Azimio’s Raila Odinga Skips The Presidential Debate

Azimio’s Raila Odinga (right) and Kenya Kwanza’s William Ruto (left)

The two men were expected to face it off in a televised live debate tomorrow evening at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) in Karen, Nairobi. Instead, Raila Odinga and his DP nominee Martha Wangari Karua will be answering questions from Kenyans at a town hall meeting at Jericho Social Hall on Tuesday evening

The eagerly awaited live TV debate between the two main candidates in this year’s Presidential race, Azimio’s Raila Odinga and Kenya Kwanza’s William Ruto are in jeopardy after Raila Odinga’s Presidential Secretariat issued a statement in which they said their candidate will not attend. 

A statement from Raila Odinga’s Presidential Secretariat

The two men were expected to face it off in a televised live debate tomorrow evening at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) in Karen, Nairobi. Instead, Raila Odinga and his DP nominee Martha Wangari Karua will be answering questions from Kenyans at a town hall meeting at Jericho Social Hall on Tuesday evening.

As things stand now, it is not clear if Roots Party candidate Prof George Wajackoyah and Agano’s David Mwaure Waihiga will even debate each other as was expected in the first-tier debate at the same venue

The debate between Mr Odinga and Ruto was expected to see millions of Kenyans glued to their television screens across the country. According to the organizers of the debate, it was to take place on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, from 5P pm at (CUEA) in Karen, Nairobi. The same venue was also used for Nairobi County’s Gubernatorial and the Running Mates debates. 

Roots Party candidate Prof George Wajackoyah

The organizers had said that Mr Raila Odinga and DP Ruto would have taken on each other in the second-tier debate, by the virtue of having polled over five per cent in three recent opinion polls, a yardstick being used to group the debaters in what has come to be a national event every electioneering year.  

Yvonne Okwara of Citizen TV and Eric Latiff of KTN were to be the moderators of the presidential debate between Mr Odinga and William Ruto.  As things stand now, it is not clear if Roots Party candidate Prof George Wajackoyah and Agano’s David Mwaure Waihiga will even debate each other as was expected in the first-tier debate at the same venue. The debate between Prof Wajackoyah and Mr Mwaura would have been moderated by NTV’s Smriti Vidyarthi and Ken Mijungu of KTN,” a Press Statement from the organizing Secretariat released last week said.

Agano’s David Mwaure Waihiga

The secretariat said the moderators were chosen following a rigorous criterion that abides by the rule of impartiality, fairness and objectivity in addition to a strong understanding of the Kenyan political landscape and the major issues in this election. The statement said: “We reiterate that under the Presidential Debate Guidelines, the moderators will select the questions to be asked and shall not share the same with the candidates. They will not meet with any of the campaign teams or the candidates.”

The Presidential debate would have been a culmination of a series of debates that first started with one for Nairobi governor candidates last week, before Tuesday’s deputy presidential debates that saw running mates layout to the Kenyan voter their visions and why their parties should be elected into office, instead the debate was transformed into a personality clash between Kenya Kwanza’s Rigathi Gachagua and Azimio’s Martha Karua. Mr Gchagua went on to vent his anger against President Uhuru Kenyatta and his family, yet the president and his family are not in the 2022 race.

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