Abduba Dida loses petition to stop presidential debates

Abduba Dida loses petition to stop presidential debates

The High Court has today dismissed a petition filed by presidential candidate Abduba Dida seeking to stop the election presidential debates from happening on grounds they were discriminatory.

The Alliance for Real Change candidate had moved to court to stop the highly publicised discussions from beginning on July 10 as not all hopefuls would present their visions for the country on the same platform.

The three judge bench however, quashed the controversial politician’s petition as it did not have merit that the debate’s organisers were discriminatory to him.

“I don’t believe there was unfair discrimination as alleged by Dida under article 27 of the Constitution,” Justice Kyalo Mativo said in the ruling.

The judge added that Dida has the option of opting out of the debate if he is not happy with the arrangements adding that they do not in any way prohibit him from articulating his agenda.

In his affidavit, Dida had argued that categorisation was prejudicial to his interest as a presidential aspirant saying that one section of the presidential candidate will be elevated to the detriment of other players.

Candidates with above five percent national support will be pooled together while those with below five per cent will take part in a separate debate on the same day.

This means that President Uhuru Kenyatta and NASA flagbearer Raila Odinga, as the only candidates who surpass the required approval threshold, would go head to head in their own debate.

The debate however hangs in the balance as the election’s two main rivals pulled out of the event with President Kenyatta noting he wasn’t adequately consulted and Opposition leader Raila saying he would not debate unless certain conditions are met.

The event’s organisers, Debate Media Limited, plead with the court to dismiss the petition arguing that they stood to lose up to Sh300 million in advertising and preparation fees should the debate have been halted.

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.

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