The Presidential Debate Secretariat issued a statement on Friday in response to the Kenya Kwanza Alliance presidential candidate William Ruto’s campaign team’s advice to withdraw from the 2022 presidential debate.

The head of the secretariat Clifford Machoka issued the statement on Friday saying it has noted Ruto’s campaign team’s move advising him against taking part in the debate.

“We have taken note of the statement issued on June 2, 2022, by the WSR Presidential Campaign team advising their candidate against participating in the Presidential debates,” the statement read.

The secretariat further underscored the importance of the debates saying they play a significant role in the ways Kenyans choose their leaders because the public gets to listen to the candidates and gauge their priorities before they decide on which one to support. 

“For a country that has so many diverse political voices, debates have become the place for clarity of priorities, public policies, ideas and other development aspects key to the Kenyan people,” the statement read in part.

“The debates play a significant role in the way we choose our leaders. During these debates, the public gets to listen to the candidates and gauge what their priorities could be once they assume office. In that way, they catalyse issue-based elections; provide an opportunity for candidates to debate, interact and engage; and enable Kenyans to make informed decisions.”

Furthermore, the secretariat confirmed that the debate will take place as earlier scheduled and discouraged participants from threatening the important process 

“Indeed, for us to take our country forward, it behooves us to work together rather than threaten processes that are important to the country, in this regard, the 2022 Kenya Presidential Debates will proceed in July 2022 and we will shortly announce the details on how Kenyans can participate,” the secretariat said.

The secretariat also said it is at an advanced stage in the debate's preparation and will continue to consult with stakeholders in order to ensure inclusivity.

The Presidential Debate Secretariat also assured the public and stakeholders that they will offer quality issue-based debates for them to make informed decisions.

“We reassure the public and stakeholders in the electoral process that we will give Kenyans quality issue-based Presidential and Deputy Presidential Debates that will enable their decision making and effective participation in this year's election,” 

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