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Kenyans Express Mixed Reactions On Raila’s Decision To Boycott Debate

Kenyans have expressed mixed reactions on the decision of Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya Presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s decision to boycott the presidential debate scheduled for today.

Those in support of Raila’s decision say that Raila is right to refuse to share a platform with somebody who has allegedly been hurling personal attacks on him.

Hoseah Hassan a youth leader says that the debate organisers also failed to address the issues he had raised.

Raila had apparently demanded that the debate must give priority to the issues affecting Kenyans like corruption, integrity among others.

“The ODM  party leader  is right  because  we can tell from the deputy  presidential candidates debate  that the  debate  was centered  on personality  and not issues  affecting  ordinary  Kenyans. Unless the organisers of the debate respond to the demands tabled by Raila, he should not attend the debate,” Hoseah argued.

Hoseah also noted that the 90 minutes time allocated for each candidate to articulate their manifestos exhaustively to Kenyans are relatively not sufficient for presidential office since the president handles matters in both national level and devolved units.

“Time is a factor that must  be considered  because, the president has 47 counties with different  issues, the national  government and the international  community  to deal  with  so giving   front line  president  candidate  90 minutes is not enough  to address  all matters  affecting  Kenyans  at two levels  of the government,” Hoseah added.

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On the flip side  Abel Gitonga, a voter in Kawangware has opposed the decision stating that just like  any other  formal  job interview, no candidate  should  pull out to from the debate  since it give Kenyans  a rare  opportunity  to interrogate  their  leaders before  voting for  them.

“There must be no excuse on the debate. This is a public interview and like a formal job. Kenyans need to make informed decisions based on manifestos well-articulated, so whoever deliberately refuses to attend should not get the job,” Gitonga said.

Even as  Kenyans gaze on the Raila’s  defiant announcement, The  Presidential debate  secretariat  led  by Clifford  Machoka had confirmed  that debate  will go on  as slated  for Tuesday 4pm-10m even  with some candidates issuing  boycott  threats. Among the presidential candidates expected to attend the debate are UDA’s Deputy President William Ruto, Roots Party George Luchiri Wajackoyah and Agano party’s David Waihiga Mwaore.

By Rodgers Oduor

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