TV Owners Hit Out at Ruto For Withdrawing From Presidential Debate

  • Deputy President William Ruto (left) and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga (right) campaign in Nairobi and Nakuru respectively in January 2022
    Deputy President William Ruto (left) and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga (right) campaign in Nairobi and Nakuru respectively in January 2022
    Twitter
    DPPS/Raila Odinga
  • Stakeholders organising the Presidential Debates say they will continue with the event despite Deputy President William Ruto's withdrawal from the same.

    Media Owners Association, the Media Council of Kenya and the Kenya Editors’ Guild and other interested parties noted that Ruto and his team were involved in the planning since 2021. 

    All other presidential aspirants and various stakeholders were also involved in what the organisers say was a way to have every participant's expectations addressed.

    “We have taken note of the statement issued on June 2, by the WSR Presidential Campaign team advising their candidate against participating in the Presidential debates.

    Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga (left) and his running mate, Martha Karua (right) at a photoshoot in May 2022
    Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga (left) and his running mate, Martha Karua (right) at a photo shoot in May 2022
    Raila Odinga

    “Planning for the 2022 debates has been underway since 2021 and is currently at very advanced stages. In these consultations, we will continue to ensure the debates are as inclusive and representative as possible,” Clifford Machoka, the Head of the Presidential Debates Secretariat, stated in a press release to newsrooms dated Friday, June 3. 

    Machoka underlined that it is imperative for all parties to work together rather than threaten the process, a fabric of the nation. 

    “In this regard, the 2022 Kenya Presidential Debates will proceed in July 2022 and we will shortly announce the details on how Kenyans can participate.

    “The debates are critical to ensure the public interest obligations are served and that the debates embody the principles of fairness, integrity, independence and accountability as enshrined in the Presidential Debates Guidelines,” Machoka affirmed. 

    A panel of senior editors drawn from several media houses was also established to direct the debates. 

    Machoka also reassured the public that the debate will be fair and quality-based to assist Kenyans make informed decisions ahead of the August 9 polls. 

    Hussein Mohammed, the Director of Communications in William Samoei Ruto Presidential Campaign Secretariat, in a statement dated Thursday, June 2, announced that the DP and his allies will boycott the debates

    Deputy President William Ruto and Mathira Member of Parliament Rigathi Gachagua in Nyeri on Saturday, May 21, 2022.
    Deputy President William Ruto (right) and his running mate Rigathi Gachagua (left) in Nyeri on Saturday, May 21, 2022.
    DPPS

    Mohammed lamented that the leading media stations were biased in their coverage of the election. 

    He cited Citizen TV, Inooro TV, Inooro FM and The Daily Nation, claiming that they favoured Ruto’s rival, Azimio La Umoja presidential aspirant, Raila Odinga, in their coverages. 

    "We wish to highlight the notorious instance of runaway abuse of public bandwidth by Royal Media Services a licensee which has converted its platforms, especially Citizen TV, Inooro TV and Inooro Radio to official campaign mouthpieces of the Azimio La Umoja. The Daily Nation complements these abuses by becoming their print counterpart.

    "Under the current partisan media environment, we have advised our candidate against participating in the presidential debate," an excerpt of the statement read.

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