By David Mwenda
It was meant to be a historical moment for Kenya as the first running mate was to take place yesterday. The debates slated for 5:30 and 8:00 pm was a far cry from what had been advertised. The only candidate who came by to the show was Eliud Kariara Muthiora who was Joseph Kavinga’s running mate and his appearance did not last even an hour. However this debate has taught me a few lessons that I thought I should share with the media as a whole.
Politicians do not return the favour
This is one thing that the media should have learnt by now. Politicians do not return the favour if you are expecting them to return them you is very wrong. Just because you cover their campaigns and you give them the publicity to spew all the hate they have does not mean they will show up to an event. If you thought it is scratch my back my back I scratch yours then you are very wrong and out of place and maybe you guys need to go back to school.
Politicians have mastered the facts about the Kenyan media and only use them when they find them appropriate. The media needs to learn that both teams do not want to be brought to account for their mediocre performances on their own platforms with very few or no people to ask them the questions that are on the back of the electorate they are trying to woo.
You are the referee but you still encourage childish games
The debate was reduced to a simple childish game and the media played it out. The Jubilee side using its communication tool to discredit being involved in a debate, NASA agreeing if Jubilee will agree and the other presidential candidates wanting to be involved in the 8 pm debate because they feel they deserve part of the cake that do not have their names on it.
First the media spinning the presidential candidates should have been very different. They would have even left out this circus out and embarrassed presidential candidates such as Ekuru Aukot who dared to call the debate a circus.
If anything they would have left out the statements being sent as just being childish. They could have just gone on to discuss matters that will affect the general election. The show could have included more and more people in the show. the media needs to learn where to draw the line between rhetoric and childishness because this was pure rhetoric of I am not going if you are not going and other presidential candidates putting the what will you do attitude.
Involve all sides and make sure they know the ground rules
The Jubilee side seems to be holding on to the narrative they were not involved whereas the media is sticking to their gun and emphasizing that they tried to involve each and every side of the equation and gave out the rules out there for them to know what to do. They could have at least given them some insight and tried to show some initiative on how they wanted the formats to look like.
The media and debates media limited needs to give special thought in the entire arrangements and whether they want to make sure they have done a splendid job if they want the presidential debate to take place.
Earlier I predicted that the presidential debate might not happen but nobody seemed to have heeded to the advice. And then here we are talking about the show that never was and the failures in the show. To avoid such embarrassments, the media should shape up and make sure they have set the agenda properly.