Friday,August 14,2020 16:29 PM

As it happened: Presidential debate II

By Joseph Kizza

Added 13th February 2016 12:35 PM

All the presidential candidates took part in a televised debate on Saturday.

As it happened: Presidential debate II

The candidates joined hands in prayer. (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)

All the presidential candidates took part in a televised debate on Saturday.


Presidential Debate II

The second televised presidential debate took place on Saturday at Serena, with all the eight candidates involved.





redit odfrey imono (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)





QUESTION TO ALL: What is the single most important and single most regrettable decision you have made in your public life?

BWANIKA: [Important] When I gave up my job at the university to join the people I lead today.

[He fails to think of his most regrettable decision]

MBABAZI: [Important] My decision to fight for justice, democracy and economic welfare for our people.

[Regrettable] There are many ... the worst was not to live up to my known practice of resisting dictatorship whevener it showed its face.

BARYAMUREEBA: [Important] After getting my PhD, I was offered several jobs but I decided to come back and work in Uganda.

[Regrettable] After coming back, I had the capacity to employ people but instead I got employed. Today, I would be employing so many people.

BIRAARO: [Important] It was in 1986, in Kitgum, when I was [in an office of authority], and a group came to bribe me with ivory but I refused and went on to report the case.

[Regrettable] I regret ignoring my health during my campaign time as I have been diagnosed with some ulcers, which was very stupid on my part.

BESIGYE: [Important] Was to abandon my job in Nairobi and head to the tall grass in Luwero.

[Regrettable] Continuing to challenge the dictatorship and attracting dire consequences to members of my family who were never a part of my decision.

MABIRIZI: [Important] When I lost my father, I decided to go and work, look for money and pay my school fees.

[Regrettable] When I decided to carry out a mock election, people turned out very many that up to now I haven't released the results.

KYALYA: [Important] It was in July 2012 when I decided to got to President Museveni to take on the initiative to work in Busoga region.

[Regrettable] Being slef-centred. In Jinja when I let the MP who had rigged the elections to continue leading the people there.

MUSEVENI: [Important] It was in 1966 when I decided to put all my university choices to the University of Dar es Salaam and in so doing, I ended up linking up with great people like Julius Nyerere.

[Regrettable] When I delayed to shoot at Idi Amin soldiers and they ended up killing two of our soldiers. That was on January 2, 1973. 



12.05pm:  Gender issues: Women in agriculture and productivity

Mabarizi: "I stand for institutional representation. Women will be represented at every level. We want to encourage people to love living in villages. We want to see that there is electricity in villages, infrastructure, etc."

Museveni: "The agriculute in Uganda has been having two problems: the residual elements of traditional agriculture. For example the Karimojong who were stuck in traditional agriculture. The second problem is, once they [Karimojong] convert to commercial agriculture, they need to do it for economics. Another problem around women and agriculture is land fragmentation. We have set up the Women Fund which they can access directly."







11.55pm:  Youth unemployment

Kyalya: "Everybody in Uganda is born wealthy. But what has happened in Uganda is that the homes have broken.There has been a worry in the whole country that President Museveni will not hand over power. But if the NRM wins the election, I will continue to serve my country."

What are the real concrete strategies you have for youth?

Besigye: "Our starting point is education. We must have relevant and quality education. That's why we are talking about reintroducing vocationalization of education. We are looking to having a process of orientation after formal education to link people to opportunites that are available to them. Our industrialization agenda will involve youth."

How to ensure youth have a competitive edge

Mbabazi: "If our children cannot find jobs in Uganda, how do you expect them to get jobs out of Uganda? My government would concentrate on giving capacity to youth and skills that are internationally competitive. We need to do everything possible to empower our children to be able to have them get jobs and opportunities eveywhere.




11.40pm:  Is oil a curse?

Bwanika: "Oil can never be a curse. It is no longer an attractive resource for investment though. The notion that oil belongs to an invidual should never be heard from the mouth of any Ugandan. I believe it is going to be a good tool for a government led by Dr. Abed Bwanika."

Besigye: "Oil is certainly a curse in the hands of an unaccountable and corrupt regime. In terms of oil, it can create a lot of complications. It can lead to distortments in the economy. We shall save investments from oil for priority areas and also for future generations."

Museveni: "The oil was discovered by the NRM, under my leadesrship and direct command. I trained the scientists. Uganda is an exporter in terms of human resource in petroleum. Money from oil will be used for some elements of infrastructure, science. We won't use it for consumption but for science, innovation, electricity, railway.

[On accountability]: "I don't think there is anybody who cannot be accountable. The petroleum law was passed by the [multiparty] Parliament. If you want good politics, please don't make false accusations. So, the NRM government is totally accountable."

[Besigye in response]: "It's a fact that oil was in the albertine region even before independence."

[Museveni in response]: "The British looked for the oil between 1920 and 1956, and they later wrote a report that they had not found oil in that area."





his was the second televised presidential debate this year redit odfrey imono This was the second televised presidential debate this year. (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)



11.34pm:  Climate change/Environment

How to ensure Uganda benefits from environment funds

Biraaro: "We must have capacity for irrigation. It is even a security issue. We must devote a lot of money and alot of resources to cater for climate change.

"I will develop sh30bn per district to ensure that we do production for food security, for afforesation (every district), capacity to have strategic reserves because the situation is grave.

"'In the military, I will create a unit that can help in terms of landslides and floods (disasters), etc.

Mabirizi: "My government will inject more money in agriculture and tourism. Oil can spoil our environment."




11.27pm:  Diaspora

How to include Diaspora in Uganda's planning process?

Baryamureeba: Ugandans here have to compete globally. My plan is to ensure that we recapitalize Uganda Capital Bank. I want to ensure that their citizen rights are revised.

Would you allow the people in diaspora to vote?

Mbabazi: "Yes. It is clear that they should enjoy the full rights of a citizen.

"Our people have contributed and continued to contribute tremendously to the economy of Uganda." 

Bwanika: Their rights are alienated. They need to vote. We should also amend the law so that they are able to be voted. However, we must have provisions that protect the presidency of Uganda. The presidency is a guarded honour."



11.09pm:  Wages

Kyalya: "I think the issue of slavery should not be undermined.

"I went to a ginnery in Oyam district, and workers are paid sh2,000 after wroking whole day.

"A Ugandan should be the most important thing, above all other things."



11.00pm:  Investment

How will you encourage Ugandans to continue to invest?

Besigye: "First of all, it is true that our country has been opened to not just foreign investors, but to fake investors.

"The reason we cannot have genuine investors is because of the climate in which to invest.

"We need to create a stable, corruption-free environment."

[Museveni in response]: When I listen to the talk here, then it confirms only one point: that there is only one person here on this platform that can lead Uganda [referring to himself].

"Most of the poeple want ready-made things. I led a process of starting small and then making things big.

"To improve the investment environment, it's a question of time.

"There is nothing we cannot do if we prioritize. Yes, we have not funded embassies well because we are busy working on roads and providing electricity. But we shall work on that [embassies].



10.46pm:  International trade

How can you ensure Uganda has an improved leverage amid stiff international competition?

Mbabazi: "The problem of Uganda is we are not producing enough. What we are planning to do is for the state to improve the environment.

"In order to attract all investment, we should make it possible to add value to all our products.

"We will raise the production of maize from 4 million tonnes to 40 million tonnes."

Mabirizi: "There is need for our taxes to be reduced a little bit in order to allow good trade and investment in Uganda."






10.43pm:  Immigration/Porous borders

How would you ensure that migration would not negatively impact on the country?

"The issue of migration is all about having clear laws. If you agree on integration, you need to address such issues as govenance.

Biraaro: "It's not that serious if you decide what a migrant can do and what they cannot do."




10.40pm:  How do you plan to open borders and still maintain security?

Besigye: "Our focus should be more on the intergration of our people than on the integration of our governments."





10.38pm:  Do you agree with EAC?

Mabirizi: "We cannot have an East African federation unless we adopt what other member states are doing. For example, if we cannot erase term limits, then we cannot have a federation."




10.32pm:  Is EAC relevant?

Museveni: "The issue about integration is about two things: prosperity of our people and strategic security.

"For example, in 1986, we were producing 200,000 tonnes of maize. We are now producing two million tonnes."

Without market, Museveni adds, the maize industry, for example, would collapse.

[On strategic security]: "Why should we let other people [like America] be superior in issues of security and we here, small Uganda, sit here talking about small things?"


10.30pm:  Foreign policy

Biraaro: "Foregin policy is about protecting national interests. Also, education is key. Our embassies can link up with countries that are advanced to ensure that there is technological transfer. The life of a nation depends on how it relates with others."



10.24pm:  Do Ugandan missions abroad have capacity?

Kyalya: "Missions are supposed to protect the citizens. The reality is, they are not, because all power is centered here (Uganda).

Baryamureeba: "We know most of you ambassadors are politcal failures.

"These missions are not well facilitated. There are places where they have no stationery.

"I am going to ensure that when we send our people abroad, the embassy is fully empowered to handle their cases without having to call Kampala."




10.20pm:  Citizenship

Bwanika: "We need to revisit the law on dual citizenship. If we don't do that, then the privileges that accrue to a Ugandan citizen will not be there.

"Our Parliament, you should enact laws that safeguard the citizens of Uganda."

Biraaro: "A citizen can be a subject of the law of a country. We will need to do a reassessment to be a bonafide [citizen]. We should reassess those who have the ID [identity card]."




10.08pm:  Conflict: Uganda's DRC debt

Besigye: "It came about clearly as a result of unconstitutional behaviour of our government.

"It is possible to engage the Congo people on behalf of the Ugandan people to arrive at a negotiable agreement/settlement without reparations."

[Museveni in response]: "I reject what Col. Besigye is saying. It is false. We intervened to defend ourselves. Congo had been harbouring the enemies of Uganda under Mobutu [Sese Seko].

"I don't know why those who went to the Hague [ICC] to make that legal case did not win. Nobody can play around with the security of Uganda when I am the president of Uganda. ADF [Allied Democratic Forces] are killing civilians in Congo but they cannot come and do the same here in Uganda."

[Besigye in respose]: "In protecting the country, as a leader, you must do so according to the laws of the country."







10.05pm:  War over Nile

Mabirizi: "When I come into power, we won't face any war about that. The major reason governments are failing is that there are no institutions that work with institutions of other nations."

Mbabazi: "It is possible for all communities that live along the Nile to reach an agreement that allows them to benefit from this war.

"Those who advocate war obviously do so without knowing that the world has changed because it is no longer the case that no community has no capacity to defend itself."





9.55pm:  'All institutions should be represented'

Mabirizi: "We want all institutions to be representted, right from LC [Local Council] level to Parliament. All should represented. The army should still be represented in Parliament.

"There is a lot of corruption and embezzlement in our government. We want to fight corruption and we want to make sure that corruption is no more in Uganda.

"We will come up with a committee that will be responsible for everybody involved in corruption."



Debate goes into break



Meanwhile, did you miss the arrivals? Check them out . . .


redit odfrey imono African Union observers showed up for the debate. (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)



andidate aryamureea on arrival redit odfrey imono Candidate Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba on arrival. (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)



andidate enon eraaro showed up with his wife redit odfrey imono Candidate Benon Biraaro showed up with his wife and they were welcomed by members of the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU). (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)



r bed wanika of the  party redit odfrey imono Dr. Abed Bwanika (L) of the PDP party. (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)



  secretary general ustine umumba asule redit odfrey imono NRM secretary general Justine Lumumba Kasule. (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)



andidate ohn atrick mama babazi was welcomed by the  redit odfrey imono Candidate John Patrick Amama Mbabazi was welcomed by the IRCU. (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)



 redit odfrey imono Hundreds of guests were invited for the debate. (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)




  head of delegation to ganda ristian chmidt redit odfrey imono EU head of delegation to Uganda Kristian Schmidt. (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)



 he eader of pposition in arliament afula guttu looked majestic redit odfrey imono The Leader of Opposition in Parliament Wafula Oguttu looked majestic. (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)



 he ttorney eneral of ganda redrick uhindi alights from his car redit odfrey imono The Attorney General of Uganda Fredrick Ruhindi alights from his car. (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)



 usician obi ine made an appearance looking quite remarkably sharp ight is guest nne hitehead a communications professional based in ampala redit odfrey imono Musician Bobi Wine made an appearance looking quite remarkably sharp. Right is guest Anne Whitehead, a communications professional based in Kampala. (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)



 he only female candidate in an eightstrong presidential race aureen yalya redit odfrey imono The only female candidate in an eight-strong presidential race: Maureen Kyalya. (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)



pposition politician rias ukwago who is contesting for ampala ord ayor made an appearance redit odfrey imono Opposition politician Erias Lukwago, who is contesting for Kampala Lord Mayor, made an appearance. (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)



 flagbearer resident oweri useveni showed up for the second debate redit odfrey imono NRM flagbearer President Yoweri Museveni showed up for the second debate. (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)



 he debate was held at erena onference entre in ampala redit odfrey imono The debate was held at Serena Conference Centre in Kampala. (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)



  flagbearer r izza esigye and his wife innie yanyima redit odfrey imono FDC flagbearer Dr. Kizza Besigye and his wife Winnie Byanyima. (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)



9.35pm:  Should Uganda remain a signatory of the ICC?

Bwanika: "Uganda should have pulled out of ICC yesterday. The western world has used the ICC [International Criminal Court] as a tool against the African people."

Museveni: "Yes, we should be out. It is true that we were among the activists for the ICC [several years ago].

"The ICC is not serious, they are partisan and biased. We have lost interest in them [ICC] because they are biased.

"The way to go is to have our own African Criminal Court. I think it was a mistake to deal with these people [ICC] because they had their own different agenda."




9.26pm:  Should Uganda be regional policeman?

Besigye: "I think it's, as a matter of principle, not a bad idea to help our neighbours. The problem here is how it is done.

"We have not been prudent in the deployment of our troops."





9.23pm:  Terrorism: Is UPDF's continued presence in Somalia a threat to peace in Uganda?

Biraaro: "No ... It's a factor of time though. We need to put time limits to operations and tell those people [Somalia] to put their act together.

"Get the forces on the ground but then also create an environment to get the Somalians to talk together."







9.21pm:  Excessive militarization of politics

Mbabazi: "The moment the militrary becomes partisan, then that becomes a recipe for insecurity.

"Insecurity is generated from what goes on in the country."



9.18pm:  'Insecurity is idealogical'

Museveni: "Insecurity is idealogical. If you have people who believe in sectarianism, they will generate insecurity.

"Here in Uganda, some people say we have absence of war but we don't have peace; at least that's a step forward."







9.15pm:  How will you deal with regional insecurity?

Kyalya: "I am going to make sure we have regional peace in terms of the 15 natural kingdoms of Uganda.

"We don't need America to come and kill [the late Lybian leader Muammar] Gaddafi. We need to sit down and talk."




9.11pm:  'I am here to talk about Uganda'

Museveni: "The other time [first presidential debate] I did not come because I was far away. I also had some questions about the methods of the debate.

"I am here to talk about uganda, not about fiction. If you want fiction and you want a nobel prize of literature and composition, then you can talk about the way you want to talk."

"It was a job to revive the 'island of modernity' -- enclave of economy -- that had thrived on the 3Cs and 3Ts (cotton, copper, coffe & tea, tobacco and tourism).

"Whatever you talk about, talk about Uganda as it is, not as it should have been, because it never was.

"Democracy means the people support you. If they don't support you, you don't win."



9.06pm:  'We can do something'

Abed Bwanika: "I cannot watch the people of Uganda who have been expecting that at one time people will help them, have not helped them. I believe I can do something.

"On my campaign trail, I have picked over 20 kids to pay school fees for up to univeristy. I believe we can do something.

We can swing into action, provide jobs for unemployed youth, says the PDP leader.

"I will turn around the economy of Uganda. We need to harness our resources."







9.00pm:  'What is security?'

Amama Mbabazi: "What security do the Karamajong feel when they starve to death for lack of food?

"In Uganda, 16 women die everyday while giving birth.

"Uganda may not be at war but certainly, we are not secure. And we will never be fully secure until we have reclaimed good geovernance.

"I have been in security for almost 40 years and at every stage when we have secured physical peace as Uganda, I have had a substantial role," says the former Prime Minister.






8.55pm:  'Healthcare state alarming'

Venansius Baryamureeba: "I want to change to education system and also orient our curriculum to produce graduates that have employability skills.

[On the health sector]: "The quality of health care is alarming. We all know what a hospital is. That's why I will increase the budget of the health sector to 16%.

"I am going to address the issue of unemployment.

[On governance]: "I want to see dissolution of power to the five regions of the country.

"I also want to ensure separation of powers so that the arms of government work a little bit independent."




8.51pm:  'Thank you for coming our president'

Benon Bbiraaro: "I want to begin by thanking our president (Museveni) for coming this time. It was a big gap when we didn't see our president in his seat.

"[During the bush war] We took the message of winning hearts and minds. When I was in service, I saw another line coming in: a line of not respecting people's wishes. Another seed came in: that brought in corruption, that brought in refusal to leave power.

"I am calling for a unity government. We bring in a manifesto that will rid this country of the endemic poverty among the people," he says.


8.45pm:  'Strange country'

Next, Dr. Kizza Besigye: "In February 1981, I was incacerated in this building. It was a tough time. Many of the people that I shared that [points to a room] dungeon were never seen again.

"I was lucky, by God's grace, to come out of this dungeon alive and I fled into exile before returning to fight a five-year war.

"It is a strange country where no leader has handed over power to another leader."



8.40pm:  'Natural way of jumping the queue'

It's the time for candidates to make their opening statements: why should Ugandans trust them and how they plan to achieve their objectives.

Maureen Kyalya, standing/seated right next to President Yoweri Museveni, is first and she begins by quipping that she has a "natural way of jumping the queue".




 8.27pm:  'Hold your hands'

Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu Archdiocese requests candidates to stand and hold their hands as the religious leaders extend their hands over the candidates. The crowd applauds the gesture and Archbishop Odama leads the prayer.

Once the prayer is done, Justice Ogool a makes a few remarks, followed by the moderators and the debate gets under way.

The moment everyone has been waiting for.



8.12pm:  Candidates take the stage

The three moderators are introduced to the crowd shortly before the eight presidential candidates are called up to their respective podiums.

President Museveni shakes the hands of all the other candidates before taking up his place.

 redit odfrey imono (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)


Anthems next up. The Uganda National Anthem and the East African Anthem.






8.05pm:  Just a moment away

As we await the kick-off of the presidential debate, just to remind you that there will be three moderators this time:

  • Dr. Shaka Ssali, Voice of America talk show host
  • Dr. Joel Kibazo, the director, communication and external relations, African Development Bank (AfDB)
  • Dr. Suzie Muwanga, head of political science and public administration at Makerere University





7.30pm: FDC presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye is the latest to address the press at Serena ahead of the much-awaited debate. He is accompanied by his wife Winnie Byanyima.

A brief scuffle ensues, involving supporters of Besigye and the security at the venue (Serena Conference Centre). The head of the security insists those who wanted to force themselves in did not have invitation cards, a requirement for accessing the auditorium.




OR Click here to go to the website


 Evelyn Lirri: @Winnie_Byanyima has definitely stolen the show. Is it still a presidential debate

        Job Katuramu: ‏@AtwookiJob Exciting time for Uganda, proud to b Ugandan



Earlier . . .

Justice Ogoola 99% sure of Museveni attendance

By Andante Okanya

Principal Judge Emeritus, Justice James Ogoola, has said there is a 99% assurance of NRM flagbearer President Yoweri Museveni taking part in today's second presidential debate.

The much anticipated debate will take place at the Victoria Hall of Kampala Serena Hotel, the same venue as the first one which took place on January 15.

Eight candidates are vying for the country's top job, but in the first presidential debate, Museveni's absence was a major talking point. The rest of the seven presidential hopefuls faced off.

So will the NRM leader make an appearance this time?

By press time, Museveni's camp had not yet confirmed his attendance. However, Justice Ogoola told New Vision that all candidates had confirmed attendance.

"I can tell you that 99% he (Museveni) is coming - that is by indication. But by affirmation, his camp can answer that," he said.

 rom left s haka sali general secretary of the ntereligious ouncil of ganda  oshua itakule and ustice goola at the press conference From left, VOA's Shaka Ssali, general secretary of the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU), Joshua Kitakule and Justice Ogoola at the press conference


He refuted press reports of pre-conditions, saying none of the candidates can call the shots, and that an engaging discussion and concessions were taken to accommodate all.

The second debate to revolve around foreign policy and international relations will have new faces on the moderation panel.

It will be moderated by Voice of America talk show host, Dr. Shaka Ssali, the director, communication and external relations, African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Joel Kibazo and head of political science and public administration at Makerere University, Dr. Suzie Muwanga.

The first televised presidential debate was moderated by BBC's Newsday programme presenter Allan Kasujja and KTN's Nancy Kacungira.



From 5pm local time, Vision Group's elections website will bring you live coverage of the 7.30pm debate. Click here to go to the website



haka sali is abaleborn and an  of igezi ollege utobere and ololo Shaka Ssali is Kabale-born and an OB of Kigezi College Butobere and Kololo SS




 he first residential debate was moderated by ancy acungira and s llan asujja The first Presidential debate was moderated by KTN's Nancy Kacungira (2nd-R) and BBC's Allan Kasujja (far-R)




Starting 5pm, Vision Group's elections website will bring you live coverage of the 7.30pm debate. Click here to go to the website

Pictures from the first debate

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