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September 22, 2017

Raila is ready for debate, let Uhuru confirm stand – Lone

Nominated MP Oburu Oginga, NASA Presidential candidate Raila Odinga and Homa Bay woman rep Gladys Wanga during a NASA campaign rally in Kendu Bay yesterday /ROBERT OMOLLO
Nominated MP Oburu Oginga, NASA Presidential candidate Raila Odinga and Homa Bay woman rep Gladys Wanga during a NASA campaign rally in Kendu Bay yesterday /ROBERT OMOLLO
NASA Presidential candidate Raila Odinga is ready to engage President Uhuru in a debate and it is not too late for the President to agree to a debate, Raila’s personal adviser Salim Lone has said.
The President had opted out from the debate, as Jubilee Party vice chairman David Murathe said the organisers did not consult him.
Raila had also ducked the debate over the format, but has reconsidered his decision.
Yesterday, Raila told Uhuru to reconsider, confirming that the opposition is ready to participate in the debate once the President changes his mind.
“NASA is still ready to take part in the proposed debates as soon as Jubilee engages in agreeing on the ‘ground rules’ that President Kenyatta used as an excuse to duck,” Lone said in a statement.
The Presidential Debate Commission, which is organising the debates, has been engaging the candidates’ campaign team in the recent weeks to agree on the format and ground rules.
Jubilee is yet to confirm if its candidate will take part in the debate and by yesterday the party had not communicated to the organisers on what debate format would be acceptable to them.
The withdrawal of key candidates is threatening to paralyse both presidential and running mate debates for this year’s election.
Yesterday, the much-hyped Deputy Presidential debate was almost a flop after top candidates failed to turn up, accusing the organisers of not informing them.
The organisers denied the claims and went ahead with the debate, notwithstanding the conspicuous snub by key candidates.
“We are going ahead as planned and whoever shows up will be hosted and will debate. That is our approach,” organising committee chairman Wachira Waruru told the Star hours before the debate.
Both Deputy President William Ruto and NASA presidential running mate Kalonzo Musyoka gave the function at Catholic University of Eastern Africa a wide berth.
Whereas Ruto was engaged in campaigns at the Coast alongside Uhuru, Kalonzo is out of the country.
The two said they only learnt of the debates through the media.
“I am surprised no one has engaged me on the debate. Courtesy demands that date, time, rules of engagement, would have been made available,” Ruto tweeted.
Waruru, however, maintained that the organising committee reached out to the candidates and they were all aware of every step of the preparations.
“We wrote letters to all the candidates. The letters were received and signed for by their offices. We are surprised by that claim,” he said.
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