Ogoola says the debate is still the thing


Justice James Ogoola says President Yoweri Museveni is yet to confirm his participation in the live presidential TV debate scheduled for February 13, 2016 but a ‘more serious conversation’ is ongoing.

“We don’t have a signed and sealed assurance that the president will come (for the next debate). What we have is an ongoing conversation at a very serious level, more serious than the last time and led by the Secretary General of that party (NRM SG, Justine Kasule Lumumba),” Ogoola said while appearing on a political talk show on NBS TV.

He wants from this debate, to establish a system of how to do genuine politicking.

“We have been relying on the political rallies, but it has its short comings like drama, passion, emotion, like a political priest preaching to the converted.”

Ogoola, the chairman of the organizing committee, said nowadays one finds a yellow rally with yellow people and a blue rally with blue people.

“And if the two ever meet, we have tear gas. So we thought, why not create a more dignified platform where candidates can debate issues without pointing fingers or fists and let candidates articulate their visions in a civilized manner.”

Ogoola gave a tick to the moderators of the first debate, BBC’s Alan Kasujja and KTN’s Nancy Kacungira.

“Like everything else, there where short comings here and there, but overall we were pleased with them.”

Justice Ogoola said they were reminded to begin thinking of others (moderators), whether two or three, or whether entirely discarding the first lot.

“The presidential candidates are coming to an interview. They all want to be the Chief Executive of a company called Uganda. You don’t get the chance to tell anybody on the panel of interviewers that I don’t like you. You do not choose your own interviewers.”

He maintained that the debate, like his poem says, is still the thing.

Meanwhile, former NTV Newsnight show host Charles Odongtho said the debate should be a billboard to remind Ugandans that election is on Feb 18.

“Media needs to mobilise Ugandans.”

He said by choosing not to attend, President Museveni came off “as fearful of his rivals yet he goes ahead to attack them during rallies”.

“If government wants to defend UPDF’s continued involvement in Somalia, they need to come and do so during the debate,” Odongtho said.

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