Raila withdraws from Presidential Debate, explains his reasons

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party presidential candidate Raila Odinga has officially withdrawn from the Presidential Debate.

Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga during campaigns in Murang'a County on July 23, 2022

This was communicated in a statement released by the Spokesperson of the Raila Odinga Presidential Campaign Secretariat, Prof. Makau Mutua who confirmed that the Azimio flagbearer will not attend the Presidential Debate scheduled for July 26.

Explaining the move, Makau noted that it would be meaningless for Odinga to take part in the debate if key issues of national concern are to be left out as per the request of Kenya Kwanza’s William Ruto.

"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," Mutua said.

According to him, having Raila participate in the debate would amount to campaigning for his competitor, William Ruto.

"It would be a colossal mistake to reward such a person with a national debate. We will not assist his failing campaign; he can explain himself and his poor record to voters without our help.

"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," the statement read in part.

Ahead of the much-awaited presidential debate clash, Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party had tabled one demand and threatened to give the debate a wide berth should organizers fail to comply.

Azimio cautioned that the debate should not be used as a forum for Ruto to ‘insult’ President Uhuru Kenyatta and urged the former Prime Minister to snub the event if it will amount to 'sideshows' instead of tackling important issues affecting voters.

“Odinga will only participate in the debate if it focuses on integrity, corruption and governance. Anything short of that will see the former Prime Minister fail to attend.

“Some people are saying that we have a debate between William Ruto and Baba, is that even possible? Baba will attend the debate, this is my personal opinion and not that of Baba, if three issues will be discussed: integrity, corruption and governance. If there is going to be other issues, we want to send Embakasi East MP Babu Owino to debate with William Ruto,” Azimio secretary general Junet Mohammed explained during a campaign rally in Kitale.

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