Mark Masai Vs Uhuru Kenyatta has been trending after the Friday night roundtable interview with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
It all started during an exchange between him and Uhuru when the president was fielding questions from journalists during a round table session when Masai answered a question in a manner some people described as rude.
The journalist was pressing Uhuru about the country’s ballooning debt when the president asked the TV anchor to say what Japan’s national debt was before he focused on that of Kenya. The drama captured on live TV had Mark saying he did not care to know Japan’s national debt as he was not in that country at the time.
As President Kenyatta defended his government’s penchant for borrowing, the attention of Kenyans on social media was drawn to Mr Masai’s ‘courageous’ response to the President’s attempt to answer a question with another, an evasive tactic often employed by politicians when confronted with tough questions.
Kenya’s rising debt has been a niggling issue among Kenyans and recent fears over possible loss of the Mombasa port to the Chinese should the country default on its standard gauge railway loan exacerbated the concerns.
But the Chinese government and Mr Kenyatta have since denied the claim that the Mombasa port was used as collateral to get the railway funding. Nonetheless, Mr Kenyatta defended his borrowing policy, saying he has no qualms with acquiring credit to fund development projects.
Here is Mr Masai’s conversation with the President:
President Kenyatta: Do you know what the debt of the Japanese government is?
Mr Masai: I’m not really concerned about Japan.
President Kenyatta: Do you know what the Kenyan debt is?
Mr Masai: As I said, right now it’s something between Sh4.5 to Sh4.8 trillion
President Kenyatta: No, no, no as a percentage of the GDP [gross domestic product], talk like an economist.
Mr Masai: 56 per cent of GDP
President Kenyatta: What is Japan’s debt?
Mr Masai: I’m not in Japan so I’m not interested in Japan but Kenya
President Kenyatta: Japan’s debt is over 100 per cent of the GDP
Sources: Tuko, Nation Media