Martha Karua walks out of presidential debate

Nairobi, Kenya: Narc Kenya presidential candidate Martha Karua on Wednesday protested the presence of Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka in a presidential debate organised by COTU.

Karua criticized the move to invite Kalonzo to the debate and even walked out as the VP rose to the podium to speak, at the forum held at the Laico Regency hotel and moderated by the Central Organisation of Trade Unions.

The Narc Kenya leader’s face appeared irritated immediately Kalonzo arrived and was seen asking the VP not to take a chair among the presidential candidates and instead sit in the audience. Karua was pointing at the audience where her running mate Augustine Lotodo was seated where he told Kalonzo to sit, but the VP proceeded to sit at the chair that was reserved for Cord.

She then demanded that Lotodo also sit next to the VP, at which her number two rose from the audience and joined the front table. And it didn’t end there, as Karua made her unease known when she rose to speak choosing to start her introductory remarks by expressing disappointment with the organizers.

“When you invite a presidential candidate it should only be presidential candidates and not running mates. If you want to hold a session for running mates, you can do so as a matter of equity and courtesy,” she said adding; “That’s why I have asked my running mate to sit next to the Cord running mate. No offence.”

However, moderators of the forum defended the decision to allow the VP address the forum saying they took cognizance of the powers for a president to delegate to his running mate saying Kalonzo’s presence was legitimate.

After delivering her speech, the former Gichugu MP sat through as her other rivals Paul Muite, James ole Kiyiapi and Mohamed Abduba Dida spoke but immediately and walked out as soon as Kalonzo was invited to address the forum.

She walked straight to the hotel lobby with Lotodo and her security in tow and later refused to comment when we sought to interview her about the incident.

Cotu had convened the meeting where presidential candidates were to outline their plans to create jobs and grow the economy if elected on March 4.

Uhuru, Kenneth absent

Jubilee presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and his Eagle alliance counterpart Peter Kenneth did not show up.  COTU secretary general Francis Atwoli explained that he had invited Uhuru who had personally confirmed attendance having spoken to him Tuesday evening.

Atwoli, however, said Uhuru may have been held in the busy campaign schedule. The DPM was campaigning in Baringo County.

During the session, Abduba Dida once again provided a comical relieve as he chided Kenyans suffering from cancer for having to travel to Europe to seek therapy when there is a local cure.

“I am telling these ministers who go to Germany, Britain to look for cancer medicine that you need to go to North Eastern and Eastern to get medicine. Just take camel milk or camel urine and you will be treated,” he said.

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