By Mirembe Martina
Raila Odinga is said to have gained lead in the recently concluded first Kenya presidential debates which were held yesterday.
According to polls, Odinga won the first presidential debates with 46% against Uhuru Kenyatta’s 40%. The other six candidates managed to get away with 5% or less. There are eight candidates vying for the Kenyan presidency. Of these are Raila Odinga, the Kenyan prime minister, and his deputy Uhuru Kenyatta, Musalia Mudavadi (Amani), Martha Karua (Narc Kenya), Peter Kenneth (Eagle), James ole Kiyiapi (RBK), Paul Muite (Safina) and Mohamed Abduda Dida (ARK).
The first presidential debate which was held at Brookhouse International School near Nairobi’s national park was moderated by television journalists, Julie Gichuru and Linus Kaikai.
Although most Kenyans described the debate as cumbersome due to the number of candidates, it was somehow what a success for the country. Issues ranging from public finances, land, corruption, and tribalism were discussed. Moderator, Kakai accused Odinga and Kenyatta of running campaigns while exploiting tribalism. Both of them denied the claims.
Kenyatta described tribalism as a cancer saying, “Tribalism is a cancer that has afflicted this country for a very long time.” while Odinga described it as “a disease of the elite”.
Kenyans took to social media, Twitter to talk about the debates with most of them happy about the victory of having a presidential debate. The debate promises a peaceful transition of power from Kenya president, Mwai Kibaki to whoever will win the elections. Kibaki announced that he would not stand in for elections again this year. This came as a welcome surprise becoming one of the few African presidents to step down freely and willingly.
Kenya elections are expected to take place on Marc 4th. The second presidential debate will be moderated by Joe Ageyo and Uduak Amimo. They were covered by eight television stations and 32 radio stations around the country.