Raila To Skip Presidential Debate And Town Hall Conference

He has also confirmed that he won't attend the planned Town Hall conference in Jericho as well.

Raila To Skip Presidential Debate And Town Hall Conference
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga during the launch of the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party manifesto at Nyayo Stadium on June 6, 2022. /FILE

Azimio la Umoja coalition presidential candidate, Raila Odinga, will not attend the presidential debate on Tuesday, July 26.

He has also confirmed that he won't attend the planned Town Hall conference in Jericho in Nairobi as well, with the forum that had been scheduled for Tuesday pushed to a future date.

Speaking in Meru County during an Azimio rally, the former Prime Minister said he will not face 'thieves' at the highly-anticipated debate at the Catholic University of East Africa (CUEA) from 4 pm to 10 pm.

A look inside the auditorium of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) main campus in Karen, Nairobi ahead of the gubernatorial debate on July 11, 2022. /PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES KENYA

"I cannot debate against thieves. I have no need to talk to thieves, let us meet on the ballot," Raila said.

Raila Odinga's Campaign Spokesperson Prof Makau Mutua revealed on Sunday, July 24 that the demand by Deputy President William Ruto to leave out certain issues was against the purpose of the debate.

"That is why he has demanded that the debate not focus on corruption, ethics and governance. These are issues at the core of the Azimio campaign; any debate devoid of these questions will be an insult to the intelligence of Kenyans.

"We plan to take part in a televised town hall at Jericho Social Hall in Nairobi's Eastlands with ordinary Kenyans to offer our solutions to the challenges facing the country and common people," he stated.

However, the presidential debates secretariat  maintained that the debate will still take place.

It added that it had engaged the campaign teams of the presidential candidates participating in the debate and promised to make it as inclusive as possible to benefit Kenyans.

"We continue to engage all stakeholders, including the various presidential campaign teams. We are committed to making the debates as inclusive and representative as possible, for the benefit of the Kenyan people.

"In accordance with the presidential debate guidelines, we have shared the thematic areas with all the candidates and the moderators will endeavour to cover all the said topics within the set timeline," the secretariat stated in part.

Raila joins Roots party presidential candidate George Luchiri Wajackoyah in officially withdrawing from the debate.

However, Wajackoyah made a shock appearance at CUEA for the debate and maintained that he will not proceed to the podium unless all candidates show up.

"I am not attending the debate unless we are four," he told the media.

George Wajackoyah arrives at CUEA campus for the presidential debate. /FILE