Long time Ugandan ruler and incumbent President Yoweri Museveni took part in his first ever presidential debate on Saturday, 13th February as he aspires to snag a fifth term.
Last month, the president declined from participating in the debate, calling it something meant for school children. He arrived late at the debate claiming that he could not attend the first debate due to distance.
While the first which held on January 15 focused on health, education and other domestic issues, the focus of this debate was on foreign policy and national security. They discussed Uganda’s international role, deliberating on Uganda leaving the International Criminal Court, and whether the country should go on supplying troops to conflict states like Somalia.
President Museveni maintained composure as the moderators of the debate were anything but challenging. The 71-year-old who has ruled Uganda for 30 years laid off false accusations of corruption, unemployment from his opponents. Analysts believe he is more likely to win the forthcoming elections than other presidential aspirants. However, critics also believe that the president has stronger oppositions this year and the outcome is still unpredictable.
His two main opponents are Kizza Besigye, leader of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change who has lost thrice to Museveni, and Amama Mbabazi, Museveni’s former Prime Minister. They have both garnered lots of supporters as Ugandans who have been sidelined by the current administration seek for change.
When questions regarding corruption and declining health care were hurled at him, President Museveni said;
“I am here to talk about Uganda, not about fiction, If you want fiction and you want a Nobel prize for literature … then you can talk the way you want to talk.”
Watch the debate
As Ugandans prepare for the presidential election set to take place on Thursday, 18 February, these are the candidates vying for the presidency;
Yoweri Museveni of the National Resistance Movement
Ahmed Bwanika of the People’s Development Party
Dr Kizza Besigye of the Forum For Democratic Change
Amama Mbabazi of Go Forward
Maureen Kyalya, Venansius Baryamureeba, Major (RTD) Benon Biraro, joseph Mabirizi, who are contesting independently.