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6 Candidates threaten to pull out of TV presidential debate

IEBC Selection Panel chairman Ekuru Aukot

The first debate is set for Monday/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 16 – Six presidential candidates have threatened to pull out of the TV debate terming the process set to kick off this Monday discriminatory.

In a statement, the candidates including Thirdway Alliance flag bearer Ekuru Aukot and independent candidates Michael Wainaina and Japheth Kaluyu said they cannot take part in a debate where they have been divided into two groups (two tiers).

“Further to our previous communications on the above-referenced matter, you are yet to clarify to us that you are not pursuing two tier presidential debates,” reads an official statement.

“Should you, therefore, be still committed to this discriminatory approach, the undersigned being duly cleared presidential candidates and their running mates will have no option but not to participate in what is a clearly unconstitutional, illegal and discriminatory process,” the statement continued.

The dispute started when organisers decided to have two-time slots for the debates. One would pit the main contenders – President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga against each other, while the other presidential candidates would have the other time slot.

The first presidential debate slated for July 10 was called off after President Kenyatta and NASA Presidential Candidate Odinga protested against the format adding that they had not been involved by the organisers.

Uncertainty is also looming over Monday’s running mates debate following the failure of Deputy President William Ruto and NASA’s running mate candidate Kalonzo Musyoka to confirm their participation.

The final presidential debate is scheduled for July 24.

The Catholic University of Eastern Africa was to play host to the media debates.

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