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Ruben FM  aspirants debate report


Mukuru slum is one of the most densely populated slums in Nairobi. the population of this area is approximated to be over 700,000 people. Being a cosmopolitan area, it requires better leadership and competent leaders in all the leadership positions.

This place is also one of the less developed areas in Nairobi. One of the major reasons leading to this is inept leadership that has been experienced during the past years.

With introduction of devolved government, residents of this community had high hopes of an improvement in their standards of living but they have been left in darkness as most of the elected leaders haven’t performed to the residents’ expectations.

Ruben Centre’s  idea of coming up with a community radio station in this community was received positively by the community as it has been seen as one of the remaining hopes of Mukuru area. Since its inception, Ruben FM indeed has brought hope for this great community through both live continuity programs and recorded developmental programs. Governance and leadership is one of the most prioritized issues in our programming. Ruben FM currently has two governance programs per week. The main reason of having these two programs is to keep leaders on toes and holding them accountable. Holding political debates for aspirants is one way of ensuring that the citizens elect better leaders in respective leadership positions. Ruben FM organised two aspirants debate in the month of July 2017.the debates were for those aspiring for leadership in the categories of ward representation and parliament representation. The events were held on 15th July and 22nd July in Ruben Centre hall.

Objectives of the debates

  • to give a platform to all aspiring leaders to give their manifesto to the people
  • to let the community hear from their leaders and also give them their grievances
  • to ensure better and improved leadership in Mukuru community
  • to preach peaceful co-existence before, during and after elections in Mukuru community

The debates

The first debate was held on Saturday 15th July 2017 and involved those aspiring to be members of county assembly {MCA} to represent all the six wards within our listenership radius. Ruben FM through the office of the station manager communicated with all the leaders through telephone communication which was recorded to avoid any future complains or claims of not being invited. Apart from telephone communication, a promo was scripted, recorded and aired live on radio to advertise the debate. Seven MCA aspirants turned up for the debate. On the other hand, four Member of parliament aspirants turned up for the MP aspirants’ debate on 22nd July 2017. both the two debates were moderated by Ruben FM presenters who had done thorough preparations. The debates were aired live hence reaching out to the entire population of Mukuru who were listening through their radios. Community members were also invited to attend the debate as audience in the hall. The audience participated well by asking questions and giving their grievances as well. other Ruben FM listeners outside our listenership radius followed up the events through the online streaming and sent their feedback through the studio phone number and social media platforms. through the feedback received, we realized that the community was happy with the debate idea since it gave them a platform to interact with those aspiring for the leadership decisions.


impact of the debates

  • the voters are now able to make informed decisions in electing the best leaders for their wards and constituency.
  • community members are aware of the duties of members of county assembly and member of parliament
  • we have seen peaceful campaigns after the debates.
  • political aspirants are now careful in their campaigns as they know that the radio team and the community is ‘watching’ them and expects much from them.

What next?

Peace, Peace and Peace. This is now what everybody is focusing on in the entire country. in Mukuru we expect that we are going to have a peaceful election and peaceful co- existence in after the elections. the radio’s slogan is ‘unganisha jamii’ and we will always keep the pot boiling to preach peace through our radio programs. We urge all the community residents to keep and maintain peace.

By: Thomas Ochieng’-  : Station manager Ruben FM