Canon Justice James Ogoola, while addressing the media

Canon Justice James Ogoola, while addressing the media

The Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU), has received confirmations from all the eight presidential candidates regarding their readiness and eagerness to participate in the debate, on 15th January 2016.

During a meeting held with all the eight presidential candidates’ campaign managers and agents yesterday, January 6th, at Protea Hotel Kampala, all the participants unanimously agreed that candidates have a lot to gain by personal appearance in the debates and much more to lose by non-appearance.

The consensus at the meeting was that every candidates would appear in person, they will respect the authority of the moderators and also honor the code of conduct of holding the debate. The code of conduct spells out the etiquette of civility during the presidential debate.

The Presidential debate which will be held at Serena Hotel, Kampala, will be moderated by Alan Kasujja of BBC and Nancy Kacungira of KTN. To support the two, we have put together a team of research experts who will ensure quantity and quality of background information required by the moderators in order to design and compile the deep and searching questions appropriate for a high level occasion.

IRCU and The Elders’ Forum of Uganda (TEFU), the partner organization with whom the debate is jointly being organized, are in consultation with another team of analysts from the academia, and professionals from civil society to provide a running commentary shortly before and after the debate regarding their perspectives on the nature, content, process and appearance of the debate generally.

Before the day of the debate, IRCU, TEFU and the candidates’ representatives will hold constant meetings to work out and agree among others the topics and sub topics of the first debate.

IRCU and TEFU are planning to hold another debate in the second week of February, shortly before the elections. The topics for first debate will concern themselves with the domestic economy, good governance, rule of law and social welfare.

Subsequently the next debate will tackle issues on peace and security, foreign/regional relations, East African integration, the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa, trade and commerce and cross boarder crime including terrorism.

The debate is expected to increase clarity on the manifestoes and visions as presented by the presidential candidates, increase the sense of national unity and peaceful coexistence, enlighten the electorate to focus more on key issues other than political handouts, increase a sense of tolerance, love and patriotism amongst the different candidates and also deepen democratic governance in Uganda.

Expected to attend the debate are Political parties and independents, Civil Society, Religious leaders, Electoral observers, Academia, Private sector, Ambassadors, Development partners, the UN family in Uganda, the East African Community, Cultural leaders  (Prime Ministers), Retired leaders (Prime Ministers, Speakers and other senior citizens, the Chair of the Electoral Commission and Commissioners.

Other guests expected to attend the debate are students from selected secondary schools, representatives from University Students’ Guilds, representatives of persons with disability, the business Community, women and youth representatives.

NTV Uganda has been identified and contracted as the official broadcaster for the 2016 presidential debate. However all media houses both print and digital will get a clean feed from NTV Uganda for free, and will air the debate live, as it happens.