The much-touted presidential running mates’ debate failed to live up to its billing when the main players did not turn up.
In the first tier of the first-ever running mates’ debate in the country, only Eliud Kariara, Japheth Kavinga’s presidential running mate showed up.
Kariara, a banker who described himself as ‘bold and courageous’, said he was appalled that all his five competitors failed to honour the invitation.
With all cameras from mainstream media houses beaming on him and two moderators facing him, the former University of Nairobi student walked in to get 60 minutes of free publicity.
He took to the podium at 6.17pm, close to two hours after the initial 5.30pm planned starting time.
Kariara highlighted food security, conducive business environment, the fight against corruption, and job creation as some of the issues Dr Kavinga would address should he be elected on August 8.
He accused the Jubilee administration of presiding over ‘runaway corruption’ while hitting at the opposition National Super Alliance of offering nothing new.
He said life had become more difficult under the Jubilee administration and that the only way to put Kenya back on track was by voting President Uhuru and his deputy, William Ruto, out next month.
He described his opponents in the race as “cowards who are not ready to account for their actions while in government”.
He said Kavinga’s administration would not engage in borrowing sprees but would, instead, collect more tax.
He added that Kavinga was in touch with what was happening in the country despite living abroad.
“A third of Kenya’s revenue, amounting to Sh700 billion, is lost to corruption. I ask Kenyans not to vote in any current leader who has questionable character and has been suspected of looting the public coffers,” he said.
Michael Wainaina (independent) and running mate Miriam Mutua and Dr Ekuru Aukot and running mate Emmanuel Nzai were locked out.
The leaders came late but had indicated in a Twitter post that they wanted to participate in the 8pm debate. DP Ruto and NASA presidential running mate Kalonzo Musyoka were scheduled to engage each other.
Security officers at Catholic University of East Africa, the venue of the event, were under strict instructions not to allow latecomers in.