Kenyan Presidential Hopefuls to Slug it Out in Live TV Debates
11 contenders in the race to succeed President Kibaki will now have an opportunity to face each other in live pre-election televised debates.
The project, the first of his kind in Africa organised by local TV stations, was launched on Wednesday by top media managers.
The inaugural presidential debate will be aired on November 26 in eight television stations and 32 radio stations countrywide.
Other stations involved in the project are Kiss TV, Kass TV, KTN,Citizen TV,K24,KBC ,QTV and several radio stations in a programme targeting millions of audiences.
Speaking during the launch, Nation Media Group’s Chief Executive Officer Mr Linus Gitahi said the event will use issue-based politics and give Kenyans an opportunity to make informed decisions before the March 4 General Elections.
“This will be an opportunity for the Presidential candidates to tell Kenyans what they are going to do about infrastructure, education. Insecurity and regional integration among others,” Mr Gitahi said.
Mr Gitahi said that the measures have been put in place to ensure total fairness in the debates adding that the participating candidates will not be allowed to ferry in their supporters to the debating venue.
Royal Media Services Managing Director Mr Wachira Waruru is the chairman of the Presidential Debate’s steering council, while the Standard Group’s executive director in charge of Value and Innovation. Mr Francis Munywoki is the Secretary.
The debates will be moderated by some of the country’s top TV personalities selected by the program’s secretariat.
“This program will be aired live and simultaneously in eight TV stations and 32 radio stations. This is a unique partnership by our TV stations bearing in mind that we are also competitors,”Mr Wachira said.
He revealed that a total of three debates involving all the 11 Presidential candidates will be televised with the fourth one before the run off between the two finalists if the first round of elections fails to produce an outright winner.
The second live debate will run in the new year on January 14 while the last one has been set February 11 just days to the elections date.
Standard Group’s Chief Executive Officer Mr Sam Sholei said that the secretariat will also pick seasoned and independent political analysts to participate in post-debate analysis.
Said Mr Sholei: “We are going to pick a team of regular and independent analysts to discuss on whether they think the candidates have addressed the issues or not”
Kenya Broadcasting Corporation’s Managing Director Mr Waihenya Waithaka said that measures had been put in place to ensure integrity of the process.
“To ensure high level integrity we have invited the Price Waterhouse Coopers to audit the process to ensure best practices are upheld,” he noted.
The Chairman of Kass Media Mr Joshua Chepkwony who was also present said that live audience will be invited to participate in the programme with Kenyans asked to send in their questions early enough through different forums including social media.
The televised Presidential Debates have been popular in the United States elections for years while Britain did their first one in their last elections.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga, his deputies Uhuru Kenyatta and Musalia Mudavadi,Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka,Eldoret North MP William Ruto,Cabinet Ministers Charity Ngilu and Eugine Wamalwa are among the top contenders in the Kibaki succession.
Others are MPs Martha Karua (Gichugu),Peter Kenneth (Gatanga),Mutava Musyimi (Gachoka) and former Permanent Secretary Prof. James Ole Kiyiapi.
Source: Daily Nation