Odinga snub hangs over Kenya presidential debate
It is not clear if Mr Waihiga and Mr Ruto will now be facing each other or standing alone answering questions
A planned presidential debate in Kenya ahead of elections next month is to go ahead on Tuesday evening despite two of the four candidates saying they will not attend, the organisers have said.
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, one of the two frontrunners, said on Sunday that he would skip it in favour of a parallel town hall forum.
He alleged his main rival, Deputy President William Ruto, had demanded that some issues, like corruption, be taken off the agenda.
Mr Ruto has confirmed his attendance, urging Mr Odinga to come along and mocking him for “running away”.
The debate was to be two-tiered, meaning Mr Odinga and Mr Ruto would face each other after George Wajackoyah and David Mwaure Waihiga - who have each scored less than 5% in opinion polls - had debated.
But Mr Wajackoyah, who has been campaigning on a platform to promote the production of marijuana in Kenya, said as he was not going to feature in the main debate, he would not attend.
It is not clear if Mr Waihiga and Mr Ruto will now be facing each other or standing alone answering questions.
The debate is being organised by a collection of media houses, and behind the scenes they are likely to be still trying to convince the two who have withdrawn to reconsider.
Should Mr Odinga decide to attend at the last minute, issues likely to be thrashed out are how to tackle corruption, debt and the rising cost of living.
Observers say the debate is not expected to have any significant sway on the voters either way, arguing that issues rarely decide how people vote - with the region the candidate is from being of more importance.