Kenyan media houses are facing millions in losses after presidential debate is put in limbo by candidates

Three big media houses stand to lose over $2.8 million should the planned debate fail to take place.

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Three media houses  face the possibility of losing millions of dollars in revenue if the Presidential Debate does not go on as planned.

The three, Royal Media Services, Nation Media Group and Standard Group risk losing over $2.8 million as it is now emerging that plans for the Presidential debate, scheduled for July 10 and 24, are falling apart.

There are already tell-tale signs that point to this with President Uhuru Kenyatta of Jubilee Party and National Super Alliance (NASA) Presidential candidate Raila Odinga pulling out of the debate citing lack of consultation.

The Debates Media Limited (DML), the organizers of the debate, are also engaged in a court battle with independent presidential candidate AbdubaDida; adding more pains to the hugely anticipated political event.

The Presidential Debate Organising Committee Chairman WachiraWaruru stated that the media houses stand to lose $1.9 million in advertising should the court prevent the debate from going on.

He also added that the Debate Media Ltd would lose a further $963,856 in cash investments.

And it is for such reasons that the media managers are said to be engaged in frantic talks in order to rescue the debate that attracts a huge audience locally and internationally.

Issues raised  

President Kenyatta, through the Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju, said that his party nor State House was contacted with regards to the debate.

“This debate is being organized through advertisements in the media by some people we do not know…. they have not contacted State House or the party. We do not know what the ground rules are and we won’t participate,” read part of Mr. Tuju’s statement.

NASA senior adviser Salim Lone said Mr Odinga would not participate in the debate under the current proposed format and stipulation.

On the other hand, Mr Abduba Dida wants the debate stopped on grounds of unfair categorization of the contenders for the top seat.

The debate seeks to feature two categories of candidates- those have already garnered over five per cent popularity in opinion polls and those who have not.

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