President Yoweri Museveni also the NRM candidate in 2016 general elections has–simply and plainly stating—chickened out of the presidential TV debate.
Museveni’s campaign taskforce spokesman, Michael Sebalu, has told NTV Uganda that the president will not take part in the January 15, 2016 live presidential debate.
The Uganda presidential debate set for January 15, 2016 at Kampala Serena Hotel will be broadcast by NTV television.
Museveni chickens out
Addressing press at State Lodge in Kabale early in the week, Museveni [developing cold feet] said his problem was the campaign schedule which has four rallies a day hence would keep him away from the debate.
Speaking on the same press conference, NRM Secretary General, Kasule Lumumba, said “if the candidate [Museveni] has time, he will come”.
Addressing press at Kati Kati restaurant in Lugogo Kampala, the spokesperson of NRM Taskforce, Sebalu, said their candidate “is not afraid of the presidential debate witnessed by his appearance in international debates”.
Speaking to NTV on Saturday afternoon, Sebalu said on that day [January 15], the president will have rallies in Mitooma and Rubirizi which would keep him “too busy” to attend the debate.
“The president can’t abandon three constituencies to come to Kampala for tea and debate,” Sebalu continued.
He said for one to stick to his campaign programme that he came up with is not awkward.
“Museveni had the capacity to deliver well packaged messages and has no reason to fear a debate.”
Museveni’s decision to pull out of the debate confirms FDC presidential candidate, Dr. Kizza Besigye’s fears that the president was set to “hide in fear” of the debate.
Besigye had insisted that Museveni attends because the country needed to question him about the “lies” he has been telling them for years.
“Let him stop hiding, let him stop running away from the debate. “We need to find a day he is not busy,” Besigye said at a rally in Kapchorwa on Friday.
Earlier, Forum for Democratic Change had urged voters not to “let Yoweri Kaguta Museveni chicken out of the Presidential TV debate”.
“I am ready to debate him anytime, anyplace, anywhere. This election is about taking action,” Besigye reinforced the message.
Uganda Federal Alliance president, Beti Kamya, believes Museveni’s decision to withdraw from the debate stems from the fear to face scrutiny.
Kamya said Museveni is responsible for all the bad systems his government has been running right from health, education etc and is afraid of being asked on TV to account.
The debate to be moderated by BBC Newsday programme presenter, Alan Kasujja and KTN news anchor, Nancy Kacungira, is organised by the Inter Religious Council Uganda (IRCU), The Elders Forum Uganda (TEFU) and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Among the rules for the debate is that candidates must appear in person.
If the candidate chooses not to show up, his/her stand will remain empty with the name tag.
Justice James Ogoola, the chairperson of the Elders Forum, said all the candidates; Benon Biraaro, Kizza Besigye, Amama Mbabazi, Yoweri Museveni, Joseph Mabirizi, Maureen Kyalya, Abed Bwanika and Venansius Baryamureeba, had confirmed their presence.
“We are in contact with them. They are generally on board,” said Justice James Ogoola, adding, “everyone must come in person because it’s the candidates offering themselves for the election not their surrogate or representatives. If any was to miss, it would be incongruous.”