Letter From Kireka: Presidential debate not good for Uganda
Posted Sunday, March 3 2013 at 02:00
After watching the second Kenyan presidential debate at the start of last week, our Kireka Bar turned to debating the possibility of such a debate in Uganda. The moderator was our chairman, Alfredo.
Alfredo: Guys, what is your take on this Kenyan debate? Should we think of one here come 2016?
Rusaniya (our waitress): Those Kenyans are taking this transparency thing too far. The other day, I saw them interview candidates for judges’ jobs in public. They even held a public interview of their Inspector General of Police. Who does such things in Africa?
Iculi: Imagine Gen. Kayihura appearing before the public to explain why he needs the IGP job. The A4C guys would have a field day. I think the Kenyans are suffering from Obamamania.
Alfredo: What do you mean by that?
Iculi: I think when their countryman Obama took over the American presidency, the Kenyans now feel compelled to behave like Americans. In America, even cleaners appear before a parliamentary committee before they are approved for jobs. Did you see how they made that Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel sweat like a common thief before a magistrate?
Musoga: I agree with Iculi. Even this presidential debate madness is American-driven. It is a pity that in the year of their Independence Jubilee, the Kenyans have gone back to full-time neo-colonialism. They need to stop aping America.
Alfredo: Guys, the question was whether we can think of a presidential debate in 2016.
Masaba: Stop day-dreaming Ndugu Alfredo. A debate would first of all mean there are issues to be articulated. The last time I saw an issue arise during elections was the debate on scrapping Graduated Tax in 2001. Since then, elections have been more about tear gas, rape and treason.
Araali: The problem would not even be the debate. I can imagine what cut someone would want to make out of such an exercise. The costs of the venue would probably be exaggerated by three or more times, someone might even claim they need to pay for oxygen to be inhaled in the debate room. To save taxpayers, I would propose that we don’t hold such a debate.
Rusaniya: But even why bother with a public debate? Ugandans debate every day, the critical thing is that they prefer to do it in bars and on Facebook. We prefer to make our opinions known in private than public. That is why someone like Iculi, when he leaves this bar, you might think he is mute.
Iculi: I protest vehemently against that accusation. I debate a lot of times, even at home. Problem is I never win a debate against my wife.
Alfredo: We are going off-track people. Masaba claimed there are no issues to debate. Is that true?
Araali: We have many issues. Whereas in Kenya the debate was about how much land Uhuru owns, here we might have to focus on how many head of cattle presidential candidates have. I see the debate even descending to issues of who has which concubines.
Masaba: And no debate is complete minus its comic relief. Adida gave it to the Kenyans, whom would we have here? It is at this point that I suggest Ken Lukyamuzi The Man throws his hat into the 2016 presidential ring. That would be an incentive to have a debate.
usoga: But surely, if we turned to issues, what would we debate? Our Kenyan friends were talking devolution, land and security. The only common point I see us sharing is corruption. I guess to debate that we might need a whole year. Presidential candidates would have to explain how someone who officially earns Shs500,000 a month spends close to Shs3 million in that same month and saves another Shs5 million for his housing project. These are things the world would love to hear and learn from us.
Rusaniya: But the Kenyan presidential debate was funny. Uhuru had such bloodshot eyes, Raila was hustling with words, Adida looked like he had run out of a theatre, the audience just had to be reminded that Mudavadi existed, Muite looked like he was running for school head prefect, Karua sounded like an advocate before a magistrate while Peter Kenneth could have passed for a lad sweet-talking a lass on their first date.
Alfredo: We have some hope though because currently, we actually have a presidential debate going on- but through letters. We can label it the presidential letter debate. By 2016, these letters could have helped break the ice such that the chaps can face-off on a stage. Let’s pray.