Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Wednesday, 05 Jul 2017 16:43 EATnkiru@kenyafreepress.com
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his main challenger NASA flag-bearer Raila Odinga will not participate in the hyped presidential debate, leaving Debate Media Ltd, the firm behind the debate, reeling in potential losses running into millions of shillings.
The two leaders opted out of the hyped all-candidate debate organised by Debate Media Ltd, a joint arm by participating media houses that is now being accused of turning what could have been an important debate into a 'commercial' with entertainment value but which would not bring any education tgo voters.
According to Jubilee Vice Chairman David Murathe, the President will not participate in the debate slated for July 10 as he had not been contacted in relation to the said debate. And Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju also defended President Kenyatta’s move not to attend the debate saying no one had contacted the party or State House in regards to the debates.
On his part Mr Odinga, through his senior advisor Salim Lone, said he won’t attend the debate under the current format and stipulation. “The NASA Presidential Candidate Raila Odinga will not participate in the 2017 presidential debate under the current proposed format and stipulation.
"However, the NASA Presidential Campaign Secretariat has urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to be open to debating Raila Odinga on the issues affecting Kenyans in the present circumstances”, Mr Lone said in a statement.
The exit of the two has left the face-off between the other presidential candidates Ekuru Aukot (Thirdway Alliance), Cyrus Jirongo (United Democratic Party), Abduba Dida (Alliance for Real Change) and independents Japheth Kavinga, Joseph Nyagah and Michael Wainaina.
In the debating arrangements, candidates with above five per cent national support will be pooled together while those with below five per cent will take part in a separate debate on the same day.
Mr Dida has sued the Media Council of Kenya and DML seeking orders to stop the debates slated for July 10th and 24th. The petition seeks to stop the debate as it categorized those that had garnered more than five percent in the opinion polls and those that had not stating out all candidates are equal.
The organizers of the debate want Mr Dida's petition dismissed for lack of merit. DML through its director Wachira Waruru said it stands to lose Sh100 million if it didn’t take place.
The organisers’ guidelines stipulate that each debate will run uninterrupted for 90 minutes at the Catholic University of East Africa in Nairobi at 7.30 pm. The key thematic areas of the debates will be announced to the candidates at least one week prior so they can prepare adequately.