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Kenya in first presidential candidates debate

BBC-Kenya has held its first presidential debate – between all eight candidates in next month’s tightly contested poll.

Millions of Kenyans watched and listened to the live debate, broadcast on 42 local radio and TV stations, as well as YouTube.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his deputy Uhuru Kenyatta, who faces trial for crimes against humanity, are seen as the favourites in the poll.

President Mwai Kibaki is stepping down after two terms in office.

Disputes over the previous election, in 2007, led to ethnic violence in which more than 1,000 people were killed and 300,000 forced from their homes.

During the debate, Mr Odinga said his efforts to establish a local tribunal to try suspects involved in the conflict were thwarted by some of his opponents, who will now be tried at the Hague a month after the 4 March election.

“Me and President Kibaki spent eight hours in Parliament to try and set up a local tribunal…. I know it’s going to cause serious challenges to run the government via skype from the Hague,” he said.

Mr Kenyatta said his trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for allegedly fuelling the violence after the 2007 election would not prevent him from performing his duties if he is voted into power next month.

“If people elect me, they have confidence that I can still handle my problems and still discharge my duties as president. The job that I seek is going to be given by the people of Kenya,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kenya’s Foreign Minister Sam Ongeri summoned European Union (EU) ambassadors on Monday, accusing them of interfering in the election by making “inflammatory” remarks that could polarise the nation ahead of the 4 March vote.

Source: BBC

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