Uganda’s 11 Presidential candidates have been given a chance for a joint platform to not only share their manifestos and visions but also address issues arising from the electorate.
This will be through two debates of four sessions organized by Inter-religious Council Uganda(IRCU), the Elders forum, Inter-party organization for dialogue(IPOD), the national consultative forum (NCF), and the Independent Electoral Commission.
“These debates will enable citizens to engage their prospective candidates on the vision and development processes they have for the country,” said IRCU Co-chair Bishop Joshua Lwere.
“The debate is also a step towards political maturity and tolerance in Uganda’s electoral process. It promotes issue-based politics and demonstrates tolerance” he added.
It’s the organizers wish that the debates also “achieve pacification and diffusion of tensions and violence in hot spots as well as getting for Uganda an informed and engaged electorate”.
Scheduled in two blocks with the first on 4 and 5 December 2020 and the other for 2 and 3 January 2021, these debates on the theme of ‘promoting a peaceful and inclusive 2021 General Elections’ are enabled by the United Nations Development Program.
At the pioneer debate in 2016, seasoned journalists including Shaka Ssali, Nancy Kacungira, Allan Kasujja, and academia Suzie Muwanga moderated the debates with many questions arising.
“What we have done is seeking applications for this year’s edition and the final list of moderators (whom they except to be eminent people) will first be forwarded to the candidates for certification” organizers have confirmed.
The Independent Electoral Commission will according to its spokesperson Paul Bukenya “play a supervisory and guidance role”.
The Ugandan public is already excited and waits for an engagement involving the incumbent Yoweri Museveni and lead opposition figure Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine of the National Unity Platform(NUP) Party with altercations between the two “reducing to family levels” lately.
Excellent presentations are also expected from the only lady Nancy Kalembe, the Democratic Party’s Norbert Mao, Mugisha Muntu of A.N.T, and Forum for Democratic Change candidate Patrick Oboi Amuriat who promised “not to wear shoes for 90 days” in protest of security forces’ injustices on nomination day that left him “barefooted”.
Others in contention are Joseph Kabuleta, Fred Mwesigye, Henry Tumukunde, Willy Mayambala, and John Katumba.
This time around the debates will be spiced by regional constituency debates to feature legislators and Mayors of select ‘hot’ areas in the country.
No questions will be shown to anyone in advance and candidates will each be allowed specific time for “answers and rebuttals”.
Uganda’ two-month campaign period ends on 12 January with Presidential and legislators polls expected on 14 January 2021.