Presidential debate called off over funds

Friday December 04 2020
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Uganda first held a presidential debate on January 15, 2016 at Kampala Serena Hotel

By Irene Abalo Otto

KAMPALA- The presidential debate, which was set to bring together all the candidates eyeing the country’s top seat in a live TV session, has been postponed.

The Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU), who are the debate organisers, cited lack of funds and the Covid-19 pandemic for the postponement.

“Due to unforeseen constraints, including limited resources and the Covid-19 pandemic situations, the convening organisations regret to inform the general public that the presidential and constituency debates are for now indefinitely postponed,” reads in part a November 30 letter from the IRCU chairperson, Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje.

Earlier schedule
The presidential debate was to be held in two rounds; the first was set for today and tomorrow, while the second was on January 2 and January 3, 2021. According to the organisers, similar debates were also expected to be conducted in a few selected constituencies for Members of Parliament.

Dr Maggie Kigozi, the spokesperson of National Dialogue, said they are disappointed by the postponement of the debate 

‘Missed opportunity’
“We miss an opportunity to hear important issues from the candidates away from just hearing the shouting, sloganeering and music. People who have the chance to air out real issues, not just politicking. It would give people an opportunity to question some issues of the economy, agriculture and many others,” Dr Kigozi said yesterday.

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“We do not even know some of the candidates. We only know the four who keep appearing in the media because of the chaos that is happening. We do not know the other six,” she added.

Uganda first held a presidential debate on January 15, 2016 at Kampala Serena Hotel.

The aim of the debate is to provide space for all presidential candidates to sell their agenda to all Ugandans, promote maturity and tolerance in the electoral process as well as violence-free elections.

iaotto@ug.nationmedia.com

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