Following the February 11th 2013 Presidential Debate organized by Kenya Media, pollsters have come up with rankings of the eight participants; Raila A. Odinga, Uhuru M. Kenyatta, Musalia Mudavadi, Martha Karua, Peter Kenneth, Paul Muite and Mohamed A. Dida. It took a day or two, after the three hours and 13 minutes talks, for Mr. Ndirangu Maina of Consumer Insight and Maggie Ireri of Ipsos Synovate to come up with their ranking figures. When they did, it was another Ngunyi Mutahiâ€™s tyranny of numbers.
After Ndiranguâ€™s poll gave Raila 6 out of 15 leads, Karua and Kenneth, 3 out of 15 each and Uhuru, 2 out of 15, he went ahead and polled Uhuru as the best choice of 328 viewers of the debate. He rated Raila best on Devolution (22), Public reforms (25), Energy (25), National security (22), Foreign policy (34), and Public infrastructure (30); and Uhuru won on Food security (30) and Job creation (33). It puzzles Kenyans how food and job top priorities and give the winner 60% in the debate.
On his side, Ireri claimed he polled 1074 viewers from 43 of 47 counties to give Uhuru lead with 37%, Raila, 23% and Kenneth, 15%. The rest scored less than 10%. He said Uhuru led on security and ICC from viewers polled in Rift Valley, Central and Nairobi. These are three of the eight regions of Kenya. It puzzles the nation how Ireri chose to rate Uhuru leader of the debate from Kenyans of three regions.
Earlier than this debate that gave Ndirangu and Ireri opportunity to surprise Kenyans, one feisty political analyst, Mutahi Ngunyi, had taken a television session to pelt dubious and contentious tribal numbers for Uhuru and dismiss Raila in the forthcoming presidential elections. Â From Gema and Kalenjin communities he simply gave Uhuru about 6.2 million votes of about 70% of the 14, 337, 399 registered voters in the nation with Raila and the rest of the aspirants to share the difference. That was not far from cruel tribal mentality in a tribal man.
Now, my question is; why should the media promote Jubilee Coalitionâ€™s tribal mindsets in Ndirangu, Ireri and Mutahi?! Who else should we expect to tell Kenyans about tribal influence in the coming election: Kipchumba, Sang and Langâ€™at?! Is this the way we want to form the next government of Kenya?! Where is this going to leave the rest of Kenyans?! I think it would be wrong to polarize Kenya in such a manner.
In the debate, only two questions seemed to be directed to particular participants. They were ICC, directed to Uhuru and tribalism, directed to Raila and Uhuru. That was an indication that the two aspirants drew more attention from the moderators than the rest. It also meant the issues were gargantuan to the nation, especially, in respect of the next leadership. They were wasted; first by moderation and second, by debaters.
Now, my question is; why should the media promote Jubilee Coalitionâ€™s tribal mindsets in Ndirangu, Ireri and Mutahi?! Who else should we expect to tell Kenyans about tribal influence in the coming election: Kipchumba, Sang and Langâ€™at?! Is this the way we want to form the next government of Kenya?! Where is this going to leave the rest of Kenyans?!
Uhuru termed it â€˜personal problemâ€™ and said he would address it from the Hague through skype. Karua, Muite and Kenneth simply spoiled it when they dragged it and placed it at the doorsteps of blames. They said Raila should either take responsibility for causing or failing to prevent it. They fell short of saying what Uhuru, the culprit, did in the cause or prevention of the same. Like a premeditated approach on the matter, the three pulled down a curtain upon faces of Kenyans so that they did not see how Uhuru would lead the nation with the ICC predicament on his neck without breaking the chord of our stability.
In the same respect, the question on Land passed by rushing stream waters after Raila cautiously pressed it underfoot. Directed to him by moderator, Linus Kaikai, he toned it down by explicating how his father supported Uhuruâ€™s father for presidency at independence; a family faith he inherited and exhibited by declaring â€œKibaki tosha!â€ in 2002; a clarion call that threw the nation behind the outgoing leader. Raila seemed careful not to rattle the openly tribal Karua, Muite and Kenneth by merely appealing the media to be wary of tribal chauvinists who peddle what he termed as â€œtyranny of tribal numbersâ€, a veiled reference to Ngunyiâ€™s senseless talks aired a week earlier on Citizen television. The rest of the debaters tried to confirm tribalism is rife without really trying to open it up. The subject had missed debate. It surprises, therefore, how Ireri awarded Raila and Uhuru a leading 22% each on the subject.
Like a premeditated approach on the matter, the three pulled down a curtain upon faces of Kenyans so that they did not see how Uhuru would lead the nation with the ICC predicament on his neck without breaking the chord of our stability.
In global practice, it is the leading media outlets that conduct rankings after presidential debates. Leaving it to pollsters like Ipsos Synovate and Consumer Insight whose directors nurse tribal political interests is defeatist. It simply means the exercise was poorly performed and the organizers are afraid to evaluate themselves. Letâ€™s hope of positive change in future, for Kenyans want to know what their leaders stand for.