GACHAGUA AND RUTO ISSUES NEW DEMANDS
Gatundu South Member of Parliament Moses Kuria says the Kenya Kwanza tag team ticket of William Ruto and Rigathi Gachagua will not participate in the Presidential Debates.
Writing on social media, the vocal politician who is vying for the Kiambu gubernatorial seat on a Chama Cha Kazi (CCK) ticket cites alleged media bias in the Kenya Kwanza decision.
CCK is a member of the Kenya Kwanza Alliance, the umbrella that brings together United Democratic Alliance [Ruto and Gachagua’s party] and ANC among others. It is notable that Kuria is not the official spokesperson of either Kenya Kwanza or UDA.
“The Zubeida Koome ‘Is your name Sakaja? Quip is a clear indicator of the media bias that Kenya Kwanza has been complaining of,” says Kuria. “The Kenya Kwanza Alliance will not participate in both the Running Mate debate and the Presidential Debate and that is final.”
Kuria’s remarks follow an earlier-in-the-week Twitter comment by Deputy President William Ruto’s communication aide Emmanuel Talam in which he said the Ruto will not participate in the debate.
The Media Council confirms it supports @RailaOdinga for president. Fair enough. But you can’t have @WilliamsRuto for the presidential debate to sanitize your candidate. Have a field day with him. We are ok with the people @OleItumbi pic.twitter.com/qu6AkFzRJC
— emmanuel talam (@EmmanuelTalam) July 14, 2022
The debate, for the presidential candidates and for their running mates are slated for July 26 and July 19, respectively.
Organized by The Presidential Debates Secretariat, the debates are – in the words of Clifford Machoka, head of the Secretariat- “a key avenue for catalysing issue-based elections and facilitating informed electoral choices.”
The first debate for the upcoming General Election saw Nairobi gubernatorial candidates slug it out live on stage at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. The highlight of the July 11 event saw UDA candidate Johnson Sakaja come face to face with his main challenger Polycarp Igathe of Azimio.
Hussein Mohammed’s Statement
In early June, the William Ruto camp had officially said he will not participate in the debate.
A statement issued by Hussein Mohammed, director of communications said: “Under the current partisan media environment, we have advised our candidate against participating in the presidential debates.”
He alleged that there was “unequal allocation of [media] coverage, compounded by biased framing and negative profiling of the Kenya Kwanza Alliance campaign and personalities affiliated to it”
If the threats of a boycott do not come to pass, Rigathi will face-off with Azimio Coalition’s running mate Martha Karua on July 19. The debate will be held from 5pm to 9pm.
On July 26, Ruto is expected to square it off on the live podium with his Azimio counterpart Raila Odinga and other presidential candidates namely George Wajackoyah [Roots Party] and David Waihiga [Agano Party].
“Once again, we wish to reiterate our commitment to delivering a debate founded on the principles of fairness, Integrity, Independence and accountability as enshrined in the Presidential Debates Guidelines,” said Machoka, Secretariat head.