Ruto threatens to skip presidential debate

Deputy President William Ruto. [Boniface Okendo, Standard] 

Deputy President William Ruto has warned he will skip the presidential debate “over media bias”.

Ruto said he had noted with concern continued bias and propaganda in a section of the media.

The deputy president said he expects the media to play its rightful role in cultivating a healthy, robust and inclusive discourse.

“Our democracy depends on the media to make our political environment less divisive and less toxic.

“Under the current partisan media environment, we have advised our candidates against participating in the presidential debates.

“We note the unequal allocation of coverage, compounded by biased framing and negative profiling of the Kenya Kwanza campaign and personalities affiliated to it, said Ruto.

Ruto said that while the media’s actions remain inconsequential to enlightened people, there must be fair play “as a matter of a right as well as professional decency”.

Politics, he said, was a matter of public interest and its coverage, according to the Media Council Act (2013), had to be done fairly and accurately, and with all sides of the story being reported.

“We wish to highlight the notorious instance of runaway abuse of public bandwidth...” read the statement

On Sunday, the presidential debates media partners and stakeholders said the event would take place in July and appointed Clifford Machoka as the head of the presidential debate secretariat to be assisted by Kenya Editors Guild CEO Rosalia Omungo and Leo Mutisya of the Media Council of Kenya. 

Meanwhile, Ruto yesterday toured Makueni where he met different business communities at an economic forum in Wote.

Locals aired their grievances with water problems topping the list.

The DP promised to deal with the perennial water issue facing Ukambani.

 2017 presidential debate set. [File, Standard]

At the same time, the DP said corruption posed a threat to the development of the country.

He said his government would build the capacity of the different government institutions.

“We will give more funding to the criminal justice system to ensure they do not bend the law.

“The fight against corruption has been lost because the fight has been reduced and criminal justice has been weaponised to fight political opponents,” said Ruto

Ruto at the same time accused some civil servants of being used to peddle propaganda against his Kenya Kwanza brigade.

He disputed claims that Azimio was ahead of Kenya Kwanza

“I want to tell the people of Kenya to treat with contempt reports that our competitors are ahead of us. I am the second in command, and I got the report ahead of them, and the real report is that we are ahead by 8 per cent.

He told civil servants involved in politics to quit public offices.

“These people have refused to help the president advance the Big 4 agenda and instead they are doing nothing,” he added

Moses Wetang’ula criticised Karanja Kibicho’s recent remarks.

“Any data in that office is made for these Kenyans and its not your property to use it the way you want,” said Wetangula

Wetang’ula said Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka’s political future was bleak after he rejoined Azimio.

Musalia Mudavadi said Kenyans were the ones with the silver bullet.

“Uhuru Kenyatta has no silver bullet.”