Debate Night in Kenya


February 20, 2013

By James Verini

Uhuru Kenyatta, Peter Kenneth, Musalia Mudavadi, Martha Karua, Raila OdingaNext month, Kenya will elect a new President, only its fourth since it gained independence from the United Kingdom fifty years ago. And so, last week, the country held its first-ever Presidential debate. Kenyan candidates for office are usually referred to in the British manner, as aspirants, but they study American campaigns, so despite the inexperience it was a slick production. There was an hour’s worth of pre-game commentary, with cutaways to the candidates emerging from chauffeured cars at the auditorium in Nairobi. On the stage, they stood at specially designed curvy, metallic podiums, in front of ceiling-high images of the State House, Kenya’s equivalent of the White House. The moderator interrogated them through a wisp of a headset mic. The debate was broadcast on forty-two television and radio stations and livestreamed on the Internet. See Full Story