For the first time ever in the history of the nation, we are making plans to host a presidential debate, in preparation for the forth-coming 2016 General Elections.
This noble effort is being undertaken jointly by the Elders’ Forum of Uganda (TEFU) and the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU), working in close collaboration with the Uganda Media Council, all under the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The debate is to involve all the eight presidential candidates who are busy now crisscrossing the country looking for votes. The debate will take place on 15th January, just before casting the ballot on February 18th, 2016.
The debate will take place at a neutral venue, at the Kampala Serena Hotel, for two hours. We plan for high quality television production, moderated by a high caliber team of highly qualified media professionals. The aim is to match the quality of the presentation to the quality of the event, and of the candidates involved.
The debate will offer a one-of a kind platform for; the candidates to articulate their vision for the country, for the candidates to interrogate each other on their respective plans and promises for the future; and for the people to understand and question the critical matters of the respective Electoral manifestos of the candidates.
In this way, the presidential debate will fill in the gaps that cannot be filled in the drama and hype of the ordinary political rallies, in which the general public is treated by each candidate appearing alone to the benefit of the candidates. At each rally, the elections are treated to a one-sided show, attended largely by the candidates’ own supporters.
The debate will represent a most powerful statement attesting to the level of democracy to which our country so badly aspires. The event and the content of the discourse will aim to bring to the discussion table a variety of issues that are fundamental in their content, comprehensive in their reach, deep in their analysis and dear to the life of the nation.
The Inter-party debate that we organized for the FDC party election, in September 2015, was but a prelude to the presidential debate that we envisage for January 2016. None the less, the September FDC debate has taught us many valuable lessons for staging the forth coming debate.
We wish to thank in advance all the army of persons that are and will be engaged in the preparations for the event of the presidential debate. In particular, we wish to single out for mention all the eight candidates for their readiness, eagerness to come to the debate.
In doing so, they have planted a seed of democracy that will in the fullness of time germinate and grow into the ideas and values of a mature democracy in the country. These truly are the building bricks of what will become a new Uganda constructed on the firm foundation of a free and informed choice of we the people.
For God and My Country!
Hon. Justice James Ogoola
The Elders’ Forum of Uganda (TEFU)