Kenya: Presidential Candidate Debate to Continue, Despite Withdrawals



Photo: File photo/The Nation

Deputy President William Ruto, right, and Nasa presidential running mate Kalonzo Musyoka at a past function.

The presidential running mates debate scheduled for today evening at Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) will continue as earlier planned despite half the candidates saying they will not attend.

Chairman of the Steering Committee organising the Presidential Debates Wachira Waruru told the ‘Nation’ that the debate is still on and the organisers will host the remaining four candidates.

“We will host the other half,” Mr Waruru said in short text message.

Deputy President William Ruto is still at the Coast on a campaign trail with President Uhuru Kenyatta while National Super Alliance (Nasa) counterpart Kalonzo Musyoka is out of the country.

SANITISE PROCESS

Mr Ruto, through his official Twitter page said: “I’m very surprised with this debate, nobody has engaged me about it. Surely a little courtesy on date, content and rules of engagement would do.”

Mr Emmanuel Nzai, the running mate of Dr Ekuru Aukot (Thirdway Alliance Kenya), said he will only attend the debate if all candidates are present and treated equally.

“They dismissed us as fringe candidates and now that Deputy President William Ruto and Mr Kalonzo Musyoka have declined to attend they want to use us to sanitise the whole process,” Mr Nzai said.

EQUAL TREATMENT

Mr Nzai said all candidates must be treated equally by having one debate and not a two-tier debate.

“All of us must be put on one platform on prime time and allowed to sell our policies to Kenyans. We will not accept any form of discrimination,” Mr Nzai added.

“We will not accept the tier debate as it amounts to discrimination. We were all cleared by the electoral commission after meeting the same conditions,” he explained.

He further said that organisers of the debate have a civic duty of ensuring that the public is adequately informed through providing the same platform for all the candidates.

EQUAL CHANCE

“Kenya cannot be controlled by two people, all of us have policies and we must be given equal chance,” Mr Nzai said.

Alliance for Real Change Presidential candidate Abduba Dida also said his running mate, Tito Ngetuny, will not attend the debate.

“None of the running mates will attend the debate as long as discrimination is the order of the day as we have witnessed from the organisers.

“All candidates must be equal and the podium should be set for eight people,” Mr Dida told the ‘Nation’.

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wah who has been appointed to represent DP Ruto in the debate said through a Facebook post that he was is ready to face off with all the running mates.

“I feel energised to play my civic responsibility to expose Nasa’s lack of substance and vision for this country as we expound on the transformative agenda 0f 2017-2022,” Mr Ichung’wa said.



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