Tanzanias who watched Kenya’s first ever and much awaited American-style presidential debate on Monday, praised it for the way the candidates conducted themselves, calling for the same civility to prevail during the polls.
In the debate moderated by Julie Gichuru and Linus Kaikai all candidates focused on issues rather than personalities, explaining what they would do for Kenyans and why they think they are the best to lead the country for the next five years.
Much as it was an issue-based debate, questions that related to ethnic issues in Kenya’s politics, the trial facing one of the presidential candidates at the international criminal court (ICC) in The Hague, public finances, education, health and corruption dominated the initial rounds of the debate.
“This is what I have been praying for…It is high time for Tanzania to imitate such mature political debates…for sure I was impressed by the debate and the good thing is that all the presidential aspirants vowed for peaceful electoral process as well as discouraging ethnic tensions,” said Dr Nashon Kamugisha.
He added: “Our politicians, moderators, local TVs and radio stations should also learn from the debate…they should provide us with such issue-based debate, to enable the people discern smart leaders with character and vision, who will lead the country towards sustainable development.
Activist Elsie Eyakuze one time was quoted as saying: “"TV is even more intimate than the closed meetings which only die hard members and leaders attend. A candidate explaining his/her policies on my TV screen is more intimate; it feels more like one is talking to me in my sitting room.
“The good thing about TV debate is that we see the communication skills of the candidates, particularly those capable to debating issues and answering questions about important issues directly from the voters."
Hamidu Rashid a third year student at Ardhi University said: “I have learnt that during the debate, each candidate fought to prove that he or she is the best for the job…it is unfortunate our politicians are still hesitant to use this new, more intimate medium.”
“If you have ever watched other local debates, you've seen how ruthless some of moderators can be, candidates are asked inconsiderate questions which pose beady-eyed outrage…but with the Kenyan moderates they controlled and it was very sober.”