PRESS RELEASE: Uganda to hold first televised Presidential Debate of the 2016 general election today #UGDebate16

Jan 15, 2016

THEME: “Working Together for Peaceful and Violence-Free 2016 Elections”

KAMPALA - This evening, the first ever President Debate of the 2016 election will be held, and broadcast live from the Serena Conference Centre.

The Debate is fully sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through its Peace Architecture Project - part of the ongoing United Nations Electoral Support to the Government of Uganda.

The debate is a joint platform for the presidential candidates to share their vision and manifestos to the people of Uganda before the country goes to the polls on February 18, 2016.  The candidates include, incumbent President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (National Resistance Movement); Hon Amama Mbabazi (Go Forward); Dr Kizza Besigye (Forum for Democratic Change); and Dr Abed Bwanika (People's Development Party). The independent candidates are, Mr Joseph Mabirizi, Ms Maureen Kyalya Waluube and Professor Venansius Baryamureeba.

Renown Ugandan journalists, Alan Kasujja and Nancy Kacungira currently working with BBC and KTN, Kenya, respectively will moderate the debate, supported by a team of research experts to ensure quality control of content. A code of conduct has been developed and shared with all candidates and their agents prior to the debate. 

The objective of the debate is to demonstrate the collaborative efforts for an equal, tolerant, and harmonious society necessary for a peaceful election in Uganda, according to Justice James Ogoola, Chairperson of the organising committee that includes the Elders Forum of Uganda (TEFU), National Consultative Council and the Inter-religious Council of Uganda (IRCU).

"The debate will provide the public with a platform to engage their leaders on their political manifestos and vision for Uganda, thereby creating accountability on leadership as well as the public. It is our belief that tolerance for diverse views, exemplified through this debate, is an indicator for political maturity which is a cornerstone for sustainable development of Uganda," he noted.

Expected outputs and outcome

1. Increased clarity on the manifestoes and visions as presented by the presidential candidates

2. Increased sense of national unity and peaceful coexistence;

3. A more informed electorate that focuses on key issues

4. Increased sense of tolerance and peaceful co-existence

5. Deepened democratic governance in Uganda.

Live Audience

The live audience at the debate will include: Political parties and independents, civil society, religious leaders, electoral observers, academia, private sector, ambassadors, government, development partners, the UN family in Uganda, the East African Community, cultural leaders, retired leaders, Electoral Commission, debate societies in selected secondary schools, representatives from University Student Guilds, representatives of persons with disability, business community, women representatives, and youth representatives, trade unions, media and others.

Debate Topics

The debate will be themed on the economy, social service delivery, governance, peace and security. A second debate is envisaged to take place on the February 10, 2016, focusing on trade and investment, foreign policy, regional integration, currency and foreign reserves, population and demographic issues. 


Each candidate shall be allocated specific time to make an opening and closing statements. Questions will not be shown to anyone in advance of the debate. Candidates shall be given specific time for answers and rebuttals. 


The debate will be run on the principle of equity and equality, making care to give equal opportunity to all candidates to articulate their vision and views, and answer questions put to them.

"We are confident that all candidates will show up for the debate and all Ugandans will be the ultimate beneficiaries of this debate," said Justice Ogoola.

For more information about the debate, please contact

Justice James Ogoola, Chairperson of the Organising Committe of the Presidential Debate; and Chairperson, The Elders Forum of Uganda (TEFU).

Joshua Kitakule, Secretary, Organising Committee of the Presidential Debate; and Secretary General, Inter-religious Council of Uganda (IRCU).

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