The presidential running mates debate took place Monday evening (July 17) at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, with only one participant taking to the stage.
Eliud Muthiora Kariara, an independent running mate, had 90 minutes to himself in the event that was broadcast on major TV stations.
Kariara is Japhet Kavinga’s running mate for the August 8 general election.
Front runners William Ruto and Kalonzo Musyoka snubbed the debate, whereas five other running mates declined to debate during the 5:30pm slot, sending the internet abuzz.
Kariara now claims DP Ruto, who is President Uhuru Kenyatta’s running mate, and Kalonzo Musyoka, who is Raila Odinga’s running mate, “feared being put to the test on what they have done – and will do – for Kenyans if elected”.
“These leaders did not want to account, period. They don’t feel that they are answerable to the people, which is wrong. That kind of arrogance is what has seen Kenya sink into a situation where when the nurses go on strike, it takes days for it to be resolved because our leaders are too arrogant to talk to each other. That needs to change. Besides that, we know that the Jubilee government has not performed as it had promised in 2013. It has failed on its pledges,” Kariara told eDaily Wednesday, July 19.
“So, DP Ruto would have had a very difficult time in that debate trying to convince Kenyans, especially with a barrage of attacks from us about why they (Jubilee government) were not able to deliver. For Kalonzo Musyoka, it is straightforward: he has been in government since 1985; and has nothing to show for it. He has nothing new to offer Kenyans. Why would he show up for the debate?” posed Kariara.
“The two thought it would be smart to snub the debate. But when one has a job interview, he ought to show up. I am urging Kenyans, based on the snubbing of the debate by the two, to consider striking these people off the list of serious candidates in the August 8 general election.”
Deputy President William Ruto took to Twitter Sunday evening to reveal he won’t attend the Monday debate on grounds he was never consulted on the matter.
“I am surprised no one has engaged me on the debate. Courtesy demands that date, time, rules of engagement would have been made available,” DP Ruto stated in a tweet.
Kalonzo Musyoka, on the other hand, had flown out of the country on the date slated for the running mates debate.
In his appearance before the moderators, Fred Indimuli of Citizen TV and Sophia Wanuna of KTN, at the Catholic University, Kariara appealed to Kenyans to give him Japhet Kavinga a chance to govern the country, promising sweeping tax reforms if elected.
Kariara said their administration will focus on increasing tax collection by another 40 per cent, to further sustainable development in the nation.