Debate Media, one of the organisers of the presidential debates for this year’s General Election, has said it stands to lose Sh200 million in advertising should the court prevent the discussions from taking place.
Through its director Wachira Waruru, the company said it further stands to lose Sh100 million investment in cash.
Responding to a petition by Alliance for Real Change presidential candidate Mohamed Abduba Dida, Mr Waruru said granting interim orders to stop the debates would prejudice Kenyans.
Mr Dida has sued DML and the Media Council of Kenya, seeking to stop two presidential debates planned for July 10 and 24.
He wants the debates halted as they will feature two categories of candidates: those who have garnered at least five per cent popularity as per opinion polls and those who have not.
Mr Waruru, also the chairman of DML Steering Committee of Presidential Debates, said Mr Dida will not be prejudiced as no determination has been made as to which part of the debate he will participate in.
He said the petition does not disclose any case of the violations of Mr Dida’s rights as alleged. He said Mr Dida sought to obtain orders ex parte without making full disclosure of all facts.
“The petitioner failed to disclose to this court that the Presidential Debate Guidelines which he is challenging were released on June 9 and published (in newspapers and also broadcast),” Mr Waruru said.
He said DML formed the steering committee last year to determine and organise debates to be held between candidates for the office of President.
“One of the matters the steering committee was tasked with was developing the terms upon which such debates would be held,” Mr Waruru said.
He said several factors informed the decision to develop pre-established objective selection criteria, such as organisational challenges involved in having multiple candidates on the podium at the same time.
Mr Dida also wants a declaration that all presidential candidates are equal with regard to articulating their manifestos at and during such public debates.
The case will be mentioned on Wednesday.