Museveni, Besigye snub presidential debate
By DAVID KWALIMWA
Uganda’s first ever televised Presidential debate is in serious doubt, after two leading candidates in the country’s forthcoming general elections hinted they had pulled out.
The debate is slated for January 15 and is to be aired live on NTV Uganda. KTN news anchor Nancy Kacungira and BBC Newsday programme host Alan Kasujja, formerly of Kenya’s Capital FM radio, have been picked as the moderators of the debate from Kampala’s Serena Hotel.
Incumbent Yoweri Museveni, who is seeking to extend his three decade stay in power, has hinted he will not attend the debate. Instead, according to his communications, Museveni says he has planned to attend to his supporters in Bushenyi and Mitooma Districts on that particular day, the Observer, a leading newspaper in the country, has reported.
Following Museveni’s announcement on Saturday, Forum for Democratic Change presidential candidate Kizza Besigye announced he too will not participate in the debate because Museveni “who is key” in the debate isn’t attending.
Besigye has instead asked the organisers of the debate to reschedule the event to a date convenient to the President, indicating that he is “ever ready”.
All the eight presidential candidates cleared to contest in February’s general elections had been invited to this eagerly anticipated debate, which has been organized by the Inter Religious Council Uganda (IRCU), The Elders Forum Uganda (TEFU) and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The candidates include Museveni, Besigye , Amama Mbabazi, alongside Abed Bwanika, retired Major General Benon Biraaro, Prof Venansius Baryamureeba and Joseph Mabirizi.