By ROBERT WANYONYI
There was unusual drama in Busia County when residents engaged political aspirants in a public debate to gauge their leadership abilities ahead of the next General Election.
Majority of the aspirants upon sensing the session was turning tougher, gave weak reasons like going to attend to emergencies in order to bolt from the venue of the county’s first public forum at Amagoro Constituency offices.
However, the determined residents, glad they had finally got the opportunity to put their leaders on the weighing scale, carried on with their self-imposed mission of public prosecutors and clearly had their best time as the day wore on.
Prolonged laughter was the order of the day as most of the aspirants tried to evade answering direct questions, especially those dealing with their social lives, educational background, past development agenda and integrity.
“Madam, now that you have told us you want to be our women representative, what’s your marital status because we haven’t seen your family here yet you are propagating family values,” an aspirant was asked as the participants cheered on.
With enough indicators that the session might have turned tougher than expected, some aspirants were seen pretending to make non-existent calls on their mobile phones as they stealthily walked out of the hall never to return again.
Some of the aspirants, subjected to a six-hour grilling, tried to put across their best lines and diction to win the support of the residents.
“While you served as a councillor at the Malaba Town Council, you didn’t do anything substantial for the electorate yet you were only five civic leaders there. How can you convince us that this time, should you go to Busia County Council that will have 50 councillors, you will do a better job?” a civic leader got clearly overwhelmed by the question from a resident.
The forum that was organised by Resources Management Foundation (RMF) Executive-Director Violet Okinda brought together aspirants gunning for various seats under the new Constitution beginning from County Representatives, Members of Parliament, Women and Youth Representatives, Senators and Governors.
Mrs Okinda said RMF has organised many such public forums in all the 47 counties in order to create an avenue in which voters engage directly with political aspirants as a means of getting better leaders.
Among the personalities who failed to turn up for the debate included former Attorney-General Amos Wako and Nambale MP Chris Okemo, both of who are battling for the seat of senator as well as Labour Assistant Minister and Amagoro MP Sospeter Ojaamong and Kizito Wangalwa, who are running for the position of governor.
However, buoyed by the success of the first forum, the elated residents demanded for another session with all the presidential candidates from the area.