12 February 2013

Kenya: Citizens Hail the Presidential Debate

Nairobi — Kenyans thronged their favourite entertainment spots on Monday evening, while others did their best to beat traffic and make it home on time for the historic Kenya presidential debate, where eight candidates faced off as they tried to sell their bids to the country.

Kenyans of different social class and varying age spent three hours listening to the eight, canvass their grand plans for the country if they made it to State House.

Several of those who spoke to Capital FM News hailed the debate equating it to a breath of fresh air.

"It made us realise who is serious and who is not; it was great and combative. We need people who bring out things as they are and not camouflage them," said one of the interviewees.

They added that the debates focused on key issues affecting the country including the International Criminal Court trials, tribalism, democracy and education, as opposed to the sideshows that often dominate public rallies.

They also called for more of such platforms in future electioneering periods arguing that it would help Kenyans elect the best candidates.

They also want the next debate to bring out concerns surrounding land and the economy of the country.

"That would really help us and I hope that in the next debate they will talk about issues affecting the economy of the country because it affects those at the bottom of the pyramid the most," said a woman from Nandi County, only identified as Mama Mercy.

"I would like to see more of such debates because it put things into perspective for me," said Maina, a cab driver.

Asked whether the debate had any impact on their eventual choice of candidate, some said no while others said yes.

"It really enforced my belief in her because she stands for everything I believe in so I am going to vote for her," said another youthful man in reference to Martha Karua.

"I got to learn a lot about the candidates and their thoughts and I was totally surprised by one candidate. I didn't think she would come out as strongly as she did and I think she changed my thoughts on how to vote," said Macharia, who was also impressed by Narc-Kenya presidential candidate.

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