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Street debate for political hopefuls

27 February 2013, 16:18 Wangui Joseph

Nyeri county elective seats aspirants had a dialogue with area electorates during a public debate held at Lumumba Street Nyeri town on Tuesday.

Gubernatorial, senatorial, women representative and parliamentary aspirants used the opportunity to sell their agenda ahead of Monday elections.

The street debate was attended by more than500 people who took turns to interrogate the aspirants.

They continuously raised issues of integrity and what the aspirants hold in their manifestos to solve predicaments facing area residents.

The workshop was organized and facilitated by Youth Agenda Kenya and Nyeri social forum.

People-driven process

Nyeri Social Forum secretary general David Ngigi said it was a people-driven process that reached its climax on Tuesday after a series of meetings at various constituencies.

“In our meetings, people at grassroots demanded to meet all candidates and ask them questions on how they are going to address issues affecting the county. We collected their views on issues such as youth and unemployment, security and health, which we used as our baseline for today’s debate,” said Ngigi.

street debate

Debate will shape voter's decision

He stated that those who attended the debate will be able to make informed choices for they came to know much about the candidates.

“Most leaders hold their meetings behind closed doors in major hotels and common mwananchi is denied right to know what was discussed. But we decided to have it in the street where there is no restriction and thus making it open to all people from all walks of life,” he added.

However, some candidates never attended the debate despite the fact that they had confirmed their attendance after receiving invitation from Ngigi.

“I think they feared to be asked personal questions. Some know their names are related to uncleanliness or scandals,” he claimed.

Wahome Gakuru of TNA and Githinji Wang’ondu of CORD were the only gubernatorial aspirants present, while Mutahi Kagwe of NARC and Job Kariithi of Farmers Party both eying the senatorial seat attended.

Some parliamnentary and County Representative hopefuls however complained of unfair treatment claiming that they were given short time to disclose their policies.

“We should be allowed to freely address the meeting for we were officially invited,” said George Miatu, Nyeri town constituency MP hopeful.

Ngigi conversely said the debate was purposely meant for Governor and Senator aspirants, thus other candidates had to be restricted in regard to time.

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