All set for Kenya's presidential debate

Nation Media Group CEO Linus Gitahi (right) confers with Royal Media Services editors Julie Gichuru (centre) and Faridah Karoney (left) during the launch of the presidential debate initiative at the Serena Hotel, Nairobi October 10, 2012.
By BENJAMIN MUINDI, bmuindi@ke.nationmedia.com  ( email the author)

Posted  Thursday, February 7   2013 at  09:04

In Summary

  • Debate will be held at the auditorium of the Brookhouse International School, Nairobi on Monday starting at 7.30pm (1630 GMT).
  • Google will stream the debate online to the world, while international media outlets CNN and Reuters will also cover the event.
  • Six presidential candidates Raila Odinga, Uhuru Kenyatta, Musalia Mudavadi, Martha Karua, Peter Kenneth and James ole Kiyiapi confirm attendance.

  • The Nation website, www.nation.co.ke, will stream the debate live.

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All is set for Kenya's first presidential debate to be aired live on eight television and 34 radio stations on Monday.

Google will stream the debate online to the world, while international media outlets CNN and Reuters will also cover the event, officials said Wednesday.

Six presidential candidates Raila Odinga, Uhuru Kenyatta, Musalia Mudavadi, Martha Karua, Peter Kenneth and James ole Kiyiapi have confirmed they will attend the debate to be held at the auditorium of the Brookhouse International School, Nairobi.

According to the 'Presidential Debate 2013’ director of operations Francis Munywoki, the event will start at 7.30pm and will last for two hours where the candidates will field questions from two moderators – NTV’s Linus Kaikai and Julie Gichuru of the Royal Media Services (RMS).

After the discussion, there will be an expert analysis on the thematic issues that will be discussed.

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

Mr Munywoki said that during the first round of the debate, issues of governance, social services – health and education- security and resource management will be discussed.

Second debate

Experts along these fields have been identified and briefed on the nature of the debate.

During the second debate scheduled for February 25, the deliberation will revolve around the economy, land, devolution and foreign policy.

KTN’s Joe Ageyo and RMS Uduak Amimo will moderate the debate during the second round.

"At 7.30pm on Monday, each of the candidates will walk into the auditorium one by one. They will then shake hands before the National Anthem is played and they will then be allowed thirty seconds to introduce themselves,” Mr Munywoki said.

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

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

In designing the time slots, Mr Munywoki who is the Standard Group’s (SG) Value and Innovation director said the panel studied the patterns in other countries that have conducted similar presidential debates.

In particular, he said the presidential debates of the US were of keen interest to the team that is led by RMS chief executive officer Wachira Waruru.

Others sitting in the steering committee are Linus Gitahi (Nation Media Group), Sam Shollei (SG), Paul Wanyaga (Media Max), Patrick Quacko (Radio Africa), Julius Lamaon (Kass TV) and Waithaka Waihenya of the Kenya Broadcasting Co-operation (KBC).

The consortium of the media houses has forked out Sh100 million to run the presidential debate.

Engage audience

Mr Munywoki said the team had compiled more than 5,000 questions directed to the six candidates through SMS, email, Facebook, Twitter and other questions were delivered to their premises situated at the I & M Building in Nairobi.

The secretariat also has a research wing made up of veteran journalists and subject experts who are tightening 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,” Mr Munywoki said.

“This way, we want to use 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 the 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 the responses will be strictly observed. There will be visible timing mechanisms provided and moderator intervention,” the rules read.

 

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