Why the Presidential Debate might be cancelled after months of preparation

By David Mwenda

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the presidential debate podiums in 2013 Courtesy of http://www.kenyayote.com

The all hyped presidential debate seems to have come to a standstill after the main leaders decided (Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga) to skip the debate. The controversy surrounding the debate seems to cause alarm for Debates Media Limited and fellow candidates. The two having to cancel the debates seems to have caused a huge problem and there are questions that lead to whether there will be a debate at all.

First question that comes to my mind is who is lying to whom? There are two narratives that have been circulating. One being that Jubilee was not consulted properly and NASA seems to be unhappy with the debate format. The other narrative being Debates Media Limited claiming they consulted both camps every step of the way even before the announcements of the debate.

The media has been very vague in the handling of this story and whether this debate happens will be their fault. It is up to the media to make sure they have done this matter in a safe and secure way so that the culture of debates continues.


Debates Media Limited Chair Wachira Waruru Courtesy of the-star.co.ke

Debates Media Limited needs to steer clear of making this a matter of the big dogs versus the small dogs. This has even seen candidates like Dida going to court to stop the debates.

They would have made sure they have stuck to the rules from the beginning. They would have made sure that every single candidate is at ease with the rules and they would have understood. Clearly there is need to make sure that other candidates understood that the debate needs to be objective and that at least some of the time needs to be given to the two front runners.

The two front runners needed also to show some good will. They need to come out and be forthright in handling this matter. They need to give the company some time and come back to the table and iron out the separate differences with the two teams.

They will be doing a  service to the people by sharing a podium and make sure they have had a productive debate which will steer clear of the rhetoric that they have been spewing. It is a high time that they made sure that NASA outlines its agenda and makes its position known on a couple of things such as the land debate and reducing rent prices.

They need to make sure is that they have created an atmosphere where they can meet and talk things out and engage in a good discussions and not one that is full of political rhetoric. They need to engage this way in order to make sure they have given Kenyans a chance to show that they can stay in a room together and not throttle each other and that campaigns do not make them enemies of the state but people who believe in making the country great but differ ideologically.


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