U-turn: Besigye will attend presidential debate


Besigye and FDC president, Mugisha Muntu, hug

The opposition Forum for Democratic Change [FDC] says its candidate, Kizza Besigye, will attend the presidential live TV debate.

FDC spokesperson, Ssemujju Nganda, has confirmed Besigye’s attendance.

“Confirmed: Besigye to attend presidential debate,” Nganda said in a tweet.

Nganda gave no details of how Besigye reached the decision to return to the debate which he had pulled out of following President Yoweri Museveni’s exit.

Besigye had earlier said that the debate was about the forces of democracy and the dictatorship.

He argued that without Museveni being present to account for his 30 years of “failure”, the debate would be one-sided and fruitless.

Besigye is said to have met Ogoola while campaigning in Budaka district yesterday who convinced him to take part in the discussions as candidates share their views about their programmes for developing the country.

“My position is quite clear. A debate is of two sides and so we must debate both sides,” Besigye said.

“This morning, I met Justice James Ogoola in Mbale. First he told me that Mr. Museveni has not withdrawn from the debate so they expect him to attend.”

He said they also discussed the content of what the debate will focus on.

“Unless there is anything that changes, all of us should be in attendance. If there are no changes and what I know now remains to be the case, I will be at the debate.”

The Inter Religious Council of Uganda-IRCU had said the presidential debate will go on tomorrow Friday, January 15, 2016 as planned.

Justice James Ogoola, the chairman, the presidential debate organising committee, told press that Besigye and Museveni had not given him formal communications of their exit.

Ogoola said they still expected all the eight presidential candidates; Yoweri Museveni, Abed Bwanika (People’s Development Party flag bearer), Maj. Gen. Benon Biraaro (Uganda Farmers Party flag bearer), former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi (Independent), former Makerere University vice chancellor Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba (Independent), Eng. Joseph Mabirizi (Independent) and Faith Maureen Kyalya Walube (Independent) to show up for the debate.

The debate will be moderated by BBC’s Newsday programme presenter, Allan Kasujja and KTN’s Nancy Kacungira at Serena Hotel conference center and broadcast by NTV Uganda.

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