Thursday February 11 2016

Three moderators confirmed for presidential debate

Straight Talk Africa host, Shaka Ssali.

Straight Talk Africa host, Shaka Ssali. Courtesy Photo 

By Othman Semakula

Retired journalist, Joel Kibazo and Makerere University don Suzie Muwanga will join Straight Talk Africa host, Shaka Ssali to moderate at the forthcoming debate due on February 13.

This was confirmed on Thursday in a press conference held in Kampala.

The trio is expected to preside over a debate that will majorly focus on peace and security, foreign relations, East African integration, the Great Lakes region and terrorism.

The debate, organised by the Inter Religious Council of Uganda and the Uganda Elders Forum, is a highly billed event that is expected to be viewed by millions across the globe.

Retired High Court Judge, James Ogoola said “he is optimistic of ratings of the second edition of debate”, promising it will be an extravaganza, which is likely to surpass the last one that “was a blast".

The previous, which could have been one of the most viewed activities across East Africa, trended worldwide. The #UGDebate16 hashtag trended more than any other and was only rivaled by #NewYorkValues hashtag on Twitter.

Joel Kibazo, who currently works as the AfDB director for communications and external relations, is a key addition considering his traversed experience in in journalism working as a writer at the Financial Times and presenter at BBC.

He has previously worked at the Commonwealth Secretariat as the director, communications and public affairs and is a founder member and chief executive officer at JK Associates, a public affairs and communications consultancy.

Suzie Muwanga is the current head of Makerere University department of Political Science and Public Administration.

Shaka Ssali, whose experience in media spans over three decades, is a Ugandan born American journalist hosting one of Africa’s Talk Show , Straight Talk Africa. It airs on Voice of America.

He holds a Doctorate in Cross Cultural Communication and history and has received several honors, including a United Nations Peacekeeping Special Achievement Award in International Journalism, VOA’s Best Journalist Award and Kigezi College Butobere’s first ever Highest Achievement Award in International Human Communication.

Shaka is an Old Boy of Butobere College located in Kabale, southwestern Uganda.

Seven candidates have already revised their schedules to allow them attend the debate; however, it is still unclear whether President Museveni will participate.

His handlers continue to send mixed signals with some confirming he will attend and others saying the President cannot participate debates, which previously he likened to primary school pupils activities.

The first leg of the debate was moderated by KTN’s Nancy Kacungira and Allan Kasujja of BBC Focus on Africa.