The political atmosphere in the Country at the moment is highly charged and politicians are busy crisscrossing the country in an effort to win votes. However it is sad to note that this process has not been about the issues that affect the common citizenry but largely revolving around tribal inclinations and individual differences. The political class seems to be busy balkanizing the nation along ethnic lines and unfortunately we the Kenyan people are quiet about it.

In an ideal democracy campaigns are platforms of sharing and propagating ideas and policies that a political party stands for. It is a time for the politicians to cast their visions for their constituencies and let the masses interrogate their manifestos. Regrettably in Kenya it seems to be a season of trading insults and lies with nothing specific for the electorate. Probably these are some of the reasons why the presidential debate for the running mates was a big failure with only one attending.  There is a high possibility that the key presidential candidates will not be participating in tomorrow’s debate.

The big question is: what is the place of political debates in the democratization of a nation? This is a question we must be willing to tackle. In developed democracies like the United States of America, political debates play a central role in their electoral process. Way before nomination of aspirants for the different political posts, candidates are subjected to rigorous interviews and debates. This helps the populace to carefully interrogate the candidates on their character, attitudes, manifestos and understanding of the work they aspire to take up.

On the other hand politicians use debates to articulate their policies and speak into their visions. They use these platforms to engage the masses and appeal to their minds and emotions. President Barrack Obama was able to rally Americans through debates and campaigns. In addition they help to reinforce or change the position held by the voters. They provide a platform for social economic discourses. They are a key strand in a healthy democracy.

It is rather unfortunate when people who are seeking elective posts in the stature of the presidency and deputies decline to be interrogated by the masses on their manifestos and policies. Kenyans must demand that those who aspire for political posts be subjected to public scrutiny and debates. It is through these forums that the electorates engage with the aspirants. Failure to participate in a debate is denying the voters an opportunity to interact with one’s vision.

On the other hand, those who are responsible for organizing debates must exercise the highest levels of professionalism and be clear on the intent of political debates.

“Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers…”

Proverbs 11:14


Have a Lovely Sunday