Presidential debate should strengthen peace


Presidential debate should strengthen peace

Catholic University of East Africa [CUEA] auditorium in this photo taken on May 24, 2022. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

The highly anticipated 2022 presidential debate is due to take place today (Tuesday). Globally, the debates of political aspirants have been an ideal platform for extraordinary discussions of problem-oriented politics.

In advanced economies like the United States, presidential debates have been a key tool for influencing undecided voters, those who tend not to be supporters of one ideology or political party.

The 2022 presidential debates must focus on important issues, especially peacebuilding, and spark political conversations that will shape and improve the lives of ordinary people, especially jobless youth and the high cost of living.

Debates should not be a platform for blame games, incitement and untimely roasting.

Fueled political polarization, especially on social media, risks plunging the country into conflict and violence.

Drawing lessons from post-election violence in Kenya in 2007/08, in which more than 1,200 people were killed and nearly 600,000 uprooted from their homes, Tuesday’s presidential debate must focus on promoting cohesion national as a key agenda.

Additionally, the debates should help separate the wheat from the chaff and identify the wildcards in the pack.

One of the highlights of the 2022 elections was that televised debates brought a breath of fresh air into the country’s political arena.

Thus, the presidential debate should be a platform for dialogue to preach tranquility in the nation.

Over the past six decades, Kenyans have been craving leaders who believe in a thriving democracy.

For a long time, Kenyan politics did not keep its promises. Despite the lofty promises, we still experience chronic corruption, deep-rooted poverty and a lack of progress in all areas.

Perhaps Kenya over the decades has lacked quality, effective and efficient leadership.

The result has been a loss of public confidence in the political elite as redeemers from the colossal challenges facing the mwananchi.

Successive governments since independence seem to have run out of answers to the myriad problems plaguing Kenya.

Politicians have mastered the art of preying on hungry and impoverished voters for their own interests.

In the home stretch of the August 9 general election, a quick reality check of the political drums indicates a country that is still divided along tribal lines sponsored by the political elite.

Peace campaigns led by Kenya’s mainstream media such as Nation Media Group with the slogan ‘Mimi Mkenya‘ and StandardsElection Bila Nomaare encouraging steps. Every corporate entity should follow in these footsteps, bearing in mind how sacred peace is in the development of Kenya.

In the deeply fractured nation, all the aspirants, especially the favorites of the house on the hill i.e. Azimio-One coalition flag bearer Kenya Alliance Rt. Raila Odinga and Kenya Kwanza Alliance of DP Ruto must work urgently to cultivate trust in the electorate.

The Harvard Business Review presents trust as the almighty lubricant that keeps political and economic cogs turning and greases the right connections, all for our collective benefit. Trust will go a long way to building peace and trust in the country.

Moreover, when there is trust, whoever wins the elections will serve the interests of all Kenyans. Confidence in our leaders and institutions will enable the nation to prosper and go a long way in making Kenya a democratic powerhouse in East Africa and Africa in general.

Davis Basweti Ombane, Economist

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