Cover Letter on the Presidential Nomination
Cord and Jubilee in blame game as Uhuru skips debate
By PETER LEFTIE
Posted Wednesday, February 20 2013 at 16:57
The Jubilee and Cord presidential campaign teams Wednesday exchanged harsh words over deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta’s decision to withdraw from the second presidential debate.
The Cord team claimed Mr Kenyatta had pulled out of the second debate scheduled for Monday in order to avoid the controversial land question.
But the Jubilee team explained that Mr Kenyatta’s time would be better spent on the campaign trail instead of attending a "skewed, shambolic and farcical debate".
“With all due respect, we are of the opinion that with less than a fortnight to go before the polling day; our Candidate’s time can be better spent on the campaign trail rather than participating in a skewed, shambolic and farcical Second Debate,” read a statement from Mr Kenyatta’s team.
“Based on these facts, we want to make it clear that the Jubilee Presidential Candidate, Uhuru Kenyatta, will not be taking part in the second debate."
But in a swift reaction, the Cord team claimed Mr Kenyatta was afraid of addressing the land question which is among the topics to be addressed during the debate.
“We are aware that one of the questions for the debate is touching on land and we expect that any politician intending to govern this country must be ready to highlight on how they are going to tackle the issue of land if elected on the 4th of March this year,” said the statement signed by Lt. Gen John Koech and former MP Ochieng Mbeo on behalf of Cord coordination committee leaders Franklin Bett and Gideon Ndambuki.
“We are shocked that the Jubilee Alliance’s flag bearer Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta has persistently evaded the issue of land whenever questions are raised and we are not surprised at his withdrawal from the 2nd National Presidential Debate which is scheduled for next Monday,” the statement read.
“We know that he has always stated that if elected, he will address the issue of land, but we are asking how? We urge Mr Kenyatta not to shy away from this issue; after all it affects everyone in Kenya.”
Mr Kenyatta’s campaign team accused debate moderators of targeting their candidate especially on the cases before the International Criminal Court (ICC) while letting the other candidates get away with equally serious integrity questions.
“It was profoundly unprofessional and tasteless for Kaikai to use the ICC indictments as a platform for allowing the other candidates to ride roughshod over Uhuru without equally raising questions related to their suitability and competency,” the team stated, referring to the debate’s moderator, NTV’s Linus Kaikai.
“If Kaikai had genuine intentions of exposing the weaknesses of all the candidates in the debate, then he would have dredged into the shady past of candidates like the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Raila Odinga, Hon Peter Kenneth, Paul Muite, Hon Martha Karua and Hon Musalia Mudavadi, and former PS John ole Kiyiapi, all of whom are burdened by varying degrees of either graft allegations or issues of moral probity.”
“It is unclear why neither of the two moderators probed Odinga over his alleged role in several multi-billion shilling instances of grand corruption; most notably the Triton, Maize, and Kazi Kwa Vijana scandals that have blighted the Prime Minister’s Office for a number of years,” the team questioned.
The team wondered why Mr Odinga was not grilled on his alleged involvement in the abortive 1982 coup.
“In addition, the two moderators failed to put Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi on the spot for his alleged role in the complex Goldenberg Scandal when he served as Finance Minister,” they also questioned. The Goldenberg of Inquiry exonerated Mr Mudavadi of involvement in the scam.
The team further asked why Narc-Kenya’s Martha Karua and her Kenya National Congress (KNC) counterpart Peter Kenneth were not grilled on alleged scandals in the South Ngariama Ranch and the Kenya Football Federation (KFF) respectively.
“Peter Kenneth was not questioned on his suspected role in scandals involving the Kenya Re-Insurance Corporation and the Kenya Football Federation (KFF) when he was the head of the two institutions,” Mr Kenyatta’s team complained.