The Inter-Religious Council of Uganda-IRCU has indefinitely postponed the presidential debate that was scheduled to place on December 3rd, 2020. A statement issued by IRCU points to unforeseen constraints including limited resources and the Covid-19 pandemic as the reasons for the indefinite postponement of the presidential and constituency debates.
On November 6th, the IRCU together with the Elders Forum Uganda, Inter-Party Organization for Dialogue (IPOD), the National Consultative Forum (NCF), and the Electoral Commission (EC) indicated that they would organize two presidential debates during the 2021 election cycle.
The prelates however call upon the candidates and their electorate to continue engaging in a peaceful manner as the country prepares for the forthcoming election. The Most Rev. Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu, Archbishop of the Church of Uganda also confirmed the decision by the IRCU to postpone the debates.
They also indicated that they would organise debates in selected constituencies and cities across the country considered as hot spots. “The convening organizations envisioned that these debates would provide a balanced space for all presidential candidates to sell their agenda to all Ugandans, share their manifestos, visions, address key pertinent issues arising from the electorate and make a commitment to free, fair and violence free 2020/2021 general election” reads part of the statement signed by the Mufti of Uganda, His Eminence Sheikh Ramathan Mubaje.
Sheikh Mubaje also explains that the debates had been planned to provide an open and inclusive platform to enable citizens to engage the candidates on the vision and development processes they have for the country. In the 2016 election, IRCU together with The Elders Forum Uganda (TEFU) with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) organized the first televised presidential debate from the Serena Conference Centre in Kampala ahead of the 2016 general election.
It should be noted however that President Museveni didn’t show up for the first debate held on January 15th, 2016 but turned up for the second one on February 10 at the same year.