PRESS RELEASE: Uganda to hold second televised Presidential Debate for the 2016 general election #UGDebate16

Feb 12, 2016

The eight candidates will pronounce themselves on their foreign policy agenda.

KAMPALA – Uganda will this weekend hold its second Presidential Debate for the 2016 electoral season.

This debate follows the success of the first Presidential debate, which garnered a high national and local viewing leading to extensive discussions on the candidates and their manifestos both on and off line.

Like the first one, this second debate is fully sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through its Peace Architecture Project that is part of the ongoing United Nations Electoral Support to the Government of Uganda.

It will also be broadcast live from the Serena Conference by NTV Uganda and various media houses including Bukedde & Spark TV that will translate it into Luganda, one of the local languages.  

The debate is a joint platform for the presidential candidates to share their vision and manifestos with 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); Dr Abed Bwanika (People's Development Party) and Maj. Benon Biraro ( Farmers Party). The independent candidates are, Mr Joseph Mabirizi, Ms Maureen Kyalya Waluube and Professor Venansius Baryamureeba.

While the first debate focused on domestic issues, the second one will offer candidates the opportunity to pronounce their agenda on topics such as international and foreign policy, regional and integration, peace and security, trade and Investment – all of which are fundamental for Uganda as a part of a globalised and competitive world.

“The Presidential candidates owe it to the citizens a critical debt to formulate and articulate a deliberate and sensible policy to guide the external relations of this country,” Justice James Ogoola, the Chairperson, the Elders Forum of Uganda and Chairman Organizing Committee said about this second debate.

The debate will be moderated by Dr. Shaka Ssali, best known as the host of ‘Straight Talk Africa’ on Voice of America. Dr. Joel Kibazo, a seasoned communications expert who has worked with BBC, the Financial Times, the Commonwealth and most recently the Africa Development Bank and Dr. Suzie Muwanga, the head of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Makerere University.

Ms. Almaz Gebru, the Country Director of UNDP called on Ugandans to take this healthy engagement and exposition of tolerance forward as the country draws close to the election period which runs from 18 February 2016 to 10 March 2016 and beyond. 

“In the same spirit and in line with Sustainable Development Goal sixteen: promote peaceful and inclusive societies, provide access to justice for all and build effective and inclusive institutions at all levels, let me take this opportunity to encourage all Ugandans to continue to work together for a Peaceful and Violence-Free 2016 Election,“ she 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 focus on the Foreign policy and international relations, Regional Integration, International trade and investment, Peace and Security.


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.


Contact information

For more information about the debate, please contact

Justice James Ogoola, Chairperson of the Organising Committee 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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