Azimio, Ruto allies disagree on Karua, Gachagua face-off
The deputy presidential running-mate debate pitting Azimio-One Kenya’s Martha Karua and United Democratic Alliance’s Rigathi Gachagua has elicited mixed reactions with leaders differing as to whether the contest achieved its intended purpose.
While some leaders affiliated to Azimio commended their candidate’s performance during the Tuesday debate, some expressed reservations over the debate, saying it failed to focus on issues while those supporting UDA praised both the candidate and debate, noting that it met Kenyans expectations.
Although both UDA presidential candidate William Ruto and his Azimio counterpart Raila Odinga commended their running-mates for exemplary performance, their lieutenants differed on how the whole event was organised and the questions posed.
Ruto led his brigade in congratulating Gachagua, who used the debate to fight off corruption allegations levelled against him.
In a message posted on his official Twitter account, Ruto described Rigathi as a seasoned, passionate and focused leader.
“Congratulations Rigathi Gachagua, my very able running-mate. Kenyans are confident that in you we have a seasoned, passionate and focused leader to help us steer Kenya Kwanza to victory and the nation to prosperity. We thank almighty God na ubarikiwe sana. Never mind the media,” Ruto posted.
Raila on the other hand lauded Karua, saying her composure, even under provocation, was impressive.
“Your poise, mastery of subject matters and staying calm even when provoked were impressive. I congratulate my able deputy and team member @Martha Karua. The Azimio family stands proud of your performance during the debate,” Raila posted in his Twitter account.
But Raila’s stalwarts including Governors Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu), Charity Ngilu (Kitui), Kieni MP Kanini Kega, spokesperson of Raila Presidential Campaign Secretariat Makau Mutua, and ODM leader’s spokesperson Dennis Onyango although congratulating Karua for her performance, raised questions regarding the organisation of the debate.
Onyango, in a number of tweets, claimed the debate was “a waste of time” and hinted that Raila might re-consider appearing for the contest should the situation remain the same.
“A failed debate, a waste of precious candidate time @mediacouncil Kenya. Very shoddy, very showbiz. Very lacking in substance, if this is it, do not be too sure’, wrote Onyango.
In another tweet, he took to UDA saying: “UDA position was that they wouldn’t participate because the media are biased. Why did @Rigathi show up? Was this part of the culture of deceit and allies of @WilliamsRuto? How come nobody asked this question @mediacouncilk? How deep is this conspiracy in @Mediacouncilk?”
Ngilu congratulated Karua, saying she tackled and addressed issues that faced majority of Kenyans and remained still despite being provoked.
“Congratulations madam DP designate @Marthakaru on an outstanding performance at the debate. You articulated and tackled the real issues with composure and poise while debating a fellow who was dispatched to quarreling President Uhuru Kenyatta,” she said.
Nyong’o described Karua as an “Iron Lady” who spoke her mind, making her opponent look belligerent and defensive while Mutua told off Gachagua, saying the summary of the whole debate was substance versus hot air, intelligence versus blaster.
Ruto’s lieutenants on the other hand, including Kirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguru, prominent lawyer Ahmednassir Abdullahi and former Foreign Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary Ababu Namwamba while congratulating Gachugua for his performance, told Raila to prepare himself for the presidential debate scheduled to take place next week.
Ahmednassir told Raila to skip Tuesday presidential debate following the performance of Gachagua, which he said was more than excellent.
Namwamba hailed Gachagua’s performance, saying he was real and articulated issues affecting the common person.
“People’s hero, he is real. He got his finger on the pulse of the nation and the public is unanimous that Gachagua it is, freedom is coming, “ he said.