NAIROBI, The main protagonists in next month’s Kenyan general election, President Uhuru Kenyatta and National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate Raila Odinga, have both opted out of this year’s presidential debate.
Both took issue with the format and structure of the debate while also citing insufficient consultation by the conveners as reason for their decision not to take part.
The Vice-Chairman of the ruling Jubilee Party, David Murathe, said here Wednesday the decision by the president not to take part followed what he described as “lack of consultations”, while Odinga’s senior adviser, Salim Lone, said Odinga would not participate under the current proposed format and stipulation.
The NASA Presidential Campaign Secretariat has, however, called on President Kenyatta to be open to engaging Odinga in a debate on issues affecting Kenyans after Kenyatta announced that he would not be taking part in the debate
Independent presidential candidate Ekuru Aukot criticised Kenyatta and Odinga for their act of cowardice. He said other presidential candidates are saddened by their move, insisting that the debate is a good platform for all candidates to sell their policies to Kenyans.
Meanwhile, Alliance for Real Change presidential candidate Mohammed Abduba Dida has gone to court to stop the presidential debate. He says the presidential debate guidelines are discriminatory, in bad faith and contrary to the Constitution of Kenya.
Among presidential candidates expected to participate in the debate are Cyrus Jirongo of the United Democratic Party (UDP), Ekuru Aukot of Thirdway Alliance, Abduba Dida of the Alliance for Real Change (ARC), and independents Joseph Nyagah, Michael Wainaina and Japheth Kavinga.
The debate was scheduled to take place on Monday with millions of shillings already spent on advertising and preparations.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK