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Anti-climax as running mates boycott debate

Seth Onyango and Anthony Mwangi @PeopleDailyKe

Seven of the eight deputy presidential nominees boycotted the much-hyped TV face-off to market their candidacy ahead of the August 8 polls.

Only Independent candidate Kaluyu Kavinga’s running mate Henry Mathiora faced the moderators and a nearly empty auditorium to outline their ticket’s agenda. Jubilee’s William Ruto and his Nasa counterpart Kalonzo Musyoka gave the debate a wide berth, disappointing Kenyans who had tuned in to watch the two square off on live television.

Ruto was campaigning in Lamu while Kalonzo was reportedly out of the country. Their decision not to participate in the debate was a killjoy to an event that cost millions to put together.

There was drama at the event after presidential candidates Michael Wainaina and Kavinga were turned away when they attempted to access the venue of the debate. It emerged that they had not been invited to the invite-only event.

Earlier, Jubilee and Nasa traded barbs over the decision by the flag-bearers President Uhuru Kenyatta and his rival Raila Odinga and their running mates to opt out of the presidential debate. Jubilee accused Nasa of being copycats.

Deputy President William Ruto’s spokesman David Mugonyi said Nasa’s moves confirmed that its political plan is basically “a cocktail of shoddy copycats tactics.” But Nasa took a swipe at President Uhuru Kenyatta for bowing out of the debate saying he did not want to be held accountable.

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