The live television debate for governor aspirants in Baringo County on March 25, 2022 was timely. The debate, organised by the Nation Media Group, was an eye opener to the people of Baringo County and beyond.
It took campaigns for the governor position to a new level. It gave Baringo residents a chance to interrogate the aspirants on various issues affecting them.
The debate also brought to fore the salient issues that are of great concern to the people of Baringo County, like the rampant insecurity, poor health services, youth unemployment and run-away corruption and what should be done to address them.
It gave the residents a chance to ask questions directly to all the aspirants and judge their suitability based on how they responded and how well versed they were with the issues affecting them.
Secondly, the debate gave the aspirants, and especially the little-known ones, a chance to sell their agenda to voters. This proves that given the right forum, the right leaders will always emerge and flourish. This helped firm up the decision of the voters on who to trust with the high office.
Thirdly, the debate also created a forum that gave aspirants an opportunity to get to know the concerns of Baringo residents first hand. It brought out what the residents require as opposed to what the politicians think the residents require. Issues raised during the debate will definitely inform and form the basis and structure of the aspirants’ manifestos going forward to the party nominations.
Fourthly, it made us realise that populist politics and cheap politics no longer matter in the current political landscape. What matters is how the aspirants grasp the complex issues of concern to voters. The debate brought out the hidden miens of each candidate. This was crucial because the position of a governor requires a sober, sharp and stable person.
Lastly, the debate raised a fundamental issue on gender parity, equity and bias. To start with, all the aspirants were men. This concern became clear when each aspirant was asked if they could choose a woman as their running mate. Out of the seven aspirants, only one, Robert Chelagat, declared boldly that he was willing to do so. The rest were not clear on the issue. It demonstrated that women still have a large ground to cover to ensure that they have equal chance in the representation at county level in Baringo.
In conclusion, it suffices to say that the debate was well thought out. The same should be cascaded down to MP and MCA level. It is expensive but it is worth it. Such debates can enable the electorate in any county to separate the grain from the chaff.
Dave Bowen, Nakuru