Debates are increasingly seen both domestically and internationally as benchmarks of a healthy, maturing democracy. Citizens often view debates as an indication of an open, transparent election process where all candidates can compete equally.
Voters are also able to see issues they are concerned about addressed by candidates during debates and hold them accountable for past actions. All these factors can contribute to the overall legitimacy of an election process. Similarly, since debates are often landmark events watched by neighboring nations and audiences overseas, the forums can highlight progress in consolidating democracy.
“In Africa, presidential debates are also gaining huge popularity…In Ghana, the presidential debate has now become a culture, refusing to participate is not even an option…In Kenya, the first ever presidential debate was held in February 2013. There were eight candidates and they all battled it out in front of a huge audience…In Zimbabwe it is high time we embrace the democratic path that has been followed by our sister nations that have walked the same road that we do now.”