Friday evening went down as a historic day in Uganda’s books after the country hosted the first ever presidential debate.
The event held at the Kampala Serena hotel saw 7 of the 8 candidates tussle out in a 3 and a half hours debate. Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba, Dr. Abed Bwanika, Col. Dr. Kiiza Besigye, Hon. John Patrick Amama Mbabazi, Joseph Mabirizi, Maj. Gen. Benon Biraro, and the only female candidate Maureen Kyalya participated in the debate, while the incumbent Yoweri Museveni missed out.
Meanwhile, Dr. Abed Bwanika outshined the other contenders with his serious arguments backed by figures. He was followed by Maj. Benon Biraro who impressed and surprised many as they had previously not paid attention to his rallies.
However, on social media, many people were seen posting all kinds of disappointing messages about Dr. Kiiza Besigye who claimed he had come to debate President Museveni and seemed absent minded throughout the entire debate, while others were disappointed by Amama Mbabazi’s efforts to downplay most questions.
Many people claim the former premier failed to give satisfactory answers on the questions of supporting gays, and government holding nationals in safe houses.
But the most dramatic candidate was Joseph Elton Mabirizi whose answers attracted mocking-applauses from the audience. Like he at some point promised “to export jobless Ugandans to other countries, he also said women would be represented from above to down there during his tenure as president.”
Maureen Kyalya, the only woman in the race had an impressive opening session which attracted attention from many viewers. She however disappointed many, including herself, when she claimed Dr. Besigye was married to Winnie Byanyima, a sister to Yoweri Museveni, something that is not true.
She also caused uproar from women when she tried to play the feminist and ended up calling them dummies, who do not have 20m on their accounts. Kyalya also said she was not a politician but lawyer and social worker, leaving many confused of what he was doing on a podium full of presidential candidates (Politicians).
Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba based most of his points on education saying his government will improve education systems in the country.
Well, President Museveni has since come out to claim debates are for school going children and he would not participate in any since he is a grown-up man.