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Raila Odinga and Martha Karua agree to attend the 2022 Presidential Debates to be held in July

Azimio-One Kenya Alliance presidential candidate Raila Odinga and running mate Martha Karua during a joint media briefing in Nairobi on Tuesday 28 June 2022. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Azimio la Umoja One-Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua have agreed to attend the 2022 Presidential Debates that have been planned for July.

Raila, during an interview with journalists on Wednesday night, said his availability will depend on the preparations and availability of the other parties.

“I have agreed, but other people objected. I have participated before, so it will depend on the availability and preparations of other parties…but my commitment is that I’m always ready,” the Azimio presidential flag bearer said. 

His sentiments were echoed by Karua who when asked if she will show up replied: “I would love it.”

Plans for the 2022 Presidential Debates

The head of the 2022 Presidential Debate Steering Committee Secretariat, Mr Clifford Machoka says the debates will be held in July at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA).

He said the secretariat will meet on Friday July 1 to settle on the actual dates the debates will be held.

“We are yet to come up with the actual dates but what I can assure you is it will be towards the end of July,” Machoka told The Standard on phone.

He also dismissed claims that the Presidential Debates Secretariate had predetermined the outcome for the debates.

“Kenyans should expect diversity in the issues and questions that will be raised by the moderators. The debate will be fair, balanced and objective,” he noted.

Machoka said there will be three debates on three dates; The Nairobi Gubernatorial debate, the deputy president debate and the Presidential debate. 

The debate is organised by the Media Council of Kenya (MCK), Media Owners Association (MOA), the Kenya Editors Guild (KEG), and other stakeholders, including the church.

Raila’s conditional confirmation comes after Deputy President William Ruto threatened to skip the debate over what he termed “media bias”.

DP Ruto faulted the media for its failure to play its rightful role in cultivating a healthy, robust, and inclusive discourse. “We note the unequal allocation of coverage, compounded by biased framing and negative profiling of the Kenya Kwanza campaign and personalities affiliated to it.”

 “Our democracy depends on the media to make our political environment less divisive and less toxic. Under the current partisan media environment, we have advised our candidates against participating in the presidential debates,” Ruto said.

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