What we learned from Kenya’s first ever televised presidential debate

Kenya had its first ever televised presidential debate on Monday night. Like many others I was watching the livestream online and Tweeting while at it. I have included some of my real time tweets in this post (see below). A number of things stood out during the debate. The incumbent Prime Minister Raila Odinga—referred to acronymically in my tweets as “RAO”—was poorly prepared. In what’s been covered in the media as a two-horse race between him and Uhuru Kenyatta (the son of Kenya’s founding president), Odinga’s attempt to adopt Obama-style “change” rhetoric failed to dazzle. Meanwhile, Uhuru (referred to as “UK” in my tweets) was dogged by questions about the ethics of his running for the presidency while facing charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC), prompting him at one point to refer to his trial at the ICC as “a personal issue” that would not affect his work as president. Continue reading