All set for Monday's Nairobi gubernatorial debate

The auditorium at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa where the gubernatorial debate will be held.

Photo credit: Collins Omulo I Nation Media Group

It is all systems go for candidates gunning for the Nairobi governor seat, as they face off in the Gubernatorial Debate slated for 5pm today at the Catholic University for Eastern Africa (CUEA) main campus in Karen, Nairobi.

The debate which will be live across all television stations and social media platforms is organised jointly by the Media Owners of Kenya (MoA), Media Council of Kenya (MCK) and the Kenya Editors Guild (KEG).

Among the eight candidates taking part in one of the most competitive races are Polycarp Igathe of the Jubilee party and Johnson Sakaja of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA). They have all been cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to vie for the position

Others to face the panel are former journalist Denise Kodhi of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Tech-entrepreneur Harman Grewal of Safina party, Kenneth Nyamwamu of the United Progressive Alliance ticket, Independent candidates Esther Waringa, Nancy Wambui and businesswoman Agnes Kagure.

According to the secretariat, the gubernatorial debate will proceed in two tiers: The first will feature gubernatorial candidates whose popularity ratings, based on three recent opinion polls, stand below five percent. The second will involve candidates who have polled above five percent in the same opinion surveys.

The first debate will run from 6pm and end at 7:30pm while the second debate will go on air at 8pm and end at 9:30pm.

Four Journalists picked by the Presidential Debate Secretariat will moderate the debate with Serfine Achieng’ Ouma of KBC and K24 TV's Ayub Abdikadir moderating the first-tier debate while Zubeida Koome of KTN and NTV's Mark Masai will moderate the second-tier.

Members of the public had until midnight, July 9, 2022, to send in questions they would like answered by the candidates.

Follow the debate

More than 90 percent of voters are expected to follow the debate, according to Mr Stephen Gitagama, the Media Owners Association Chairman and Nation Media Group Chief Executive Officer.

The Nairobi gubernatorial debate will be followed by a debate for presidential running mates which will be held on July 19. The main Presidential Debate will be on July 26.

Civil society organisations have asked Kenyans to take advantage of the opportunity to interrogate manifestos and budgetary allocations and be wary of those who do not show up for debates.

Kenyans, the organisations said, should also hold leaders accountable for their past promises, as well as share ideas on how to make the country better.

The debate comes as Nairobians have been witnessing how the gubernatorial aspirants have been showcasing unique style to lure residents to vote for them.

In the last two months, Azimio la Umoja aspirant Igathe and Kenya Kwanza’s Sakaja have traversed the streets seeking to ‘sell’ their manifestos.

“Man solo” is Igathe’s tactic to convince residents to vote for him as the county’s fourth governor.

Igathe said he will not campaign with big rallies, terming them trivia of song and dance.

“A leader should offer solutions and not complain about the problems,” he stated.

His campaign-style has, however, elicited mixed reactions on social media as his videos and pictures go viral.

Attempting to relate with the common man, Igathe has boarded a matatu, City Hoppa bus and a public train, where he sold his vision to commuters.

One-man campaign tactic

The former Equity chief commercial officer has also blended with the mama mboga, those selling boiled eggs and chapati and meat vendors in the city.

On the other side, Sakaja has also employed the one-man campaign tactic. In May he tagged alongside Deputy President William Ruto as they transversed the city.

A week earlier together with Kenya Kwanza leaders Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetang'ula and Ruto they campaigned in Westlands, Dagoretti South and Kasarani.