However, in between the two debates there will be debates for presidential running mates.
Two presidential elections will be held two weeks apart from each other; one on July 12, 2022, and the other on July 26, 2022, with now one year to go before the candidates take to the ballot.
This was announced by the Kenya Editors Guild (KEG) under president Churchill Otieno, who was speaking on Monday, August 9 at a media stakeholders’ workshop with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in Mombasa County.
However, in between the two debates, Otieno stated that there will be debates for presidential running mates.
KEG President Churchill Otieno speaks during a media stakeholders’ workshop with the IEBC in Mombasa on August 9, 2021. /THE STAR
He pointed out that aspiring presidential candidates ought to submit their candidatures between May 30 and June 10 in line with the timelines issued by the IEBC.
“Given that the nomination for presidential candidates ends on June 10, 2022, we have set the first presidential debate for July 12, 2022, and the second one on July 26, 2022,” Otieno stated.
Otieno added that the media will shortly release an updated Elections Reporting Guidelines “and proceed to mount election training across the country to prepare ourselves for the assignment.”
He added that the training will seek to upstep reportage to a standard that emphasizes the verification, sensitization of the rights of journalists as well as the media in political and democratic processes.
“Empower journalists to interrogate issues, to seek information, and safeguard their role in society as frontline human rights defenders,” he stated during the workshop.
On the rights of the people in the political process, Otieno revealed that they will design a plan for media to empower citizens to fully participate at each stage of the electoral process and thereafter as a right. This includes civic education, educating people on their rights, and their duty to hold politicians, political parties, candidates to account throughout their tenures.
During the forum, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati affirmed that elections were set in stone for August 9, 2022, unless stopped by the Judiciary.
The IEBC boss maintained that public officers seeking to contest in the 2022 polls ought to resign six months before the election – pointing out that the Court of Appeal had set aside an initial ruling by Justice Njagi Marete which meant that public officers could breathe a sigh of relief.
History of The Debate
The Presidential debate is a platform provided by local media houses for presidential candidates to lay down their agenda with the electorate.
The debate made its debut in Kenya in 2013 ahead of the General Elections that year, which was watched by nearly the whole country and one where then aspirant Mwalimu Mohammed Abduba Dida wowed Kenyans with his views mixed with banter that shredded social media trends.
Other aspirants that took the stage that debate night included Narc-Kenya party leader Martha Karua, former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, James Ole Kiyiapi, ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi, President Uhuru Kenyatta, ODM leader Raila Odinga, and Senior Counsel Paul Muite.
The 2013 debate was thus touted as the most successful so far, on its first attempt, and brought together all the presidential aspirants on one stage, held at the Brookhouse School in Nairobi.
The 2017 debate did not happen as it was snubbed by some of the top contenders, leaving a sour taste in the mouth of Kenyans who were waiting for a similar show in 2013 to play out in 2017. Only ODM leader Raila Odinga showed up for the 2017 showpiece to present his agenda while President Kenyatta skipped it.
Politicians are bracing themselves for what would be a tight battle for the top seat where the top names are aiming to test the uncharted waters.
Among the aspiring presidential candidates include Deputy President William Ruto, Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Mudavadi, Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua. Raila is yet to declare whether he will run for president or not.
Former Prime Minister and presidential candidate Raila Odinga attend the second presidential debate at Brookhouse School in Nairobi on February 25, 2013. /REUTERS