I religiously went home last evening full of hope. I was particularly happy just thinking of how the Kenya presidential debate 2017nwould be. I had this idea in my head that I have an opportunity to make a decision who to vote for.

Unfortunately, Presidential running mates in Kenya just ignored a call to debate even after months of preparation and subsequent communication with respective campaign teams.

Only one little know running mate Eliud Mathiora showed up, took to the podium to tell the country why they have the perfect solution to the Kenya. Kenyans on social media fell in love with him. I think he did well. He may not ascend to power this time, but he will remain in voters minds as one who had the courage to present himself for scrutiny of his agenda.

The lone debater confirmed that there had been consistent communication between the organising committee and the campaign teams

Snubbing the debates began with front runners to the presidential seat boycotting an earlier scheduled debate. President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga cited non-consultation, and they were not privy to the rules of engagement.

However, the organising committee of the Kenya Presidential Debate 2017 refutes the claims and further reiterated that there had been consultations with the respective campaign teams.

It seems politicians are not afraid of what the media can do. They are used to status quo of attending many public rallies and rant false statements and propaganda against each other. The media on the, on the other hand, does not recognise the potential and influence they possess.

Politicians do not want to have a single platform to explain to the entire nation at the same time why they should be elected. They want to stand on a platform in the towns to be cheered as they attack their opponent with meagre propaganda.

The snubbing of the debates can be seen as failed attempt by concerned Kenyans to hold leaders accountable. However, the failed presidential debates are just but the beginning of a new norm.

Candidates can boycott standing in front of the nation to articulate their ideologies to the country, but it won’t be long, they will have to account for every decision they made while in power.

The Shift

The political landscape is changing. Very fast indeed. The rise of social media has placed Kenyans physically apart, but they are closer than ever. Voters can synthesise and discuss issues on social media pages.

Presidential debate failure last night was the beginning of something very great that will shape the leadership of this nation. Leaders will be held into account. I see a country that is headed in the right direction.

The only thing that the organising committee must do is never give up. They should continue offering a platform for Kenyans to know their leaders and be able to make a choice away from tribal, religious or gender affiliations.

Here is the plan

The focus should shift from covering allegations and responses on propaganda and non-issues to focus on what brings change. Weed out “Nasa hawa” and focus on “We’ll bring free improve health for every Kenyan and Free education.”

The media should stop being a conduit for allegation and responses. They should rather focus on national matters that the leaders have in their manifestos. Boycott to report about what Jubilee said about Nasa and focused on what Jubilee said about the people. If allegations are made against either camp, we need journalists pressing these leaders to provide proof. With proof ask the other team to respond with proof.

If the media do some quality reporting and upholding top level reporting, then the politician will be very very afraid of the reporters.