President Uhuru Kenyatta has pulled out of the presidential debate slated for Monday, July 10 and July 24.
Jubilee Vice Chairman David Murathe today told Capital FM News that the party feels there was no sufficient consultation and has taken issue with the show format.
Adverts for the debate have been running on all major television stations and some radio stations asking Kenyans to send in questions for the eight presidential candidates. This year’s presidential debate is being coordinated by the main media houses in Kenya, led by NMG, Standard and Royal Media Services.
Meanwhile, NASA leader Raila Odinga has also pulled out. Mr Salim Lone, Nasa’s senior adviser, said the Mr Odinga would not participate in the debate under the current proposed format and stipulation.
“However, the Nasa Presidential Campaign Secretariat has urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to be open to debating Raila Odinga on the issues affecting Kenyans in the present circumstance,” said Mr Lone.
The debate is being organised by Debates Media Limited.
Debates Kenya Limited is already engaged in court battle with presidential candidate Abduba Dida. The Alliance for Real Change has sued Debate Media Limited and the Media Council of Kenya
He wants the debates temporarily stopped because they will feature two categories of candidates — those who have already garnered over five percent popularity as per opinion polls and those who have not.
He argues that categorising the contenders for the top seat in the August elections is unfair and prejudicial to the other candidates.
In their reply, Debate Media Ltd through Mr Wachira Waruru said they stand to lose Sh200 million in advertising should the court prevent the discussions from taking place.
Earlier, the Alliance for Real Change candidate Abduba Dida moved to court to challenge his exclusion from the race saying it created the impression that he was a “second class” contender.
Before becoming President in 2013, Kenyatta participated in the debate but expressed reservations about the second round on the grounds that he was unfairly targeted by the moderators. He, however, went on take part.