George Wajackoyah: I'm out of presidential debate

Roots Party Presidential Candidate Prof George Wajackoyah [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Roots Party presidential candidate George Wajackoyah has said he won’t participate in the presidential debate scheduled for later Tuesday, July 26.

Wajackoyah was scheduled to face off against David Mwaure of Agano Party in the first tier of the debate.

The session will be held at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) main campus in Nairobi, and will be moderated by Ken Mijungu of KTN News and Smriti Vidyarthi of NTV.

Wajackoyah and Mwaure were placed in the same pool due to opinion poll surveys that indicated they had an approval rating of below five per cent.

The moderators of the second tier of the debate – that has Deputy President William Ruto pooled against Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga – will be Eric Latiff of KTN News and Yvonne Okwara of Citizen Television.

Ruto and Odinga, opinion poll surveys show, enjoy a collective popularity rating of above 80 per cent.

Odinga has since said he’ll skip the debate, saying he can’t share a stage with a contestant whom he accuses of having questionable integrity.

Wajackoyah has also said he’ll give the debate a wide berth after the organisers said he won’t be placed on the same podium with Ruto and Odinga.

“We refuse to be counted as ‘others’ in this important democratic duty of seeking the presidency. We sent an official letter to the presidential debate team on July 21, and we are yet to receive official communication on how the concerns we raised (need to share a stage with Ruto and Raila) were addressed,” Wajackoyah said in a statement on Tuesday, July 26.

Wajackoyah’s spokesperson Wilson Muirani Gathoni, alias Jaymo Ule Msee, said the Roots Party presidential candidate will, however, attend the debate if he is allowed to share the stage with Ruto, Odinga and Mwaure.

“We would like to, however, state that our candidate (Wajackoyah) is available to share the same podium with all the three presidential candidates as we define our agenda to all Kenyans,” said Muirani.