Presidential debates to only feature Uhuru and Odinga


The highly anticipated presidential debates will most likely pit incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta and the NASA flagbearer Raila Odinga.

The debates to be held before the August general elections are scheduled to feature only those candidates who have at least 5 percent support in the opinion polls.

Currently, only Uhuru and Odinga have reached the threshold with the latest polls putting the President at 49 per cent with Raila garnering 42 per cent.

In another poll released on May 18 by Radio Africa Group’s research department show almost similar results with Uhuru commanding 49 percent and Raila getting 40 percent which left the remaining candidates with about 11 percent to share.

“Candidates with less than 5 per cent popular support showing in opinion polls will take part in separate single debates to be conducted on the same dates,” the organisers said in a statement.

There will be two debates organized Debates Media Ltd, a consortium of several Kenyan media houses. Another one will feature the vice presidential candidates.

Last election cycle pitted eight candidates but similarly they will run uninterrupted for 90 minutes at the Catholic University of East Africa in Nairobi.

The debate committee will announce the subject areas for the debate about a week prior to give the candidates enough time to prepare.

14 days prior to the debate, the Debate secretariat and the campaign teams will hold a consultative meeting on the rules of engagement.

“Presidential campaign teams will be issued with information on the general areas to be covered by the debate, but the specific questions will not be disclosed,” the statement says.

The committee is looking at potential moderators who are required to have vast and strong understanding of the country’s political landscape and critical issues of the presidential campaign.

The moderators will be vetted on their impartiality, fairness and objectivity.

The debates have been scheduled for July 10, 17 and 24.




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