14 February 2013

Kenya: Deputy Presidential Debate Thursday Night

Nairobi — A section of the church in conjunction with Daystar University will host a debate for the presidential running mates on Thursday evening, three days after the inaugural presidential debate.

The Dean of Communication at Daystar University and former Media Council of Kenya chairman Levi Obonyo says one of the objectives of the debate is to ensure the values of the presidential aspirants and their running mates are in line with each other: "We want to see the extent to which they share the values and vision of the presidential candidates they support."

"In this debate we are fairly strong on the point of view of values so there would be the assumption that there are shared values. The questions will be tinged towards what are the values and how are they shared."

Obonyo adds that the values the running mates will be expected to espouse are those shared by the entire nation and not just the Christian community.

"Listen to Dida talk about his values and you realise quite a few of those values are part of what makes Kenya as a nation."

Obonyo expects that all of the eight running mates will participate in the debate and they will be tasked on issues of security, the Constitution and of course, their values.

"At the presidential debate they are basically asking questions on national issues but the angle that is being adopted here is largely from the spiritual. Even if the question relates to construction, the twist to it will be is it a construction with a moral touch. Basically the concern for the human soul is the dimension that is explored here."

Even if, as Obonyo says, the values the running mates will be expected to hold are espoused nationally, the target audience will be the Christian community.

"That's because of the number of people who are Christian," Obonyo explains: "You see 82.9 percent of the Kenyan population is Christian. This constituency is influenced by certain values and by the way those values are actually broadly shared by the population."

The debate will be aired live by the national broadcaster and a section of Christian media from 7 to 9 pm. Capital TV will stream the event at www.capitalfm.co.ke/tv courtesy of the State broadcaster.

"The mainstream media houses do not necessarily delve into the issue of values in their conversation and so we thought this provides a good opportunity for the media to be able to focus on that."

"We sent invitations out to the churches so the people selected by the churches and the ministers will attend."

The running mates are Coalition for Reforms and Democracy's (CORD) Kalonzo Musyoka, William Ruto of the Jubilee Alliance, Amani' coalition's Jeremiah Kioni, Ronald Osumba of the Eagle Alliance, NARC Kenya's Augustine Lotodo, Restore and Build Kenya's (RBK) Winnie Kaburu Kinyua, Shem Ochuodho of Safina and Joshua Odong'o of the Alliance for Real Change party.

"These are guys who are going to occupy the big house, so to speak, in Karen so we need to know a little bit about them," Obonyo explains.

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