Kenya's poll candidates in final debate

2013-02-26 08:02
Kenya's presidential candidates stand on stage before the second edition of the presidential debate held at BrookHouse School in Nairobi. (AFP)

Kenya's presidential candidates stand on stage before the second edition of the presidential debate held at BrookHouse School in Nairobi. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nairobi - Kenya's eight presidential candidates were challenged on tough issues like land reform and corruption Monday in the final round of the country's first ever face-to-face debate ahead of elections next week.

The poll comes five years after the last vote in 2007-8 ended in bloody violence that claimed at least 1 100 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

While two main candidates - Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga - dominate the race for the March 4 election, all the hopefuls have potential influence, especially if voting goes to a second round run-off.

Kenyatta, the deputy prime minister and son of Kenya's founding president, faces trial with his running mate William Ruto at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for their alleged roles in orchestrating murder, rape and violence after the 2007 poll.

On Monday, Kenyatta, Odinga and the remaining six candidates were grilled in a sometimes emotive debate on the economy, labour laws and land reform - key issues that affect the daily lives of Kenyans.

Land, a cause of bloody ethnic confrontations in the country's volatile coastal region and the expansive Rift Valley, elicited the most reaction.

Kenyatta's family is one of Kenya's largest landowners - up to 500 000 according to rights groups.

He insisted on Monday that all was acquired legally.

"Nobody has ever pointed out and said I have been involved in improperly acquiring land. What we as a family have, has been acquired on a willing buyer willing seller basis," said Kenyatta.

Past economic scams

He declined to divulge exactly how much land the family owned overall, but said it amounted to at least 30 000 acres in Kenya's coastal region alone.

"You cannot allow a hyena to protect your goats," challenger Odinga quipped in response.

The other contenders are Martha Karua, Peter Kenneth, James Ole Kiyapi, Paul Muite, Musalia Mudavadi and high school teacher Mohamed Abduba Dida.

All candidates were quizzed on past economic scams and said they had either never been charged or had been cleared by official investigations.

Kenyans head to the polls next Monday to elect their president and other senior representatives including a governor, a senator, county representatives and members of parliament.

The first round of the historic face-to-face debates were held two weeks ago.

In a joint rally on Sunday, Kenyatta and Odinga, who claims he was robbed of victory in the 2007 vote, called for peaceful elections this time round.

Odinga was on the other side of the political divide five years ago and escaped indictment by the ICC, but a minister and a journalist who supported him also face charges of crimes against humanity.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Millions of plastic particles in our food!

Scientists and researchers believe that almost five million tons of plastic is dumped in the oceans every year and it’s affecting our food.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

It may be hard to maintain a steady rhythm as you find yourself juggling a zillion things. Slow down a little and let go of more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.