Ruto's team warms up to Presidential Debate with 3 new demands

Should the demands not be met, Ruto has threatened to hold a parallel event to engage his supporters

File image of Dennis Itumbi with Deputy President William Ruto at a past event

Deputy President William Ruto’s team is warming up to his participation in The Presidential Debates, but has listed several demands to be met before the Kenya Kwanza presidential candidate can participate.

According to Digital Strategist Dennis Itumbi, media houses deemed to be biased and providing unfair coverage to the Kenya Kwanza outfit should not be allowed to produce moderators for the event.

Itumbi clearly explained the expectations from Ruto’s camp to a section of the press, noting that journalists working for particular media houses should not come anywhere close to hosting the debates.

“Royal Media Services stations led by Citizen TV, Kameme radio of Mediamax Network and Nation newspaper cannot produce a moderator,” Itumbi stated.

He noted that the previous position was taken by Ruto’s communications team in which he was advised to shun the debate still stands, adding that for now, Kenya Kwanza is demanding fair coverage.

“The update is as it is. We demand fair coverage. We are not asking to be favoured or to get special treatment, just fair coverage,” Itumbi added.

The digital strategist confirmed that should Ruto skip the debate, Kenya Kwanza will hold a parallel event that will be streamed live across various online platforms to engage with their supporters at a venue of their choice.

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

Ruto was advised by his Campaign secretariat to give the debates a wide berth should the leading media houses fail to reform their coverage of campaigns.

"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," read a section of the statement released by Hussein Mohammed, The Director of Communications in William Samoei Ruto Presidential Campaign Secretariat.

In response to the Kenya Kwanza statement, Presidential Debates Secretariat that organizes the debates reassured all parties of fairness.

“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,” read a statement by the head of the Secretariat, Clifford Machoka.

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