Presidential Live TV Debate Will Go on as Scheduled, Organizers Say

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance's Presidential candidate Raila Odinga with his running mate Martha Karua

The Presidential Debate organizers is comprised of representatives from the Media Owners Association (MOA), the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) and the Kenya Editors’ Guild (KEG), they have since announced that despite the developments the debate will go on as scheduled and moderators will stick to questions contained in handbooks handed to them by the secretariat

The organizers of the Presidential debate have been thrown into a major dilemma following a decision made by the Azimio One Kenya Alliance Presidential candidate Raila Odinga to withdraw from participating in the event. Mr Odinga’s team said they won’t let their candidate share a podium with William Ruto.

The Presidential Debate organizers is comprised of representatives from the Media Owners Association (MOA), the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) and the Kenya Editors’ Guild (KEG), they have since announced that despite the developments the debate will go on as scheduled and moderators will stick to questions contained in handbooks handed to them by the secretariat. 

According to the Head of the Presidential Debates Secretariat Clifford Machoka, they expect over 20 Million viewers to watch the presidential debate. Mr Odinga and Ruto had been paired to face off in this year’s Presidential candidates’ debate that was to be streamed on live TV, radio stations and other online media platforms from the Catholic University of East Africa (CUEA) on Tuesday, July 26th

The organizers faced widespread complaints from sections of Kenyans, including Mr Odinga and Ruto on how their moderators handled the show in the Deputy Presidential Debate and the Governor Contenders for Nairobi County debates. Moderators were blamed for failing to clamp down on trivial issues instead of tackling pertinent issues affecting the country; they left the debaters to turn the show into personality circuses, bringing into question the quality and credibility of the entire exercise

According to the Head of the Presidential Debates Secretariat Clifford Machoka, they expect over 20 Million viewers to watch the presidential debate. Mr Odinga and Ruto had been paired to face off in this year’s Presidential candidates’ debate that was to be streamed on live TV, radio stations and other online media platforms from the Catholic University of East Africa (CUEA) on Tuesday, July 26th.

The dramatic announcement by the Raila Odinga Presidential Campaign Secretariat caught many people by surprise. Instead, Raila Odinga and his Running Mate Martha Karua will appear on live TV at a public event from Nairobi’s Jericho estate in Eastlands from where they will be fielding questions from members of the public.

It is not clear at the moment if the live streaming of the CUEA and Jericho events is planned to start as planned at the same time. Media houses may live to stream the two events simultaneously, which would mean deploying outside broadcasting crews at both CUEA and in Jericho. What impact will Raila Odinga’s withdrawal have on the debate at CUEA? The organizers were expecting to attract 20 plus million viewers, a goldmine for media outlets to mint millions of shillings from advertisers.

Mr Machoka said: “During these debates, the public gets to listen to the candidates and gauge what their priorities could be, once they assume office, that way, they catalyze issue-based elections; provide an opportunity for candidates to debate, interact and engage, enabling the voter to make informed decisions.”

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