The Kenyan presidential candidate, Deputy President William Ruto, for the United Democratic Alliance, has defended his electoral program in a presidential debate that he attended alone, since his main opponent, former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, did not show up.
The debate has been held in the framework of the August 9 elections, in which Ruto will face his great rival, once an anti-establishment figure, who surprised analysts and Kenyans themselves by entering into an alliance with the country’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, in 2018.
Odinga chose Martha Karua as his electoral running mate for the presidential elections, while Ruto opted for Rigathi Gachagua, who was Kenyatta’s advisor between 2001 and 2006, as his vice-presidential candidate.
As part of the debate, Ruto has blamed the country’s huge indebtedness on President Uhuru Kenyatta and his partner, Raila Odinga, who has already said he would not participate in the event. “Our debt today is a challenge, we are living beyond our means, we must stop this wave of borrowing,” he said, as reported by ‘The Star’ newspaper.
He has also defended that part of his economic strategy is the reduction of taxes on imported fuel to ease the burden on Kenyan households. “Almost fifty percent of the cost of fuel in Kenya is taxes. I think it is time for us as a country to look at how else we can raise revenue,” he added.
“We do not need to wait to restructure our loan (…) We will introduce subsidies on other food products and reduce the payment according to your income by 50 percent,” he said, as reported by the newspaper ‘The Standard’.
Instead of the presidential debate, the former Kenyan Prime Minister and presidential candidate addressed his supporters at a campaign rally in Kianjai, where he said he cannot debate “with a thief and a liar”.
For his part, the fourth presidential candidate, George Wajackoyah, of the Roots Party, pointed out an unfair treatment and, therefore, excused himself from the meeting, according to different Kenyan local media.