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Second Presidential Debate Draws Mixed Reactions

Defined as a historic moment for Ugandas democracy, the debate brought together all the eight presidential candidates to discuss matters of foreign policy, peace and security, regional integration and international trade ahead of the February 18th 2016 general election.

Audio 5

There are mixed reactions among Ugandan politicians on the outcome of the second presidential debate held at Kampala Serena Hotel over the weekend.

Defined as a historic moment for Uganda's democracy, the debate brought together all the eight presidential candidates to discuss matters of foreign policy, peace and security, regional integration and international trade ahead of the February 18th 2016 general election.

The candidates discussed, among others, the proposed East African Federation, the deployment of Ugandan troops in foreign countries, the state of Uganda's missions abroad and the relevance of the International Criminal Court.

It was the first time that the incumbent Yoweri Museveni was attending the debate having missed the inaugural discussion held in January.  Political analysts say that his presence at the debate is a sign of political tolerance and unity.

Oxfam Executive Director Winnie Byanyima, who accompanied her husband Dr Kizza Besigye to the event, said the debate was a historic moment for Uganda's democracy.

//Cue In: I think it was historic...

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Joseph Bbosa, a member of the opposition Uganda People's Congress says the second round of the debate was more informative as candidates seemed better equipped and knowledgeable about the various topics that were brought up.

//Cue In: This has been much better...

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State Minister for East African Community Affairs Shem Bageine says that some candidates were not conversant with regional issues which include among others the progress made on the proposed federation.

//Cue In: They were not knowledgeable...

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FDC Spokesperson Ibrahim Semujju Nganda says the debate this time round was not exciting. He attributes this to the presence of the incumbent, who was not only seen as a candidate, but as a sitting president.

//Cue In: This was a dull debate...

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The Secretary of Citizens' Elections Observers Network (CEON) Martin Mwondha welcomed the elimination of the question session amongst candidates saying this was a fair decision to avoid imbalance.

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The presidential debate was organized by the Elders Forum and the Inter-religious Council of Uganda and sponsored by UNDP.

The candidates in the race for Uganda's presidency are Yoweri Museveni, the National Resistance Movement candidate, Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change, Abed Bwanika from the Peoples Development Party, Benon Biraaro from the Farmers Party and Amama Mbabazi representing -The Democratic Alliance and Go Forward coalition.

others are independent candidates Maureen Kyalya Walube and Joseph Mabiriizi.

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