PIC: Students preparing for a debate session. (Credit: Paul Watala)
MBALE - The New Vision has been commended for spearheading the fight against human rights abuse in the country.
Mbale Senior Secondary peace and debate clubs commended the New Vision on Wednesday during a two-day secondary school debate competition held at Green Gardens Hotel in Mbale town.
The debate competition, organised by Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), was held under the theme, respect for human rights is a precondition for development in Uganda.
Over seven schools took part in the heated debate and most of the participants were citing articles written by the New Vision, mostly the Saturday and Sunday vision.
"Let me take this chance to commend media in Uganda, but mainly Saturday and Sunday Vision for exposing human rights abuse cases happening to children and women, " Brain Mooli, a student from Mbale Secondary School, said.
Mooli said Government refusing journalists to access certain places and locking them up in confined places over their articles was denying the public the right to information.
However, the one of the judges, Caroline Muyama, a teacher from Manafwa High School, noted that the spirit of debating in schools was going down, adding that school administrators regard debating a waste of time.
"Our school administrators and proprietors only focus results. If this trend continues, we are going to have poor debaters in the country in future," Muyama said.
Muyama noted that good leaders in any positions have at one time been debaters in schools before, adding that good debaters have constructive arguments that are backed by facts and research.
Mbale district education officer Michael Nangosha, who was the chief guest, recommended UHRC for engaging students in debates that focus on human rights, saying that it was paramount for them to understand their rights while still in school.
Nangosha also commended the media for being brave enough to expose the human rights abusers despite the conditions they work in.
Sarah Nabumista, the eastern region UHRC manager, said secondary school debating is aimed at producing good speakers in future, adding that it is also to ensure that young people understand their rights at tender age.