By Beth Nyaga
President Uhuru Kenyatta and National Super Alliance (NASA) Presidential candidate, Raila Odinga have opted out of this year’s presidential debate.
The two took issue with the format and structure of the debate also citing insufficient consultation by the conveners as a reason for their withdrawal.
According to Jubilee Party Vice Chairman, David Murathe, the decision follows what he termed as ‘lack of consultations’.
Odinga’s Senior advisor, Salim Lone, on his part said that Odinga will not participate in the presidential debate under the current proposed format and stipulation.
NASA Presidential Campaign Secretariat has, however, called on President Kenyatta to be open to engaging Odinga in a debate on issues affecting Kenyans.
This announcement came just moments after President Kenyatta announced that he will not be taking part in the debate
Independent presidential candidate, Ekuru Aukot, in a presser lashed out at President Kenyatta and NASA flag-bearer, Odinga, for what he terms as “an act of cowardice”.
Aukot laments that other presidential candidates in the 2017 State House race are saddened by their move, insisting that the debate was a good platform for all of them to sell their policies to Kenyans.
This comes even as Alliance for Real Change presidential candidate, Mohammed Abduba Dida, moved to court seeking to stop the presidential debates.
Dida says that the presidential debates guidelines are discriminatory, in bad faith and contrary to the Constitution of Kenya 2010.
In his petition, Dida says that it is in the interest of justice that all the presidential candidates be afforded same status as by law provided when they are outlining their visions for the country during the debates.
Among those expected are; Cyrus Jirongo of the United Democratic Party (UDP), Ekuru Aukot of Thirdway Alliance, Abduba Dida of the Alliance for Real Change (ARC), and Independent candidates Joseph Nyagah, Michael Wainaina and Japheth Kavinga.
The debate which was scheduled to take place on Monday the 10th may have been dealt a major blow with millions of shillings already spent in advertising and preparation of the debate.