Only Uhuru, Raila to take part in presidential debates

The presidential debates before the August election will likely have only President Uhuru Kenyatta and NASA candidate Raila Odinga.
Those to be invited must command at least 5 per cent popular support in opinion polls, according to guidelines released by the organisers yesterday.
Only Uhuru and Raila so far command this support. The latest Ipsos poll released on May 30 puts Uhuru at 49 per cent and Raila at 42 per cent.
A poll by Radio Africa Group’s research department released on May 18 placed Uhuru at 49 per cent and Raila at 40. According to both polls, none of the other candidates had 5 per cent popularity.
“Candidates with less than 5 per cent popular support showing in opinion polls will take part in separate single debates to be conducted on the same dates,” the organisers said in a statement.
The debate is organised by Debates Media Ltd, a consortium of several Kenyan media houses.
It will stage two debates for presidential candidates and one for their running mates.
In the last General Election, the debate had eight candidates.
The organisers’ guidelines stipulate that each debate will run uninterrupted for 90 minutes at the Catholic University of East Africa in Nairobi.
The key thematic areas of the debates will be announced to the candidates at least one week prior so they can prepare adequately.
The respective presidential campaign teams will hold a consultative meeting with the Debate Secretariat 14 days before the debate on the rules of engagement, and respective invites sent to the candidates accordingly.
“Presidential campaign teams will be issued with information on the general areas to be covered by the debate, but the specific questions will not be disclosed,” the statement says.
The candidates have been advised to remain respectful, civil and cease insulting each other during the debate session.
“No candidate will be permitted to to use derogatory language in reference to his or her opponent or their contribution,” the organisers said.
Only moderators with vast and strong understanding of the country’s political landscape and critical issues of the presidential campaign will be selected.
They will be gauged on their impartiality, fairness and objectivity.
The events have been slated for July 10, 17 and 24.