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Friday, July 28, 2017

I'm ready for presidential debate, Raila says, asks Uhuru to reconsider

Presidential candidatesAbduba Dida, James ole Kiyapi, Uhuru Kenyatta, Peter Kenneth, Musalia Mudavadi, Martha Karua, Raila Odinga and Paul Muite during the live presidential debate ahead of the 2013 election. /JACK OWUOR
Presidential candidatesAbduba Dida, James ole Kiyapi, Uhuru Kenyatta, Peter Kenneth, Musalia Mudavadi, Martha Karua, Raila Odinga and Paul Muite during the live presidential debate ahead of the 2013 election. /JACK OWUOR

Raila Odinga has said he is ready to debate with President Uhuru Kenyatta as part of preparations for the much awaited general election.

The two had boycotted the debate, Uhuru saying he was not consulted and the NASA flag bearer opposing its format.

Read: Uhuru to boycott presidential debate, official says shouting 'beneath him'

Also read: Raila opts out of presidential debate over format after Uhuru boycott

Through his adviser Salim Lone, Raila told the President it is not too late to reach an agreement.

He confirmed the Opposition's readiness to participate should Uhuru change his mind and asked him to reconsider.

“NASA is still ready to take part in the proposed debates as soon as Jubilee engages in agreeing on ground rules that the President used as excuse to duck,” Lone said in a statement on Monday.

The Presidential Debate Commission has been engaging the candidates' campaign teams to agree on the format, ground rules and other such matters.

But Jubilee is yet to confirm if its candidate will take part and is yet to inform the organisers on what would be agreeable.

Deputy President William Ruto and NASA presidential candidate Kalonzo Musyoka have said they will not attend the function at Catholic University of Eastern Africa.

Their withdrawal has threatened to paralyse both presidential and running mate debates for the poll on August 8.

Ruto is campaigning with Uhuru at the Coast while Kalonzo is out of the country.

The duo blamed organisers saying they were not consulted and only learnt of the function through the media.

“I am surprised no one has engaged me on the debate. Courtesy demands that date, time, rules pf engagement would have been made available,” Ruto tweeted.

But debate committee chairman Wachira Waruru told The Star: “We are going ahead as planned and whoever shows up will be hosted and will debate...that is our approach."

Waruru maintained the organising committee reached out to the candidates and that they were all aware of every step during preparations.

“We wrote letters to all the candidates. The letters were received and signed by their offices. We are surprised by that claim,” he said.

Read more: Only Uhuru, Raila to take part in presidential debates


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