Six Aspirants Skip Debate In Malindi

Only two Peter Ponda who is eying for the seat on an ANC ticket, and Nixon Nyule of Safina Party turned up for the debate

A live debate meant for aspirants eyeing the Malindi MP seat to tell their agenda to the people was given a wide berth by six of the aspirants.

The six missed a live debate organized by Human Rights Agenda (HURIA) aimed at interacting with voters and sharing their visions.

Only two Peter Ponda who is eying for the seat on an ANC ticket, and Nixon Nyule of Safina Party turned up for the debate held at Cleopatra Theatre.

Others who did not show up include Amina Mnyazi (ODM) Kenneth Karisa (Independent) WIlly Mtengo (PAA), Daniel Chiriba (UDA), Bernard Taura (CPK), and Richard Otara of UDP. 

The debates have been conducted all over the Coast region with a view to give a chance for the voters to interact with the candidates from governors to MCAs and hear what they were planning to do for the people once elected into office.

Organizers said one of the candidates said he would not attend because the party leader Raila Odinga never went to the 2022 General Elections Presidential debate while another one said he was busy campaigning door to door.

Others did not pick up calls despite confirming attendance..

The debate was held at the Cleopatra theatre hall in Malindi town and also had a low turnout of voters.

The Executive Director of HURIA Yusuf Lule said the debate went on just like the presidential one where one of the candidates failed to turn up.

Addressing the participants he said they would proceed with the two who turned up because that is the culture that must be encouraged in the country.

“Let it not be just about rallies where people go to campaign then people fail to take part in objective meaningful discussions like these ones,” he said.

 Lule said in such a forum there could be many voters who may have not made a decision on who they would vote for but from there they could be able to decide their preferred candidate.

Betty Sidi from HURIA said it was so disappointing that the candidates were not taking advantage of the platform which was accorded to them free of charge and being able to address an audience that has been mobilized and ready to hear them.

She said there are those who have not made up their mind on who they will vote for and could easily change their minds toward a candidate’s favour after expressing himself or herself during the debate.

“By failing to honour our invitation to attend the debate it means they are missing many votes which we had mobilized to come, we also gave the candidates a chance to bring in their supporters,” she said.

Sidi said they began the debates in Mombasa and Kwale that’s why in Kilifi it was being held late.

“What we have learned as an organization is to ensure in the next general elections we begin these preparations early because some of the candidates claimed the time is limited,” she said.

Ponda one of the candidates who turned up said his leadership will be all-inclusive to bring the people of Malindi together.

he said all residents of Malindi will be involved in the development of the constituency and ensure transparency and accountability.

“We have money from the county government, national government and I will ensure that users in a justified manner and transparently for the benefit of all people,’ he said.

He said there are eight candidates but two only attended because of fear and called on residents of Malindi to elect a leader who has a history of development.

Nyule on his part said those who did not have a chance to hear them in the grassroots now had a chance to hear them.

The Safina party parliamentary candidate said he had three agendas of health, education, and economic development.

Triza Nafula from Sema Nami a CBO based in Malindi said they brought community representatives from different categories including handicrafts, beach operators, and BMU among others including those living with a disability.

“Malindi has so many problems and by hearing the manifestos that the leaders have will help them make informed decisions,” she said.

Mary Karisa a person living with a disability said the debate was very important to her because through the dialogue they will hear and understand what those aspiring to be MPs have for people.

“Personally I am physically challenged and would be happy to hear their plans for us and other vulnerable groups in society,” she said.