Uhuru to skip Presidential debate

Uhuru to skip Presidential debate

President Uhuru Kenyatta will not attend the July 10 presidential debate, as he was not properly consulted about the event.

Jubilee Party Vice Chairman David Murathe confirmed that the President will snub the debate since he had not been formally invited by the organizers.

“We are not even aware of the rules of engagement. So let them do it without him,” Murathe said.

In addition, the Head of State’s diary is already filled up until the election date as he is busy traversing the country on his re-election campaign tour.

“He has many channels through which he can engage Kenyans on various issues [without being] drawn into a shouting match as we witnessed in the Nairobi debate. This is beneath him,” Murathe added.

The first debate is slated for July 10 while running mates will argue their bids on July 17. The final Presidential debate will be held on July 24.

Sources had earlier indicated that President Kenyatta might give the highly publicised event a wide berth.

The presidential contest had attracted a myriad of aspirants with eight candidates being finally cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

They include NASA’s Raila Odinga, Cyrus Jirongo (United Democratic Party), Ekuru Aukot (Thirdway Alliance), Abduba Dida (Alliance for Real Change) and independents Joseph Nyagah, Michael Wainaina and Japheth Kavinga.

Meanwhile, a firm that is part of the organising committee, Debate Media Ltd, has defended its decision to lock out candidate Abduba Dida from the main debate saying he has less than 5 per cent of the public’s approval.

In a petition, Dida demanded for candidates to be afforded the same status to state their vision for the country.

However, the company said it stood to lose Sh200 million in advertising should the court prevent the discussions from taking place.

For one to be invited, he/she must command at least five per cent popular support in opinion polls, according to guidelines released by the organisers.

All the debates will be held at Catholic University of Eastern Africa at 7.30 pm and will be aired by all participating media houses on television and radio stations.

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