2022 Presidential Debates showrunners unveiled

The organisers confirmed expecting full attendance of presidential candidates at the July events

A file image of the 2013 Presidential Debate

The Media Council of Kenya, in collaboration with the Media Owners Association of Kenya, and Kenya Editors' Guild, have announced that the 2022 Presidential and Deputy Presidential Debates are currently in the works.

Speaking during a press conference on Wednesday, March 2, the organisers said that the events have been scheduled to take place in July 2022.

Kenya Editors’ Guild President Churchill Otieno, speaking on the significance of the debates, submitted that they influence the way Kenyans choose their leaders and catalyses issue-based elections.

The organisers confirmed expecting a full attendance of presidential candidates at the July events.

Clifford Machoka, Nation Media Group's Director of External Affairs and Marketing, will serve as Head of the Presidential Debate Secretariat.

He will coordinate a diverse team of members from the partner institutions to engage political parties stakeholders in the electoral process and organise the 2022 presidential and deputy presidential debate,” NMG CEO Stephen Gitama explained.

Machoka will be assisted by Leo Mutisya, MCK Head of Research and Media Monitoring, and Editor's Guild CEO Rosalia Omungo.

We are mindful that our duty as media to facilitate conversations becomes even more pertinent during an election year. This is the reason why from 2013, media has collectively moved to entrench the culture of presidential debates as one of the cornerstone pillars of our democracy and electoral process for the benefit of the Kenyan people,” read a statement from the organisers.

In 2013, all 8 candidates at the time participated in 2 debates which took approximately 2 hours each where they took on issues affecting the country and how they planned to address them.

In 2017, the organisers held 2 debates, one for presidential candidates and the other for their running mates.

However, both President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto skipped both debates leaving their opponents at the time to debate solo.

Blogger and digital strategist Dennis Itumbi had earlier criticised the organisers of the 2022 presidential debate over what he termed as poor planning.

He accused the Media Council of scheduling dates of the planned debates without involving the candidates.

"Given that the nomination for presidential candidates ends on June 10, 2022, we have set the first presidential debate for July 12, 2022, and the second one on July 26, 2022," KEG President Churchill Otieno stated in August 2021.

Media should understand presidential candidates do not work on their calendars. This thing of announcing presidential debates without consulting parties or candidates is outright arrogance. Consultations must happen before such announcements. You cannot just announce dates,” Itumbi protested.

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