Presidential Debate: Ruto's Team Issues New Demands on Citizen TV

  • Deputy President William Ruto addresses traders in Embakasi East, Nairobi City County, on Friday, June 3, 2022
    Deputy President William Ruto addresses traders in Embakasi East, Nairobi City County, on Friday, June 3, 2022
    DPPS
  • Deputy President William Ruto’s team is reportedly open to attending the Presidential Debates but on condition that their new demands are met. 

    Digital Strategist Dennis Itumbi stated that the media houses they accused of bias and unfair coverage should first be barred from producing moderators for the debate. 

    “The update is as it is. We demand fair coverage,” Itumbi told Kenyans.co.ke

    “Royal Media Services stations led by Citizen TV, Kameme Radio of Mediamax Network and Nation Newspaper cannot produce a moderator,” Itumbi stated on Friday, June 3. 

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    Deputy President William Ruto (right) in an interview with anchor Joe Ageyo on Citizen TV on Thursday night, August 27, 2020
    File

    He added, however, that they will instead hold a parallel session, a live discussion with their followers at a designated venue. 

    “We are not asking to be favoured or to get special treatment, just fair coverage.

    “We reserve the right to decide where to appear,” he added on his pages. 

    However, Hussein Mohammed, the Director of Communications in William Samoei Ruto Presidential Campaign Secretariat, played coy with the update. 

    “I will get back to you on the matter,” his response to Kenyans.co.ke read. 

    In a statement dated Thursday, June 2, Hussein announced that they advised Ruto to boycott the debates unless the leading media stations reform their coverage of the election.

    "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. 

    From left: Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu and Azimio La Umoja presidential aspirant Raila Odinga at a rally in Embakasi, Nairobi on Thursday, June 2, 2022
    From left: Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu and Azimio La Umoja presidential aspirant Raila Odinga at a rally in Embakasi, Nairobi on Thursday, June 2, 2022
    Twitter
    Raila Odinga

    In their response, the Media Owners Association, the Media Council of Kenya and the Kenya Editors’ Guild stated that they will continue with the event as planned.

    “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. 

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

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