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Presidential Debate: FDC Candidates Face-off on Party Support, Direction

The three candidates for the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidency on Monday promised to take the party to the people and build it towards capturing political power in order to change the path the country has taken.

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The three candidates for the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidency on Monday promised to take the party to the people and build it towards capturing political power in order to change the path the country has taken.

 

The trio – Mugisha Muntu, the party’s secretary for mobilization, Nandala Mafabi, the leader of the opposition in parliament and Geoffrey Ekanya, the shadow finance minister, were facing off in the first ever televised debate involving a party’s presidential candidates.

 

The two-hour debate aired live on WBS and NBS televisions and was moderated by Peter Kibazo before a studio audience of over 300 people.

 

The first to go was Muntu who pledged to build and strengthen party structures in time in order to dislodge the ruling National Resistance Movement from power in 2016.

 

Muntu lamented on the poor state of the economy, infrastructure, social services, poverty and general hopelessness and frustration in the country, which he blamed on corruption and poor governance.

 

He promised to take off from where Dr Kizza Besigye is leaving FDC to the next political level.

 

//Cue in: Build from there …

Cue out: … in this country.//

 

Nandala Mafabi, also promised to build the FDC at all levels, citing his role in making his district of Sironko to vote for the party in the 2012 general election.

 

Mafabi said he is a tested leader with a good track record who should be trusted to organize FDC and win the next election.

 

He said the country is in shambles and the only party that the people of Uganda have hope in is the FDC.

 

//Cue in: Systems have broken …

Cue out: … painted blue.”//

 

Ekanya also put a spirited fight, drawing on his youthfulness and the fact that most of Ugandans of voting age are young people. He argued that it is now time for a youth to be trusted with leadership.

 

Ekanya caused laughter when he said that the political fortunes of the opposition have been declining, hence the need for the FDC to bring in young blood.

 

//Cue in: “From Reform Agenda …

Cue out: … in this country [clappings]

 

All the three candidates agreed on a number of issues and agreed to sort them out. These included, among others, corruption, an economy that is not helping most Ugandans, crumbling infrastructure and service delivery, withdrawal of the UPDF from Somalia and Uganda’s alleged roles in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

The trio was also clear on their ultimate goal: to strengthen the FDC and the opposition and remove President Museveni and his NRM from power. They said they can never enter into dialogue with the NRM but are open for dialogue with other opposition parties.

 

Muntu, a former army commander, urged the UPDF to review their role in politics and the governance of the country and avoid situations that can derail the country.

 

The three also denied ever receiving financial support from the NRM, although Ekanya admitted getting assistance from the Democratic Party, Uganda People’s Congress and others.

 

There were also moments when both Ekanya and Mafabi attacked Muntu on his record, especially not having won an election and presumed failure to organize party structures. Muntu, on his part, preferred not to attack the other candidates.

 

The live FDC presidential debate, organized by a coalition of civil society organizations, was meant to be a precursor to the party’s presidential elections on November 22 at Namboole Stadium.

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