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October 23, 2017

Tough rules limit presidential debates to Uhuru, Raila only

A file photo of NASA flag bearer Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta.
A file photo of NASA flag bearer Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Presidential debates for the August election are likely to be for just President Uhuru Kenyatta and NASA candidate Raila Odinga.

Those to be invited must command at least five per cent per cent popular support in opinion polls, according to guidelines released by organisers on Thursday.

Only Uhuru and Raila command this support. They are among eight presidential candidates who received clearance from the IEBC for the general election taking place on August 8.

Read: Uhuru, Raila and Dida among 8 presidential nominees on IEBC shortlist

The latest Ipsos poll, released on May 30, puts Uhuru at 49 per cent and Raila at 42 per cent.

A poll by Radio Africa Group's research department released on May 18 placed Uhuru at 49 per cent and Raila at 40 per cent.

According to both polls, none of the other candidates managed five per cent support.

"Candidates will less that five per cent popular support in opinion polls will take part in separate single pool debates to be conducted on the same dates," the organisers said in a statement.

A survey by African Electoral Observation Group found Uhuru would be re-elected with 51 per cent of votes if the general elections were held today.

"The August election is almost decided with 51.7 per cent voting for Uhuru and 39 per cent voting for Raila Odinga," reads the survey released 60 days to the 2017 general election.

More on this: Uhuru will win election by 51.7% votes against Raila's 39% - survey

The debate is organised by Debates Media, a consortium of several Kenyan media houses. It will stage two debates for presidential candidates and one for their running mates.

In the last general election, the debate had eight candidates.

Read: Kenya presidential debates set for July 10, 24 as D-Day nears

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