“The 2022 Kenya presidential debates will proceed in July 2022 and we will shortly announce the details on how Kenyans can participate,” Clifford Machoka – Head of Presidential Debates Secretariat
Machoka was responding to Deputy President William Ruto’s withdrawal from the planned Presidential 2022 debates.
In a statement, Machoka said that despite Ruto’s withdrawal, the presidential and deputy presidential debates would go on as planned.
“We have taken note of the statement issued on June 2, 2022 by the WSR Presidential Campaign team advising their candidate against participating in the Presidential debates.
The Kenya Presidential and Deputy Presidential Debates is jointly organised by Media Owners Association, the Media Council of Kenya and the Kenya Editors’ Guild among various other stakeholders in the electoral process. Debates for presidential candidates have become a tradition of Kenya’s democracy and a regularity in our electoral cycles. The guidelines governing the debates were developed in 2017, tested and validated through various processes, and remain a public document.” He said.
The Head of Presidential Debates Secretariat also added that planning for the 2022 debates has been underway since 2021 and is currently at very advanced stages.
“For a country that has so many diverse political voices, the debates play a significant role in the way we choose our leaders. During these debates, the public gets to listen to the candidates and gauge what their priorities could be once they assume office.” The statement read.
On Thursday, Director of Communications at Deputy President William Ruto’s campaign Hussein Mohammed said that Ruto would not participate in the debates over what he termed as biased reporting from a section of media houses.
“We have noted with much concern the repeated and continued bias and propaganda in a section of Kenya’s mainstream media in abuse of statutory terms of license and violations of constitutional freedoms.” Hussein said in a statement.
The organisers of the event have reiterated that they will provide an opportunity for candidates to debate, interact and engage; and enable Kenyans to make informed decisions.
“We have involved various stakeholders, including presidential aspirants – including the WSR Presidential Campaign – to map their expectations. In these consultations, we will continue to ensure the debates are as inclusive and representative as possible,” Clifford said.
The team will also announce the details on how Kenyans can participate in the debates to ensure the public interest obligations are served and that the debates embody the principles of fairness, integrity, independence and accountability as enshrined in the Presidential Debates Guidelines.