Museveni to skip presidential debate again

Thursday February 4 2016

President Yoweri Museveni's lectern (extreme

President Yoweri Museveni's lectern (extreme right) was not claimed after the NRM presidential flagbearer failed to show up during the January 15, 2016 debate. Left, Dr Kizza Besigye (Forum for Democratic Change); Centre, Faith Maureen Kyalya Walube (Independent); and Prof Venansius Baryamureeba (Independent) were among seven presidential candidates who attended the debate. PHOTO | MONITOR 

By AMOS NGWOMOYA

President Yoweri Museveni, the NRM presidential flag bearer, will not participate in the second presidential debate slated for February 14, crushing Ugandans’ hopes of seeing him debating the other seven candidates.

The NRM taskforce deputy spokesperson, Ms Maria Mutesi said Museveni will be making final touches to market his manifesto before campaigns close on February 16, 2016.

The General Election will be held on February 18.

“President Museveni made it clear that he can’t participate in the debate because of his tight campaign schedule and he has confirmed that he will not attend the second one because we are trying to beat the deadline. For example, people he hasn’t addressed are yearning to hear from him and he can’t disappoint them. So, he won’t be attending the debate,” Mutesi said.

Asked why Mr Museveni is shying away from debating his opponents to account for the three decades he has been in power, Mutesi argued that most of the questions have been asked by journalists and Ugandans and that answering the same questions during the debate would be a repetition.

Museveni who also snubbed the inaugural debate on January 15 dismissed it as a childish event that wasn’t worth his time. He also skipped debates in 2011, 2006 and 1996 when Uganda held its first-ever elections since Museveni had taken over power 10 years earlier.

The February 14 debate will focus on peace and security, foreign relations, East African integration, the Great Lakes region and terrorism.