Uhuru to hold live Town Hall meeting instead of debate

President Uhuru Kenyatta is planning to engage Kenyans in a major televised town hall meeting to wrap up his campaigns, the Star has established.

According to insiders in Jubilee Party and around the Presidency, the President will use this as a substitute for the debate organised by some media owners and which he has refused to attend.

The date and venue are yet to be confirmed but sources in Uhuru’s campaign have told the Star that the President wants to engage Kenyans directly.

“We President is not interested in a competition of words with his competitors. He wants to answer questions directly like he did at the Jubilee Party manifesto launch,” a highly place JP source said.

The plan has been a guarded secret and only a few individuals around Uhuru have been exposed to the strategy being run at the highest level of the presidential campaign.

The Star has been told the party will pay for three hours of airtime where the President with the help of his deputy William Ruto will answer questions from the audience.

“Other than the questions from the audience, the two Jubilee chiefs will also take questions to be sent through an SMS platforms and others sent via social media platforms,” another source within the Presidency said.

Insiders have revealed that other than the Presidency having been involved in the planning of the debates by media owners, Uhuru feels he needs time to explain things to Kenyans directly.

Uhuru was scheduled to face off with ODM presidential candidate Raila Odinga on July 24 but his party, as well as the Presidency, has said he will not attend.

Ruto failed to show up for the running-mates debate which was held on Monday night giving a clear indication that Uhuru would also give it a wide berth.

In a statement, Ruto’s spokesman David Mugonyi said that there has been no consultation to agree on ground rules such as date of debate, dos and don’ts of what is expected of participants.

“There has been no engagement other than an invitation letter that was sent to the Deputy President end of last week. Same issues came up in 2013 and the organizers said they will rectify such hiccups,” Mugonyi said.

He added; “We fear no debate. We have made ourselves available to the media before and we will continue to. We can debate all and sundry, including all the so-called Nasa principals at one go.”

Another Communication Director in the Presidency, Dennis Itumbi was categorical that the President was not interested in the debate.

Itumbi said that the President and his deputy were more interested in engaging Kenyans physically across the country.

“Engaging Kenyans in their homes, their markets and place of work is very effective. From Chesongos to Kachapin and every village of Kenya,” Itumbi said.

He added; “The President will not attend the debate on 24th. He will be engaging the people of Kenya directly at their homes and markets.”

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