Vice President William Ruto’s campaign team dismissed reports of a change of heart on the next presidential election scheduled for Tuesday next week.
While confirming that Kenya’s flag bearer Kwanza, who has repeatedly complained about alleged media bias, will take part in the debate, UDA presidential campaign communications director Hussein Mohammed clarified. that his boss had not indicated that he would skip the debate between him and his main opponent Raila Odinga. of the Azimio coalition.
“There is no change of heart. We advised the candidates based on our experience and the current media environment, and the decision firmly belonged to Ruto and Rigathi Gachagua. Gachagua decided to appear” , he told reporters Thursday at a press conference.
Ruto’s team, however, issued several conditions in a letter to Cliff Machoka, the head of the presidential debate secretariat.
“We note with dismay that an overwhelming allocation of time has been spent on character prospecting, political connections and similar activities at the expense of the issues that Kenyans demand and deserve to know from the countryside,” reads part of Hussein’s letter.
“The purpose of this letter is to confirm to you that Kenya Kwanza presidential candidate, Dr. William Ruto, looks forward to participating in the presidential debate next Tuesday. In this regard, he is ready to answer any questions and talk about any subject that arises during the debate,” he said.
Hussein is demanding a public assurance from organizers that equal time will be given to their presidential flag bearer, saying their second-in-command has had less time to articulate the issues.
“However, his presence depends on the following questions. First, we expect moderators to allocate equal time to issues affecting Kenyans and also allow contestants a fair opportunity to address them,” he insists.
“To this end, we wish to know in advance the number of minutes that will be allocated to the respective interventions, including but not limited to Governance and Integrity, Agriculture, Health, MSMEs and manufacturing, housing, digital economy, foreign policy, etc. And so on. We will be very grateful for your prompt response and look forward to an in-depth discussion,” he says.
He further disputed the way the debate was conducted “It is recorded that Hon Karua had 39 minutes to speak and Gachagua only spoke for 32 minutes,” he said of the running mate debate. which has just ended and which was broadcast live in all countries. media stations for two and a half hours on Tuesdays starting at 7 p.m.
He went on to accuse moderators of ignoring key issues affecting Kenyans.
“We regret to note that a crucial opportunity has therefore been completely wasted. However, we believe that lessons can be learned from this episode and that the debate between presidential candidates offers a golden opportunity to make up for all the missed opportunities”, he underlined.
Adding “the format of the debate has been accepted by all parties, if Kenyans think that we should devote more time to the debate, we have no problem. Ask for anything under the sun, but allow equal time. The debate should not be centered on irrelevant personalities and relationships. It’s a shame that the cost of living was asked at the end of the debate,” he added.
The first tier of the 2022 presidential debate will feature candidates who polled less than 5% in three recent opinion polls and will be moderated by NTV’s Smriti Vidyarthi and KTN News‘ Ken Mijungu.
The second debate between the two main contenders will be moderated by Yvonne Okwara of Citizen TV and Eric Latiff of Spice FM and KTN News.
NTV’s Joe Ageyo will moderate the panel discussions for both debates.
In search of a framework for an effective moderation of debates: pic.twitter.com/9yOyx1rYCm
— Hussein Mohamed, MBS. (@HusseinMohamedg) July 21, 2022