As the date for the general elections draw nearer, candidates for various positions are intensifying campaigns for their elections.

But what exactly is their vision and plans if elected? This is a question that can be answered by organizing debates for various candidates and giving residents as opportunity to interrogate them. Residents of Langata in Nairobi have taken the lead and are engaging candidates for the positions of Member of Parliament and Member of County Assembly. We encourage other residents in various parts of the country to organize similar forums and interrogate candidates who would wish to be elected to serve in any of the positions being contested in the coming general elections. Below is a summary by Nduku Mutua (one of the organizers) of how Langata residents have been able to do it:  

A group of volunteers from the Langata Matters whatsapp forum decided to organize two debates this year.  The goal of the debates is to give aspiring Langata MCAs and MPs a platform to tell us what they have to offer, to provide an opportunity for residents to air their needs and priorities so that the aspirants can have an idea about the expectations of residents if elected.

The first debate took place on April 8, 2017 at Langata West Primary School.  It attracted 6 MCA and 9 MP candidates from various parties. More than 150 residents attended.  This number does not include the supporters brought by some aspirants. A recording that one of the aspirants pinned to his Facebook page was viewed by more than 7,900 people before the end of that same day. A clip of MP aspirants holding hands and raising them up as they repeated a peace pledge circulated widely.

How did we manage to organize the debate?

We relied on volunteers and the spirit of giving. Members of Langata Matters forum reached out to various aspirants and invited them to the debate. (Some aspirants are members of the forum). Organizers and moderators freely donated their time, energy and resources. We got sponsors who designed the posters, provided the décor, donated a PA system, lent us microphones and cables, paid 2/3 of the cost of the venue, provided civic education materials and helped publicize the debate on social media.We also fundraised on Langata Matters and sold space for a business exhibition that took place just outside the hall. 

And now we want to do the same for the second debate. We’re looking for sponsors and a bigger hall. There will also be a business exhibition to help meet some of the costs as well as provide valuable advertising for participating businesses.

Langata Matters has started moving to telegram to accommodate more people on the platform.  Langata residents are welcome to join. Download the telegram app and send a request with your name (two names, minimum), telephone number and where you live to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Follow the conversation on:

Facebook: Langata speaks       

Twitter:  @langata_speaks

Nduku Mutua, a Langata Resident