Tight security at venue of presidential debate in Nairobi
Protus Onyango and Moses Nyamori
| Jul 25th 2017 | 2 min read
Security was tight at Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) in Karen, the venue of the presidential debate on Monday.
The debate was split into two - one featuring three candidates that began at 5.30pm and the second one at 8pm pitting President Uhuru Kenyatta against NASA's Raila Odinga.
Guests were first required to show special accreditation badges before being allowed into the first gate, off Magadi Road.
A few metres away, guests were required to be dropped off their vehicles and proceed to the accreditation centre.
Here, they came face to face with mean-looking security personnel, drawn from the General Service Unit, regular and administration police and others from a local security company.
At the centre, one was required to produce their accreditation card, which was screened across a detector to reveal their image on a computer screen.
A few people were turned away after their cards failed.
The rest were ushered into the main venue, which was divided into two parts: an auditorium for the debate and an adjacent building that served as a cocktail centre.
Those who had their cards marked with three As were the only ones allowed into the auditorium.
At noon, all guests were moved to an open area to allow the police to carry out a security check using sniffer dogs.
Thereafter, there was a flurry of activities as organisers and media personnel put the final touches on arrangements.
The first candidate to arrive, at 4.40pm, was Ekuru Aukot of Thirdway Alliance, who was followed by Michael Wainaina and Japheth Kaluyu.
Prof Wainaina and Dr Kaluyu are running as independent candidates.
Dr Aukot and Wainaina were accompanied by their wives and other family members.
Wainaina's son, aged 10, captured the attention of the audience when he urged Kenyans to vote for his father who he said had good plans for the country.
"My father is very peaceful and inspiring. He wants to invest in the youths of our country," the young Wainaina said.
Abduba Dida of Alliance for Real Change, former Minister Joseph Nyaga (independent) and Cyrus Jirongo (United Democratic Party) did not show up.
Participation of President Uhuru Kenyatta and NASA flag bearer Raila Odinga was in doubt although there were indications the Head of State would attend.
At 10 am there was a heavy presence of security officers in plain clothes and sniffer dogs.
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