all its ills). She is on record castigating Githongo’s whistel-blowing effort…and supporting the ’07 election robbery. She is actually irrelevant in the eyes of many voters…and polls show it.

      7) Musalia
      showed the nation why he deserves the title “fence-sitter”. On principled matters, he’ll never take a side. He couldn’t resist playing Kibaki’s court jester…never missing an opportunity to throw platitudes that way. At this rate, he needs to start thinking about joining Kibaki in Othaya to continue the praise singing.

      8) Peter Kenneth did ok in what appeared a thoroughly rehearsed performance. Had little substance and often veered off.

      9) Ole Kiyapi did better than many of these folks…I give him props for both eloquence and substantive grasp of the issues.

      10) If only Dida added a little more seriousness into his humor..and stopped going off topic frequently..he may have nailed this debate.

      More baadaye!


      • Job,
        You nailed it.
        Martha Karuas attempt to be better than everybody else will be her downfall. Nobody will ever forget the way she defended Kibakis theft at the KICC in 2008. We are yet to forget the way she forced her way, GSU in toe into Kivuitus room and made him to declare Kibaki the president. Its not lost to us that she was the most hawkish minister in Kibakis government. It wont surprise me if she knew about the planning of the PEV that UK was involved in. Truth will come out even if it takes 100 years.


    • Einstein,

      Will come back on it. but I think Raila did way better than you give him credit. Uhuru dodged the most important questions on tribal mobilisation & the ICC. I thought PK was profound, MaDvD was clearly nervous. Karua was forceful, Dida kept me awake in the 2nd section, Ole Kiyiapi didn’t have a clue on most issues & Muite was more or less a heckler.

      My quote of the day “You can’t run a government using Skype”.


      • Brother Siguda,

        I know that I am too hard on Raila, but it is all because I care about him and as such he cannot afford to let me down!!


      • Folks,

        The coalition of the accused are now planning to take this Skype thing to a whole new level. They want to attend the Trial through Skype. If you think I am joking check this out. OK they want to use video links but what is the difference!,-Ruto-explore-video-link-use.

        That is a non-starter but lawyers are eating some good money giving these guys a lot of vodoo legal advice. Doing a case status conference is not the same as attending the actual trial. They can do the case conference from my Bondo farm (at a fee) but the trial is another story altogether.

        You are needed within 30km of the court for the trial precisely because if there are any court orders including arrests it should be implemented without any problems. Uhuru and Ruto going into a bunker in River Road (undisclosed location) is not an option. Using the Embassy is not an option. Are these not the same embassies that Uhuru and Ruto are asking not to be involved in our politics? Now you want to take one over for years so you can run the country from the Embassy? Come’on. Get real.

        Back to the presidential debates. In the US it is somehow the little unexpected things that happen or are said during these debates that people remember the most and become part of the folklore of the nation because somehow it captures something that bothers the voters.

        In the Reagan -v- Mondale debate it was Reagan’s remark about age that charmed America. ” I will not use age in this election. I will not use the inexperience of my challenger against him”. Reagan said something like that and all of a sudden turned the big question Americans heard about him, his advanced age, to his advantage.

        In the Al Gore -v-George Bush debate it was when Al Gore rolled his eyes as Bush was saying dumb things and later when moved from his stand and went near Bush in what Americans thought was rude and threatening. It brought out the worst in Al Gore. Arrogant and condescending.

        In Kenya’s first debate it may very well be Raila’s “Skype moment” our nation will remember for a long time to come. Why? Because for the first time Uhuru was asked the question many of us have been asking in these blogs for years.

        Uhuru was asked to his face before tens of millions of Kenyans how he will govern the country while at The Hague for his trial which could take years. Uhuru had absolutely no answer. This was not in the rallies where they just make things up and resume dancing.

        So when Raila made the Skype comment it was something that captured the mood and even the heart ache of the nation. Everybody even Uhuru’s supporters are eager to know how Uhuru and Ruto will run the country while at The Hague should they be elected. You can lie to them for only so long.

        Sadly enough for Mr. Kenyatta this matter came up in the worst week. Two days from now the ICC will make their schedule public and if they declare as many expect that both suspects have to be at The Hague starting April 10, 11 for as long as it takes, it could be the biggest game changer in this election. It is coming and we will be back to the 26 minutes of the debate that centred on the ICC issue all over again. How to govern from The Hague if elected, that will be the issue and we know Skype is not an option. So what is the option?


      • `

        I concur it’s no longer a joking matter. Kenyans should understand the nuts-and-bolts of why it is impossible to run the country from the Hague through Skype. That is precisely why we will start asking the following questions:

        1) A President is the chief executive, or chief bureaucrat, of the nation and is ultimately responsible for all the programs in the executive branch. He/she will be responsible for seeing that “the new Constitution and all laws are faithfully executed.” The President is expected to set the broad policy for the executive departments and agencies — land policy, taxation policy, transportation, police reforms, DPP reforms, etc. How do you just do these daily and face-to-face undertakings over Skype?


        2) A President must chair the cabinet face-to-face at least weekly – where crucial national interest matters are debated. It was shown under the Kibaki government that fewer cabinet meetings entrenched secrecy in government – which is the fertilizer of corruption, skewed allocation of funds, tribalism and impunity. I know cantankerous William Ruto says damn things (like running a country through the internet) and always gets away with it — but how would Uhuru conduct such cabinet meetings through Skype or other internet applications? Do these folks know the risk of conducting top-level discussions about national interest through the ‘porous’ internet medium?

        3) A President receives security briefs and intelligence every morningdoes Uhuru seriously think top security honchos will fly daily back and forth to the Hague to give him such briefs. These exchanges can’t be done over the phone or internet applications like Skype for obvious security reasons.

        4) A President must immediately act on those security briefs — many times requiring summoning officials face-to-face to be given direct instructions. How do you do this over Skype without exposing national interest ‘out into the world’?

        For a country besieged by corruption and impunity like Kenya, just how can you be an absentee President? For a country at a crossroad moment of implementation of its new Constitution, just how can we have an absentee President for almost an entire term?

        5) A President conducts delicate trade negotiations on behalf of its country. With oil extraction in the offing, many such negotiations will be held in the next couple of years. How does a President conduct such sensitive discussions through Skype? Wouldn’t the entire country of Kenya be consigned into negotiations from a point of disadvantage over such trade matters? When your President is either a fugitive or restricted plaintiff in court — your country’s negotiating power in trade matters is automatically diminished! Ask Bashir and Mugabe.

        6) A President regularly receives foreign diplomats and emissaries over crucial bilateral messages which can’t of course be conducted through Skype — will Kenya freeze and suspend all its diplomatic undertakings in the next 4 or so years awaiting the ICC trial outcome?

        7) A President is the symbolic head of state who presides over state functions, national day celebrations and other undertakings…will these be done through junior proxies or via Skype from the Hague? Both are practically impossible.

        8) A President is essentially the chief pusher of legislative agenda in the house. Kenya will uniquely be having a bicameral house.

        We shall be setting up 47 county governments for the first time ever, how dare we do this with an absentee President and absentee Deputy President? Are Kenyans seriously contemplating starting this new terrain with an absentee President and Deputy President?

        Many legislative lobbying efforts by state house are done in person — you can’t do them by Skype. In any case, the idea that a President would accent Bills through postal mail or the internet or Skype will be as ridiculous and impractical as a terrible joke.

        9) A President is the commander-in-chief of all armed forces of the land. Kenya is still engaged in ongoing war in Somalia. There are ongoing border disputes with Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda, and Ethiopia. Are we seriously contemplating creating a vacuum over this serious matter. Do we even realize the direct implication regarding possibility of military coups and such unknowns that could be triggered by a power vacuum?

        10) Uhuru’s power-vacuum case is worse because of what Martha Karua raised in the debate yesterday. Should anyone take the case against Kenyatta’s assumption of office (based on Integrity requirements of Chapter 6) while he and Ruto are away at the Hague — the courts can easily rule their Presidency and Deputy Presidency null and void..sending the country back into another expensive election –still in their absence.

        Kama haiwezekani haiwezekani!


    • Einstein;

      I do not know what you were watching. Raila won this debate on the two issues that mattered: ICC and Tribalism. On the ICC question, he skilfully let Uhuru get roasted by Dida and Karua and then managed to say that he wanted Uhuru to run before wondering about how we could run the government by Skype. That is a memorable moment. Now independents, if they exist – as well as any sane Kenyan – will have to ask themselves whether the accused can really be a choice.

      On tribalism, he managed to tie Uhuru and Ruto to Mutahi Ngunyi’s tribal calculations, and Uhuru could not parry that one. That was aimed straight at all the 40 other tribes who are considered insignificant. It was comical that Uhuru had to spend precious debate time claiming that he campaigned here and there… etc. But Raila had another strong point, he managed to, on at least three occasions to contextualise Kenya’s problems in the wider struggles we have faced


      • rr,

        have listened undisturbed to the first hour of that clip and paid more attention than i did earlier when it was live. you are right, raila lobed several stun grenades into the jubilee team as regards the ICC vs local tribunal. but it was the simple minded questions from dida that unraveled uhuru. if a junior clerk steps aside, why is the goal post shifted for jubilee. martha goes further to quote the law that one remains suspended while awaiting outcome so will uhuru be suspended before being sworn in or will he and ruto be sworn in first then suspended. this is actually what adongo has been saying here. that they cannot be prevented from running but must be barred from holding office. wow wow wow. i really hope that we have upright folk at the high court who will make judgement or ruling that makes sense out of this mess. i hope they wont hide behind 300 page ruling

        the simple fact is that uhuruto will be in charge of govt. how then can they preside over junior clerks being sent on compulsory leave so as to investigate some claim, when they themselves have not just a log but the entire forest in their eye. this will lead to an even worse “cow shar” of impunity as muite correctly states.

        maajabu kweli


      • I think that participants in the debate could be grouped into more the one group.

        Group one
        Those who were there to have fun knowing full well that they had no chance on earth to win the elections. The most extreme in this category were Dida, Ole Kiyapi and Muite. These guys were out to have a ball and this showed in their body language. Interestingly they were the most relaxed amongst the candidates. I this group Ole Kiyapi won.

        Group two
        The next group was that of Peter Kenneth and Martha Karua who also know full well that they cannot win the elections but are perhaps testing the waters for 2017. Their main mission was to score points by having a cat fight with Raila and trying to portray themselves as clean as pamba. Here its Martha Karua who carried the day.

        Group three
        Then we have the wishy washy Musalia Mudavadi, the perennial fence sitter not willing to tackle any issue head own. He was out to project himself as a “clean pair of hands” even though the very hands are deep in Goldenberg and Cemetery scandals. In this group Mudavadi was entertaining himself.

        Group four
        Lastly we had Raila and Uhuru who have a real chance of winning the elections. They had to say the right things on certain issues and appeal to their support base and reach to those undecided voters. Raila won this one.

        Memorables in my opinion

        Muite:- He will ring Migingo with our armed forces and chase away the Ugandans.

        Dida:- Asking Uhuru to step and aside and not contest and saying that Kenyans are devil worshippers in spite of majority being Christians.

        Ole Kiyapi:- Will have a minister e.g. for internal security stay in a problem area (eg Pokot) until security issues are resolved. It will be a permanent lock down for the minster. Made me giggle.

        Peter Kenneth:- I don’t remember anything from him

        Martha Karua:- Terms Uhurus failure to recognize that he is facing heavy crimes against humanity as impunity.

        Mudavadi: – Reminded Kenyans to think about the consequences of making certain choices (read electing Uhuru).

        Raila Odinga:- Admonishing Muite calling his ICC statement most irresponsible.
        Saying that it would be difficult to run the county via skype while at the same time welcoming Uhuru Kenyatta to be on the ballot.

        Uhuru Kenyatta:- I will plan micro chip into livestock.
        I’m seeking an elective not appointed post and need not step aside.


      • DC,
        On another note I do think that we have been proven right once again as far as the choice of moderator Julie Gichuru is concerned.

        The lady was making the worst mistakes a moderator can do. She was allocating different time limits to candidates, interrupting them unnecessarily, did not have proper follow up questions etc. But the most irritating was that she reframed the questions from the audience thereby changing their meaning and even adding her own thoughts. The audience asked very easy questions and there was no need for simplification or even clarification. Instead of injecting new angles to questions that were not hers in the first place she should have simply asked whatever question she had in mind at the right moment. She actually thought that this was one of her shows with Opondo and Makali. I know that even the best moderators often make mistakes but hers was downright outrageous. It killed the spirit of the second part of the debate.

        The next debate will be moderated by a lady that I like called Uduak Amimo and Joe Algeyo might be better. Uduak is a more focused person and I believe she will bring that to the screen.


      • RR,
        Its true that the numbers issues has all of a sudden become a thorn in the flesh for Uhuru Kenyatta. How he now wishes Mutahi Ngunyi did not come up with those silly predictions? Uhuru is now on the defensive on major issues.
        (1) Numbers
        (2) ICC
        (3) Land

        While Uhuru has always thought that Raila is his worst opponent, it turned out that Dida and Martha Karua were his nightmare. They deflected many questions that would have been put to Raila. These two are God send to RAO. Just have a look at the social media and you will see that Dida made many peoples day. He was simple and straight to the point, never mincing his words. Never mind how he delivered his points.

        Did you notice Uhuru Kenyatta saying that Raila did not mobilize ODM troops to reject the Hague proposal in parliament. I was kind of taken a back because Uhuru Kenyatta himself was leading those who were for The Hague. Its ironical that he wanted the PM to marshal numbers to defeat his (UKs) own plans of handing themselves over to The Hague. God answered his prayers.

        I think that the moderators should have asked Uhuru why he marshaled his troops in parliament to vote for the Hague?


    • thanks for the update einstein

      i think also in addition to the links above, most TV stations have their own on-line live tv feeds, some work better that others.

      looking back at the original post and comments on this thread, it was spot on in many aspects

      we are now to the final bits, where we will hopefully find some unbiased probing from the moderators

      item no 4 i.e public perception is still ridiculous and from comments on twitter and facebook it appears as if folks are still going into this with the mindset that someone will be crowned “debate winner”. typical kenyan mindset

      well lets remind kenyans that in the ideal world, each candidate has a style unique unto themselves in how they plan, prioritise and execute agenda. in the real world given fair opportunity they will all come out as winners i.e a tie, since the end result is they all mean good for the country (at least that is what they will put out for public consumption)

      regarding how well they articulate their agenda, this is neither here nor there. lets reflect on this, imagine kibaki was in that debate, he’d be floored in first five minutes. the man has increasingly become inconsistent and not cohesive in his responses. but that does not mean he is less capable than prof Kiyiapi who may turn out to be the sharpest debator for example.

      as for trying to blow holes through their vision, hopefully that cannot happen because irrespective of presentation, all these candidates have immense experience in public and private sector and unless someone goes on a very steep and biased tangent (belligerent) it would be impossible to catch these guys out.

      leaves only one avenue therefore if one really wants a winner, …. mud slinging …. you gotta query specific baggage (e.g suspect deals, criminal or civic cases, or just generally lack of experience or steely resolve) brought forward by some of the candidates.

      still its going to be a very interesting debate, looking forward to it, and wish all the presidential candidates success

      what is not clear is what happens to the two left out (muite and dida) and also hoping they all turn out and none of the 6 misses out.


    • Mzee, tnk and others,

      I just asked a colleague what she thought. She said her best moments were when Raila talked about the girl child and sanitary towels. This led to a discussion about how Raila hugged and kissed Ida and, just like Karua, had the granddaughter with him at the end. In addition, while Raila took time to greet all candidates when coming in; people like Musalia just walked stiffly past.

      Uhuru forgot his wife and when leaving she looked lost. Perhaps he was just pissed off. Perhaps all those rumors that she is just being paid to keep up appearances have some credence, after all.

      Those were observations of a female colleague.

      A taxi driver made this point as he dropped me off at a meeting: when people were asked to introduce themselves, Raila said he is an engineer by profession. Kiyiapi talked of years of service, teaching and civil service…. Uhuru did not really have anything to say. For what is his profession? I tried to defend Uhuru saying he is a political scientist? But he should have said that himself.


      • RR

        Raila is also the only candidate to have addressed the impact of climate change on Vision 2030 targets, and indeed CORD being the only coalition to include this critical matter in its manifesto.

        Generally, my view is that CORD will have to contend with a hostile partisan media since Jubilee not only owns majority of mass media, they also are thinking ahead and sponsoring callers, commentators, Op-Eds and even newscasters themselves to make comments or ask questions that favour their coalition.

        We blogged about this hostile media today using the Obama statement and reactions to it as examples. Nation is even going further to publish completely fabricated reports with the sole intent of driving a wedge within CORD constituent parties. This Media I believe is the biggest adversary standing between CORD and a first round election win.

        The latest opinion poll (being released at this hour) shows (contrary to popular belief) CORD ahead of Jubilee in Nairobi County, save for the Senator and Women Rep positions. In Mombasa, it looks like it is going to be six piece in favour CORD (I just love these coastarians!).

        Let’s wait for the second debate.


      • Phil – I hear you. I’ve been catching up with comments here and I have just seen that the Nation even contacted job to ‘prove’ their neutrality. My take is that we must do our best to expose them over the next few weeks especially when their bias is too obvious.

        Two other queries:

        What was Peter Kenneth saying about a German foundation being behind his bid? Is that even legal?

        What was Muite’s game plan? He seemed to be targeting Raila and ignoring Uhuru. Has he made a calculation aimed at inheriting Uhuru’s voters? Has he been compromised. I have listened to Muite on ICC before, among other issues and his views were different.


  9. How the presidential debate will be conducted

    Brookhouse International School’s auditorium in Karen, Nairobi, where the debate will

    By Abdikadir Sugow

    Nairobi,KENYA: History will be made on Monday when six of the eight presidential candidates spar in Kenya’s first-ever election debate.

    Up to 44 million people are expected to follow the much-anticipated debate live on TV, radio and online, making it the biggest media event in Kenya’s history.

    The debate, an initiative of the Kenyan media, will be beamed live from the Brookhouse International School’s auditorium in Karen, Nairobi from 7pm. The second debate will be on February 25 at the same venue.

    The Sh100 million event will showcase the presidential candidates’ policies on the issues that affect them, hopefully enabling voters to make better choices.

    And the presidential candidates are not taking the debate lightly.

    With all confirming attendance for the showdown, CORD candidate Raila Odinga has booked his rehearsal today in the same venue with Mudavadi, Kenneth and Karua expected to rehearse their lines tomorrow.

    The organisers said Google would stream the debate online, while international media outlets CNN and Reuters will also cover the event.

    Local media will stream the debate live on eight television and 34 radio stations.

    The candidates include Raila Odinga, CORD presidential flag-bearer, Martha Karua (Narc-Kenya), Peter Kenneth (Eagle Coalition), Musalia Mudavadi (Amani coalition), Uhuru Kenyatta (Jubilee) and Prof James ole Kiyiapi (Restore and Rebuild Kenya).


    Safina’s Paul Muite and Mohammed Abduba Dida of Alliance of Real Change party were time-barred because they were not in the picture when the organising committee began preparing the exercise.

    Contacted, Muite said: “Since the organisers have excluded me from participating in the debate, it is inappropriate for me to make any comments. I don’t want anyone to think it is a case of sour grapes”.

    Dida said it was unfair to exclude him, saying organisers should have waited for all candidates to be cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

    “They should not be undemocratic to decide for Kenyans who will be in the debate. They should have waited for the legal process where IEBC officially clears candidates,” he said.

    The ‘Presidential Debate 2013’ director of operations Francis Munywoki said the event would last two hours, with the candidates fielding questions from two moderators – NTV’s Linus Kaikai and Julie Gichuru of Citizen TV.

    Munywoki said during the first round of the debate, issues of governance, social services (health and education), security and resource management would be discussed. After the discussion, there will be an expert analysis on the thematic issues discussed.

    Various experts will delve into the viability of the ideas projected by the candidates and put issues in perspective.

    During the second debate, deliberations will revolve around the economy, land, devolution and foreign policy. KTN’s Joe Ageyo and Citizen TV’s Uduak Amimo will moderate this round.

    “At 7pm on Monday, each of the candidates will walk into the auditorium one by one. They will shake hands before the National Anthem is played and they will then be allowed thirty seconds to introduce themselves,” said Munywoki.

    Each candidate has been allocated two minutes to answer a question, including clarifications from the moderator.

    “The moderator can probe a candidate’s response further for 30 seconds, and an additional 30 seconds to one minute will be allowed for rebuttal,” he added.

    In designing the time slots, Munywoki, who is also the Director of Value & Innovation at the Standard Group, said the panel studied patterns in other countries that have conducted similar debates.

    The presidential debates of the US were of keen interest to the team led by Royal Media Services Chief Executive Officer Wachira Waruru.

    Others in the steering committee are Linus Gitahi (Nation Media Group), Sam Shollei (Standard Group), Paul Wanyagah (Media Max), Patrick Quarcko (Radio Africa), Julius Lamaon (Kass TV) and Waithaka Waihenya (KBC).


    The team has compiled more than 5,000 questions directed to the six candidates through SMS, email, Facebook, Twitter and others delivered to Standard Group offices in Nairobi.

    The secretariat has a research wing made up of veteran journalists and subject experts who have tightened the questions that the candidates will answer.

    “This will be an opportunity for the candidates to engage the audience and show what really differentiates them from their competitors,” Munywoki explains.

    He adds: “This way, we want to use of the media to help the electorate make more informed decisions during the elections and at the same time, create peace.”

    A guest list of 200 has been drawn up representing all sectors. According to the rules, there will be no clapping, cheering or jeering during the debates.

    Political materials including banners, signs, literature, party-branded clothing among others will also not be allowed into the auditorium.

    Time limits on responses will also be strictly observed.

    There will be visible timing mechanism and moderator intervention when a candidate exceeds his or her time.


    • i hope the moderators are balanced. the press has characterised this debate as some kind of UFC contest, and poisoned minds to somehow expect some one to come out declares as winner of the contest. typical macho men games that are unnecessary.

      this should be a platform for the candidates to articulate their master plans, and for people to interrogate the how, when what etc they intend to deploy.

      it has been marketed as a platform where there will be much bruising and / or to be entertained.

      other than that, i hope the questions they ask can be answered within the 2 minute window alloted. one cant ask an open ended question like, how will you rebuild kenya and expect a 2 minute response. people write three book volumes to answer such a question.


      • you have to give it to that Dida fellow

        he hit home some very low level stuff that pretty much knocked out the wind from uhuru and ICC

        interestingly, muite used the opportunity to play to the homeboys gallery, i think he sees a gap that he can slide into

        however his “tough stance” is pure rhetoric. people talk a lot when they don’t have the mandate. its different when you are directly responsible.


      • tnk and Adongo,
        That Dida guy is something. When he hits below the belt he does with a lot of funfair . He almost finished off Uhuru with the ICC sucker punch, I dont think that UK saw that coming. Asking UK why he should not resign or rather step aside from being DPM and even running until he is cleared. Then Martha Karua went full throttle on the ICC before Muite jumped in to save Uhuru. In saving Uhuru he went for Raila´s neck but Raila used the opportunity to tell the man off terming his utterances “most irresponsible”. The audience loved it that counter punch from RAO. From there on Muite became a good boy and minded his business to the very end. That PK guy was talking his own stuff for I don’t remember anything constructive that he actually said though he talked alot.

        Actually the ICC question was God send to Raila for he had the opportunity to deflect all the lies. I had to smile when he narrated how Ruto mobilized some ODM rebels to reject the local tribunal in parliament. Ruto was shown twisting himself in his chair in what seemed to be anger for this time the truth was being told and he had to sit a listen. Uhuru on the other hand just stood there and listened not knowing what to say. I kind of felt sorry for him.

        Raila actually amused me when he said that Jubilee thought that they could run the government from the Hague via skype.

        more later…just a quick reflection.


      • Round two of the debate was on policy and one would think they were all reading from the same manifesto. Julie Gichuru was a disaster as a moderator. Nothing stood out from anybody. They all want to provide free education, free medicare etc.

        Essentially the fireworks on this debate go to round one where Uhuru was just overwhelmed with the ICC nightmare. Even the tribalism debate was a little better than the round two debate. Raila’s perspective of taking tribalism back to its doorsteps in 1963 where the rain really started beating us was brilliant. He should have explained it a lit more by showing that everytime Kenyans burried the tribal monster it has been brought back by the leaders. Kenyatta did it in 1963 to 1978.

        Kenyans burried tribalism again in 2002 when they united across the land to end the Moi dictatorship and as soon as Kibaki walked into State House he locked the door and invited the worst tribal chauvinists and the result has been a disaster. Kibaki soon became a Kikuyu president and not the Kenyan president that he was supposed to be. So it is true tribalism is not a problem with the citizens. It is the leaders who have used it and they do so to benefit themselves and create the myth that those who oppose their rotten governments were not fighting them but fighting their tribes.

        The next debate on Feb. 25, 2013 will be interesting. The ICC maneno is coming clearer by the end of this week. The Integrity issue will also be known this week. Uhuru may be coming to that debate extremely vulnerable. If he couldn’t tell Kenyans how he will run the country from the Hague today, in the next debate the matter could even be a lot worse. Raila’s Skype TV comment may not be a laughing matter any longer depending on how things work out this weekend. And foreign policy will be on the table next debate. Expect the sanctions issue to be front and centre.

        But one thing which came out is that those who had invested on Raila falling on his sword and not being able to communicate in this kind of forum need their money back. These things are deadly when you have a baggage too big to carry around and the person with that nightmare right now who might want to skip the next debate would be Uhuru Kenyatta. I was surprised how mixed up Peter Kenneth is. He seems to me to be the most overrated politician. The Prof. is way better than him. Muite tried too hard to make an impact. We need Dida for the entertainment and the occassional down to earth way he brings up. I think Martha Karua thinks too highly of herself and will have to retire after March 4, 2013. Uhuru Kenyatta didn’t do too bad but he really never recovered from the ICC tsunami in round one. He did not expect the matter to be that hot and the moderator was great.


    • I am going to watch the debate. Raila should be very careful to avoid any pissing contests with the fringe candidates who see this as their jack pot. He should also just have fun with the debate. I have seen Raila here in Toronto in Q&A sessions answering questions sometimes for hours. I have probably been his worst nightmare in those sessions because I ilke to pick fights with him and he has been incredibly gracious. Never got angry.

      The last time he was here there was a tag team of me and my friend James Karanja asking him some very tough questions and at one point he started singing a gospel song and laughing. That was hilarious. He is going to surprise a lot of people today. Miguna who was the MC thought I was unfair in some of the questions but he didn’t mind them either


      • interesting but mostly boring.

        My take from the debate up to the half is that in pretty turned into a dock for Uhuru over the ICC matter and it is obvious Uhuru has no idea how he would run the country from The Hague. He avoided the question but couldn’t get away. That ICC thing is brickwall for Uhuru Kenyatta and if he didin’t know that already now he knows. We will see the second round but round one goes to ICC.


  10. as we very aptly captured in this thread

    the move by the media was highly premature at the time and reeked of ulterior motive

    as it is, we were quite right in our assessment at the time, and now with formations of coalitions, fall outs, defections etc, plus rescheduling of nominations to the very last possible day. it clearly shows what a waste of time and effort this exercise would have been if carried out by the media at that time

    at this point in time and with our usual 20/20 hindsight we now hope the media can start preparing for this

    hehehe that is if they are still interested [at the time they wanted to soup up uhuru, but now they have it in the bag ……. hehehehe (all that fuzzy ethnic math is making some quarters more high that mututho would like)….. or do they wink wink 🙂 ]

    anyway if the media is still interested, with the race beginning to take shape, we are in a better position now. of course they have to keep in mind, the time for the candidates has been severely shortened, its very unlikely they will honor media summons, perhaps the best they will do is individual interviews rather than the mass candidate debate envisioned.

    still, now is the time to start planning/prepping for this event

    though it looks to me like the media fire died out


  11. Seriously, someone needs to regulate the Kenyan media

    First they fan the euphoria of aspirants, and want to even hold “presidential” debates based on aspirant ethnic popularity.

    Then they fan ethnic hegemony

    And now they are wishing death on some of the aspirants

    Surely who is going to set the standard for responsible journalism

    Instead of reporting events, the Kenyan media is now hell bent on wild speculation, meaningless conjecture, slander and crafty art of inventing news.

    Shame on irresponsible journalism


  12. well well

    exactly as discussed here, the media have finally “seen the light” although a somewhat rather dim bulb

    the media is largely responsible for creating and fanning the euphoria of “endorsing” aspirants instead of waiting for formal nomination of candidates by respective political parties or independents and as well as their ratification by whatever vetting institution or process that will be responsible for applying the provisions of chapter 6 (whether before or after the elections – taking into account the outcome / ruling on the case currently before the courts)

    IMHO, the kenyan media is a great impediment to good governance in kenya


    • Yap,

      Now we are talking. I am glad they got the message loud and clear. Still there are a lot of issues. If they want to copy the US system they need to establish a presidential debate liaison team of sorts which is non-partisan (probably impossible to set up in Kenya).

      The media houses are grossly partisan not just in Kenya but everywhere. No sane person would expect Fox Media group to be in charge of organising a presidential debate in the US. Same way no sane Kenyan would expect the Daily Nation (which is in bed with kina Uhuru and the elites in power) to set up any presidential debate. The whole thing has to be a protracted negotiation with the candidates to set up the rules. The media cannot just sit somewhere and cook up some stuff then call the candidates.

      Also what is the cutting off point or will they have every tom, dick and harry.


  13. I welcome any initiative which can make political issues clearer. However I am not so sure if the proposed debates will meet or even has this as objective. A well organised debate could be seen as civic education. I remember the forum interviews by Louis Otieno in 2005 (The big debate) featuring the November 2005 referendum and (life on the Road) leading up to the 2007 elections.
    I enjoyed these debates as very informative although later came to the understanding that some politicians do not stick to their words. They offer an opinion though can turn 180 degrees within a few days later. No one (journalists) ever challenge them to what they said before.

    The debate could be used to make issue statements more specific like what is meant by “change” or “I Believe Experience”. All candidates will tell to create more jobs for the youth though how will they do this? Is the difference between the parties just the proposed number of jobs or how will they do this; the quality, sustainability, economic impact of the jobs. Are they using the youth for a limited period to clear a river or cutting water hyacinths or do they create an environment with quality sustainable jobs offering coaching and training?
    There are many good aspects of well organised debate though it could also lead to confusion, indistinguishable statements and deception.

    There is a very interesting Google book on the internet analysing the 2007 Electoral campaign on Television which could be used to structure the proposed Forum and live broadcast.
    The General Elections in Kenya, 2007
    By Jerome Lafargue, Jérôme Lafargue

    The Electoral campaign on Television
    Communication strategies and models of democracy
    page 105 – 143


  14. In most ‘westernized’ countries where the presidential aspirants have debates, the debates tend to be based on the premise that they will be ‘ideological’ debates where both will argue for the side that they represent. In Kenya, there is no need for this as nobody has any ideology to speak of. They are representing nothing but the idea of power, entrenched in their ethnic cocoon. We are far off from having meaninful debates although it would be funny to see them attempt it.
    As has been mentioned, the media is way too far up the Kikuyu elites proverbial rear ends, to be even remotely considered unbiased ( in fact they own most of the media outlets ). This said since one of the contestants is one of those elite and owns many of the very organs that would ‘host’ such a debate.
    We dont need debates, we need the electorate to be more aware and vote with their heads and not with their eyes and stomachs. It was refreshing to see the young people mobilize and protest the greedy useless MPs and their attempt to enrich themselves further at the expense of the people.
    Less debate more rebate.


  15. @Job and @Adongo

    You guys have nailed it.

    Media owners are looking to become relevant in the run-up to the elections and as you can imagine, serious contenders are actually considering ignoring the debates all togather.

    The time given for the debates when divided by the number of candidates gives each candidate very little time to expound on policy issues. It is a big joke even when you consider that presidential candidates are more likely to increase.

    The choice of moderators also leave a lot to be desired and it is quite obvious this decision was an impulsive boardroom decision intended to achieve some political objective while seemingly being attractive enough to attract donor sponsorship money.

    As of now, this is a none starter. The organisers have to come up with something a little bit more organised and practical.


  16. My opinion is that such debates would only be useful in the event of a runoff where only two candidates were remaining on stage. By then Kenyans would have properly studied their actions to make informed decisions.

    The idea of a debate before the runoffs is fine but Kenya media houses do not have competent people to moderate them. I would not be surprised if a person such as Judy Gicheru or even Jeff Koinange is put in place to moderate the debates. While one of the two is shallow the other is completely biased to ask any meaningful question with intelligent follow ups. At the same time we cannot have a moderator who has no experience of being in front of the camera as this would only create new problems. In our ethnic divided society where media houses tend to take sides, in the worst case scenario, it would perhaps be prudent to bring in a moderator from e.g. Tanzania or Uganda to do the job.

    As the admin has indicated above, there is no chance on earth to have a focused debate with more than ten candidates at a time on the podium. It would be too repetitious and bring. I know some media houses have already started comparing the debates with the US primaries where up to four candidates stand on the podium to slug it out. Without going into details, I will simply say that US is not Kenya and majority of our presidential candidates are too immature for such.

    If the debates must be done, I suggest that they have only one candidate at a time and let the audience fire questions. The venue for such debate must not always be Nairobi but a place such as Migori. Kwale, Muranga, Busia, Kilgoris etc. Take Raila to Muranga and Uhuru to Migori, Mudavadi to Turkana and Peter Kenneth to Bungoma. The crowds must be local and not rented from Nairobi.

    Otherwise having say Jirongo, Uhuru, Ruto, Mudavadi, Kalonzo Wamalwa and Raila on the same stage would be a disaster. It would be all others (G7) against Raila. Take a case where they are asked about the ICC. UK, Ruto, Kalonzo and even Wamalwa would falsely and gladly point fingers are Raila. That would simply kill the spirit of the debate.


      • A few things.

        1. This debate thing seems to be some impulsive reaction from the Kenyan media after they watched the US presidential debate a week ago then some smart Alek comes up and says, hey let’s have one of those in Kenya and bingo a plan for the debate is worked out complete with schedules. That is fantasy. The US debate is well planned for months with negotiations between both parties over moderators, issues, venues, dates etc. It has a rich tradition with well established rules of operation. It is not a spur of the moment knee jerk reaction and it is NOT intended for entertainment. People who want that watch comedy shows.

        2. The 11 or so candidates from 11 different parties make the whole thing unworkable. In the US they have the primaries which also have debates and they may have even 10 candidates. The big difference is that these are all candidates from one party having some little in-house differences. It is easy to moderate. You can’t do the same with dozens of candidates from a gazziliion parties.

        3. Even in Canada where they have debates there is a cut off to eliminate wannabe candidates. In Canada they have the three parties with the most support, namely the Conservatives, the Liberals and NDP. There are parties like the Green Party, the Libertarians, the Marijuana Party and a whole bunch more because they just don’t have any credible support. Even the US debates there are two other candidates including a guy Mr. Johnson consistently polling 2% who is not invited. Here they want to invite every Tom, Dick and Harry. That makes the whole thing a joke. If they can do a cut off limit using the so called polls and have the top three candidates, may be that can be doable. In that case going by current data we woudl have Raila, Uhuru and Ruto. But in a country where they want Kofi Annan to meet village elders so as to be seen to be fair forgetting what Annan’s mission is in the first place even that wouldn’t work.

        4. Then we have the big question. What really is the purpose of the debate? Is is to entertain people and boost media rating? Is it to get to the issues Kenyans want to address in this election? Is it to prod each candidate to explain their well known issues and contradictions Kenyans are concerned about? Is it to perpetuate the usual tribal math and stereotypes? Are we going to import moderators to help us the way we have imported outsiders to addres things because we are just too biased and compromised to deal with our own problems? Let me put it this way, the Kenyan media is a big part of the problem or tribalism and partisan pettiness in the country. How can they rise above that?

        5. All said we can only think of a credible debate in the run off (if it happens) between the two contenders and also between their deputies. The rest is wishful thinking,.


    • FACTS can be stubborn things.

      One of the premier organizers of this Presidential Debate initiative is Daily Nation’s CEO Linus Gitahi who interested in running for a parliamentary seat within Nyeri County come March 2013.

      Linus is the same individual who poured cold water on attempts by Kenyans in the diaspora to organize a Presidential debate back in 2007 – knowing too well that the horse he backed (Kibaki) couldn’t utter one complete statement in any debate.

      Isn’t it amazing that now…as if in a moment of epiphany…Linus is aggressively and audaciously standing before Kenyans pushing for a Presidential debate. Shame on you Linus!

      The Presidential debate exercise has always been a welcome development towards our democracy…but it’s important to point out WHO helped sabotage the 2007 planned debate.

      Those living in advanced democracies likely appreciate the FACT that debates are just one parameter to offer voters a better view of the candidates…but it comes with its advantages and disadvantages. Smooth talking -salesmen types can excel in debates…selling snake oil to a gullible audience…thus the caveat to educate masses on such possibility should follow.

      There’s no question among the presidential candidates, none can match the eloquence of William Ruto …the latter will STYLISTICALLY win any debate without question… concealing any SUBSTANTIVE and POLICY flaws he may possess.

      The natural stammerer Raila could be easily walloped in a debate featuring him alongside the youthful compatriots Ruto, Uhuru, Karua, Musyimi, Kiyapi, Kenneth or Mudavadi. Is this the real reason Linus Gitahi is aggressively pushing for the 2013 debate…now that Kibaki is off stage?


      • job,

        The other strange thing is that they are calling this bizarre concept presedential debates when they want to start it in November long before the parties actually nominate their candidates. The nominations are due January 4, 2013. The thing they are talking about is debate of prospective presidential candidates where some parties may have two or three prospective candidates in the so called debate. What do you call that? Primaries/presidential debates. It is utter nonsense and a non-starter.


        • That premise exposes the cunning motive of the organizers. Presidential debates are held after primaries have concluded. These folks are trying to take advantage of gullible folks. They’re trying to beat the ICC calendar; not the election calendar. It simply won’t work. I would give any debate before primaries a wide berth.


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