Kenya yesterday held a historic televised presidential debate. I watched it at very packed K1 which is a popular restaurant in Nairobi. The debate lasted close to four hours and these were my thoughts as I watched in 140-character sized capsules.
NB: PK –Peter Kenneth. RAO – Raila Amollo Odinga. UK – Uhuru Kenyatta. MaDvd – Musalia Mudavadi.
We love our politics. Streets full of Kenyans rushing home to catch the debate.
At a very packed K1. The Kenyans I have spoken to have articulated issues they want addressed. Now we wait to watch history.
Loud cheers for PK, Martha, Uhuru and RAO.
Noone stood for the anthem at K1. Shows of patriotism don’t sit well with Kenyans?
Martha has mob mafans here. PK too. They are the ones getting cheered most so far.
Raila strikes first low blow. Mutahi Ngunyi tribal numbers get a mention. And director pans to UK.
Cheers for PK & Martha in Tribalism question. Felt UK also acquitted himself well.
First jeers and boos of the night at K1 go to Raila over his answer to 41 v 1 question.
After the Raila and Uhuru interlude of denials of tribalism a guy screams ‘Ati now you are brothers?’ to much laughter.
Second low blow of the night goes to Dida with his irony jab to most of the guys on the dais.
ICC issue getting guys excited now at K1. Guys jeering and cheering per which side of ICC-suspects issue you are.
‘I’m an ICC-suspect. That’s a personal problem I have. Pick me anyway.’ Says Uhuru. Choice and consequences in black and white.
‘It would be a challenge to run govt from the Hague via skype.’ Third low blow is by Raila.
Muite tears into Raila and Kibaki. ‘Both principals should be standing trial at the Hague’.
ICC question: Raila gets battered. Peter Kenneth, Mudavadi fence-sit. Muite takes no hostages. Uhuru&Martha express stands very well.
Very very impressed by Linus Kaikai. He brought his A-game tonight. Solid moderating thus far.
Personally impressed&intrigued by Dida. He’s funny and has got a different way of thinking. I’ll google him.
Dida apewe kile atakunywa. Because the quips and brains. Haha.
At start someone asked ‘Why is Migingo an issue?’. After Muite ‘I’ll send Navy’ guys cheer and clap. Tough president needed?
Julie appears to says 1.5hrs to go and someone screams, ‘Haiya? Its not over?’
Halftime: Martha has aced most ques. PK&Madvd share a fence. RAO&UK have taken a beating. Dida&Muite are wild cards. Ki-what?
Noone has answered Mr. Godana. Candidates just blabbing now. Sinaubaya but can Kaikai return?
2hours in. Guys have started leaving K1. Maybe #KEDebate13 should not have had the second segment. Attention lost now.
Wa. I can’t keep up with what question is being answered. This is like Press Conference KBC. Julie unatuangusha joo!
This is now :-(. Julie you have singlehandedly managed to kill off #KEDebate13. Amazing.
Dida asks the public schools question. Julie hijacks it and kills it! Wtf? Oh boy.
My take: Kiyapi didn’t connect with me. Dida made me laugh a lot. Muite has toughness and grasp of the law. Madvd was invisible and colourless.
My take: RAO took quite a beating. UK was eloquent, angry and defensive. PK fence-sat, was mechanical and unappealing. Martha really brought her A-game and shone throughout the debate!
My take: Linus Kaikai has cemented his stature as great moderator. Julie Gichuru has gotten terribly exposed on big stage.
Admit I was skeptical of #KEDebate13. Now methinks it’s a step in right direction. A seed planted for Kenya’s future.
Talked to various Kenyans after debate. Debate was a hit. Yes, some tribal mindsets are constant but a shift may just have started.
Hats off to the production team that was behind the #KEDebate13. Almost 4hrs of live going flawless is big. Kudos.
Hats off to Kenyan media for organizing the debate.
End of my two-cents.
So what did YOU think of the debate? Who do YOU reckon won it? Did it change YOUR mind?
GOD BLESS KENYA!