News / Africa

Kenya to Begin First Presidential Debate

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki (R) registers as a voter before launching the nationwide, one-month biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise in the capital Nairobi, November 19, 2012, targeting over 18 million voters ahead of the March 4 General Election.Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki (R) registers as a voter before launching the nationwide, one-month biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise in the capital Nairobi, November 19, 2012, targeting over 18 million voters ahead of the March 4 General Election.
x
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki (R) registers as a voter before launching the nationwide, one-month biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise in the capital Nairobi, November 19, 2012, targeting over 18 million voters ahead of the March 4 General Election.
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki (R) registers as a voter before launching the nationwide, one-month biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise in the capital Nairobi, November 19, 2012, targeting over 18 million voters ahead of the March 4 General Election.
Peter Clottey
In Kenya, the first of two presidential debates is scheduled to be held Monday in the capital, Nairobi ahead of the March 4 general election. The second debate will be held on February 25.

 “We realized that [the] Kenyan voter doesn’t get to know the candidates very well. You don’t get to know what they stand for, what their values are and what do they really want to do for the country. So, we thought we owe it to the Kenyan voter to interrogate the candidates on an issue-based platform, and hopefully that would enable them to make informed choices at the ballot box,” said Wachira Waruru, the chairman of the presidential debate steering committee.

Six presidential candidates are expected to participate in the debate, which is the first in the East African nation’s history. They include Musalia Mudavadi (Amani coalition), Uhuru Kenyatta (Jubilee), Martha Karua (Narc-Kenya), James ole Kiyiapi (Restore and Rebuild Kenya), Peter Kenneth (Eagle Coalition) and Prime Minister Raila Odinga of the CORD party.

Organizers say they expect about 44 million viewers across the country to watch the debate, which will be broadcast live on all television and radio stations, as well as on the Internet.

Some Kenyans have expressed worry of possible violence leading up to the election. Security experts have also cautioned that there is need for measures to be implemented to prevent a repeat of the 2007-2008 post-election violence that left at least 1,300 killed and displaced hundreds of thousands from their homes.

Waruru says the candidates are expected to discuss concerns of violence ahead of the elections.

“This is part of the purpose of this whole exercise, because politicians sometimes use ethnic parameters to campaign quietly to their supporters and the average Kenyan ends up making choices based on ethnic loyalties,” said Waruru.

“But by making these politicians come to a public platform where they are interrogated in front of all Kenyans on matters beyond ethnicity, we think this is one way of eliminating ethnicity as a campaign or political tool,” he added.

Waruru says Monday’s debate will give prospective voters the opportunity to vet the candidates before next month’s vote.

He says the candidates will be questioned about the role they are willing to play to ensure the election is peaceful.

Clottey interview with Wachira Waruru, lead debate organizer
Clottey interview with Wachira Waruru, lead debate organizeri
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Kurdish service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs