By Kenya Today
Uhuru Kenyatta has bowed out of the second presidential debate, his campaign team is reported to have written to the Presidential Debate Steering Committee withdrawing his commitment to attend the forthcoming debate.
True to his character of shifting blame, Mr Kenyatta claims that the debate moderators allowed other candidates to escape public scrutiny over various scandals like Goldenberg that is associated with Musalia Mudavadi, the Kenya Re scandal that touches on Peter Kenneth, kazi kwa vijana scandal linked to Prime Ministerâ€™s office, Martha Karuaâ€™s unfortunate carjacking incident that occurred several years ago and the alleged Kshs 20 million bribe that Paul Muite received from Kamlesh Pattin in 1990â€™s.
In what could be shocking to many and perhaps an indication of Uhuruâ€™s ideology on crimes against humanity, the letter by his campaign team to the presidential debate steering committee asserts that the scandals touching on other presidential candidates are more prominent than the ICC issue (sic)
â€œIt is our observation that the moderators deliberately allowed the other candidates to escape public scrutiny over various national scandals that have characterized their political careers; a number of which are more prominent than the ICC issueâ€. Reads paragraph three of the confidential letter from the Uhuru Campaign to the presidential debate steering committee.
â€œWell, whereas Candidate Kenyatta is entitled to address his grievances to the presidential Debate Steering Committee on the alleged or imagined favoritism, but to say that the Maize scandal, Goldenberg, Martha Karuaâ€™s personal life and Paul Muiteâ€™s bribery case are prominent than murder of more than 1300 people, forceful eviction and displacement of more than 650,000 persons only serves to confirm that Mr Kenyatta is arrogant and feels no remorse for the PEV victims.â€ Nairobi based human rights lawyer who requested anonymity said.
â€œSuch a remark is unfortunate coming from an ICC indictee, he should show respect to the families who lost their loved ones and the IDPs still in camps. Besides that, those more than half a million Kenyans who lost property and investments worth millions most of which were acquired through savings over a life time also deserve some respect from someone who is alleged to be responsible for the atrocities they sufferedâ€ Nicholas Muthamia a Nairobi based political analyst said
â€œKenyatta is super arrogant to compare the alleged Maize scandal and Martha Karuaâ€™s alleged escapades to the loss of more 1300 lives and destruction of property and forceful eviction. It is as ridiculous as it is absurd and ludicrous! in mature democracies Kenyatta should have stepped down long time ago as the deputy prime minister and may be committed suicide as they commonly do in Japan, let alone anticipate to stand for the presidency of the country! The least we expect from him is to issue an emphatic apology to PEV victimsâ€. Said Isaack Njoroge a Nairobi based business man.
Reading further the annex of the letter to the Presidential Debate Steering Committee, Kenyatta seems to be setting the scene for the removal of Linus Kakai from moderating the 2nd debate if he must attend.
â€œKenyatta simply wants his choice most probably Jeff Koinange to join the pro jubilee Julie Gichuru in moderating. That is Uhuru for you, always looking for that which supports his cause and not the national interestâ€ Nephat Kinyua a media critic said.
However, if the interview he attended at Kiss TV last night is anything to go by, it would appear that any credible anchor worth his salt will not gloss over the compelling issue in these presidential campaigns; the ICC issue. It was described as the elephant in the room for a reason.
Here is the Letter from the Uhuru Campaign sent to the Presidential Debate Steering Committee.Â Judge for yourself!
Letter To: The Organizing Committee, The Presidential Debate 2013
We write to commend you on successfully orchestrating the first ever Presidential Debate held in Kenya.
The Debate was broadcast simultaneously on all the countryâ€™s Television and Radio channels and it will undoubtedly and rightly come to be viewed as a seminal event in Kenyaâ€™s history.
However, we wish to register our profound disappointment that there were numerous acts of omission and commission that affected the overall tenor of the debate, particularly the moderatorsâ€™ obsession with the ICC issue vis-Âa-Âvis Jubilee Presidential Candidate, Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta.
It is our observation that the moderators deliberately allowed the other candidates to escape public scrutiny over various national scandals that have characterized their political careers; a number of which are even more prominent that the ICC issue.
We would have expected that after the introduction of the so-Âcalled â€œelephant-Âin-Âthe-Âroomâ€ regarding Uhuru Kenyatta and the ICC; due focus would also have been given to equally sizeable jumbos (hard questions) touching on other candidates, including the Triton, Maize and Kazi kwa Vijana scandals involving Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
It did not escape the notice of impartial observers that when Senior Counsel Paul Muite introduced a new dimension to the ICC debate â€“ to the effect that Raila could not have escaped blame when his deputy William Ruto was being prosecuted over the same issues; moderators failed to pursue this angle further and instead they side stepped the issue entirely. Rather than putting Raila on his defense over his puzzling omission from ICC scrutiny, the moderators seemed predisposed to a set line of thinking in which they could not even entertain the idea that Raila Odinga had a case to answer regarding the ICC and Post Election Violence (PEV).
In a similar vein, it is profoundly curious that Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi was not probed over his alleged involvement in the complex multi-Âbillion-Âshilling Goldenberg Scandal despite his name featuring prominently in a number of Reports which were commissioned to investigate the scandal. It is equally surprising that the spotlight of scrutiny was not beamed on Kenya National Congress leader Peter Kenneth over his alleged financial improprieties while at the helm of both the KFF and Kenya-ÂRe.
Further, we respectfully submit that Martha Karuaâ€™s moral standing and self-Âdeclared commitment to family values should have been scrutinized and weighed against allegations of moral impropriety and of probity, all of which are in the public domain.
Safina candidate Paul Muite should not have been let off the hook without being pressed to give a convincing explanation over the scrupulously documented allegations of him having received a Sh20 million bribe from the architect of the Goldenberg scam, Kamlesh Pattni, in the 1990s; information brought into the public domain by Pattni himself and confirmed by a senior business associate of Muiteâ€™s at the time.
For fairness to have prevailed for all the presidential candidates, Restore and Build Kenya Presidential candidate Professor James ole Kiyiapi should have been put on his defense over the misappropriation of the Free Primary and Free Day Secondary Education funds during his tenure as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education.
Unfortunately, the moderators only chose to introduce the ICC â€œelephantâ€ and thereby created a stage upon which the other candidates could gang up and ruthlessly attack Uhuru Kenyatta as if they were themselves above both blame and suspicion. This was anything but a level playing field and smacked of favoritism, bias and victimization.
What followed was a total failure of moderating and fairness. The debate spun out of the moderatorsâ€™ control to the extent that the ICC issue consumed more than half-Âan-Âhour; while more pressing issues like Job Creation and the Economy received scant attention.
The obsession with the ICC matter took so much time of the debate that the moderators squandered an opportunity to interrogate the respective manifestoes and question the candidates on important aspects of those documents that are aimed at guiding the policies of the next government.
We are also concerned that, despite earlier agreements about the choice of pre-Âand post-Âdebate analysts, they were picked in total breach of trust in this matter, allowing an analyst openly, serially and acutely hostile to Kenyatta to form part of this important team as detailed below.
We have outlined some of the fundamental concerns in the memorandum attached to this cover that we feel necessitate an urgent meeting between the organising committee and ourselves; where we can explain the reasons why our candidate, Uhuru Kenyatta, will not be participating in the second round of the Presidential Debate scheduled for Monday, 25th February, 2013.
We are ready to meet with your team at the earliest time possible to discuss these issues. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Jubilee Presidential Campaign Team