Raila:I Won’t Share The Debate Stage With Ruto.

Azimio La Umoja  One Kenya presidential flag-bearer Raila Odinga has refused to debate Deputy President William Ruto on the debate scheduled for Tuesday, July 26.

Joining DP Ruto on stage would be “a dangerous idea,” according to Mr. Odinga’s presidential campaign headquarters, which described Ruto as a politician who “would do and say anything” to obtain power.

“… he has become desperate. He is a man who has no regard for ethics, public morals, or shame. That is why he has demanded that the debate not focus on corruption, integrity, ethics, and governance — the key existential questions that Kenya faces. These issues sit at the core of the Azimio campaign,” said the secretariat’s spokesperson Prof. Makau Mutua.

“Any debate devoid of these questions would be an insult to the intelligence of Kenyans. That is why we do not intend to share a national podium with a person who lacks basic decency.”

In order to engage voters, Mr. Odinga and Martha Karua, his running mate in the August 9 election, will attend a televised town hall in Nairobi, according to the campaign headquarters.

“It would be a colossal mistake to reward such a person with a national debate…. In lieu of a traditional debate, we plan to take part in a televised town hall at Jericho Social Hall in Nairobi’s Eastlands with ordinary Kenyans to offer our solutions to the challenges facing the country and common people,” said Prof. Mutua.

“(Mr.Odinga and Ms. Karua) will answer questions put to them by the people of Kenya openly, honestly, and free from what would otherwise be nothing more than empty self-serving political theater.”

The campaign team for DP Ruto demanded on Thursday that the time allotments for the various topics that would be covered in the discussion on Tuesday be made public.

Hussein Mohammed, the communications director for Ruto’s presidential campaign, urged the moderators to give each topic equal time and “equally enable candidates a fair opportunity to address it” in a letter to the Presidential Debate Secretariat.

“To that end, we wish to know in advance the number of minutes that will be allocated to respective interventions including, but not restricted to Governance and Integrity, Agriculture, Healthcare, MSMEs and Manufacturing, Housing, the Digital Economy, Foreign Policy, and so on and so forth,” reads the letter in part.

The team alleged that critical time was lost on topics of little interest to Kenyans at the Deputy Presidential Candidates discussion on Tuesday, July 19.

“We note with dismay that an overwhelming allocation of time was devoted to canvassing personality, political relationships and similarly trivial pursuits at the expense of the issues that Kenyans demand and deserve to know from the campaigns. We regret to observe that a crucial opportunity was therefore laid to utter waste,” added Mohammed.

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Written by Esther Oyugi

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