As the August 9, 2022, General Elections draw closer, Kenyans have been treated to eye-opening political debates organised by Media Owners in conjunction with the Media Council of Kenya (MCK).
Gubernatorial debates kicked off over a month ago in various counties across the country, moderated by journalists from various media houses in the country. These debates have enabled members of the public to gauge the development manifestos peddled by their respective candidates.
In 2013, Kenya hosted its first-ever televised presidential debate where candidates responded to questions from top journalists. The debate put together eight candidates who battled to succeed late former President Mwai Kibaki.
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Leading up to the 2017 general elections, the country also witnessed intense debates involving governors, presidential running mates, and candidates. In the course of these debates, a number of journalists have stood out for their professional, unbiased, and sound moderation of the panels.
In this article, WoK takes a look at some of the best Kenyan journalists when it comes to political debates.
Julie Gichuru, Linus Kaikai
Julie Gichuru and Linus Kaikai moderated the first-ever televised presidential debate in 2013. At the time, Gichuru worked at Royal Media Services (RMS) owned, Citizen TV while Kaikai worked at Nation Media Group (NMG)’s NTV.
The duo moderated the presidential debate that featured, President Uhuru Kenyatta, ODM Leader Raila Odinga, Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua, former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, ANC Leader Musalia Mudavadi, Senior Counsel Paul Muite, Mwalimu Abduba Dida, and James Ole Kiyiapi.
The debate was held at the ornate Hogwarts-Esque Brookhouse International School.
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The two put the eight presidential aspirants to task on matters of public finances, education, health, and corruption. The debate had minimal interruptions which gave the leaders ample time to explain their manifestos.
The debate was hailed by many as a success and a turning point for Kenyan politics.
Gichuru has since moved on into private practice but has also moderated multiple international events.
Kaikai was among the journalists that moderated the 2017 presidential debate alongside Joe Ageyo and Yvonne Okwara. He is also in line to moderate the presidential debate on July 26, 2022.
The former Citizen TV journalist is considered one of the best in the country. He moderated the 2017 presidential running mates debate alongside Fred Indimuli and Sophia Wanuna.
During his tenure on national television, Hussein was considered one of the best, if not the best interviewer and panellist on TV. He previously hosted News Night on Citizen TV, before he quit and was succeeded by Waihiga Mwaura.
He was famed for his tough questions and unbiased stance. He held multiple interviews with various leaders in the country including Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga, and was hailed for how he conducted the interviews.
He is currently the Head of Communications on DP Ruto’s campaign team.
The veteran journalist is among the best panellists in the country. He moderated the 2017 presidential debate alongside Linus Kaikai, and Yvonne Okwara.
He is also among the top journalists who will moderate the July 26, 2022, presidential debate which will feature DP Ruto, Odinga, Roots Party leader Professor George Wajackoya, and Agano’s Waihiga Mwaure.
The former News Gang member is considered one of the best journalists in the country, and a top interviewer and panellist. He is famed for a calm, but inquisitive approach. He is respectful and allows his respondents adequate time to expound on issues.
Ageyo does not shy away from asking tough questions and is very professional in his work.
The NTV news anchor is among Kenya’s top journalists. He was among the moderators of the Nairobi Gubernatorial debate held at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) on Monday, July 11, 2022.
Masai is direct, well-versed with issues at hand, and often allows his interviewees ample time to tackle questions.
He moderated the 2017 presidential running mates debate alongside Hussein Mohamed and Sophia Wanuna.
The KTN News anchor is easily among Kenya’s top journalists and is ranked among the best debate moderators in the country.
Indimuli recently moderated the Kilifi County Gubernatorial debate on July 3 alongside Zubeidah Koome. The debate featured Malindi Woman Representative Aisha Jumwa (UDA), ODM’s Gideon Mung’aro, PAA’s George Kithi, Alphonce Mbaru (Safina), Ford-Kenya’s Michael Tinga, and independent candidate, Franco Espesito.
Wanuna was a panellist in the 2017 presidential running mates debate alongside Hussein Mohamed and Fred Indimuli.
She has been hailed on multiple occasions for her sound moderation and unbias when it comes to interviews with leaders across the political divide.
Controversial barrister Miguna Miguna is among the leaders that have heaped praise on Wanuna for her charismatic interviews, and professionalism.