Presidential debate in jeopardy as Dida and group threaten to pull out

Dida and other less than five percenters want to argue their points together with Uhuru, Raila.

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Abduba Dida
Mohammed Abduba Dida. PHOTO: MONICAH MWANGI/THE STAR

Six candidates have on Sunday, July 16, said they will not participate in the presidential debates if organisers pursue a two-group approach that excludes them.

The six are scheduled to hold their debate minus the two front runners of the August 8 elections; President Uhuru Kenyatta and National Super Alliance (NASA) Chief Raila Odinga.

uhuru-kenyatta raila odinga
President Uhuru Kenyatta and NASA leader Raila Odinga. Both pulled out of the presidential debate. PHOTO: PSCU

“Should you still be committed to this discriminatory approach, the candidates and their running mates will have no option but not to participate,” they said.

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Through a letter seen by Zipo.co.ke, the candidates maintained it would be unconstitutional and illegal for the organisers to hold such the process as currently outlined.

“All presidential candidates and their running mates are equal before the law and the constitution.” The letter said.

Adding: “We confirm our commitment to the debate but without any shade of discrimination,” the letter read.

The letter that was addressed to the Debates Media Limited  was signed by the candidates and their running mates.

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The six are; Independents Michael Wainaina, Cyrus Njirongo, Japheth Kavinga, Joe Nyaga, and Ekuru Aukot (Thirdway Alliance) as well as Abduba Dida (Alliance for Real Change).

Both Uhuru and Raila have already pulled out of the debate citing lack of consultation and a contentious structure.

The first debate was slated for July 10 while running mates were to face off on July 17. The final presidential debate was to be held on July 24.

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The July 10 one was postponed following the conditions set by the candidates.

The orgarnisers grouped candidates according to their popularity with those having more than five percent national support pooled together while those with below five per cent will take part in a separate debate on the same day.