The Inter Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) has announced that the two presidential debates that had been organized to take place during this election cycle have been cancelled.
This was revealed on Wednesday by the Archbishop of Church of Uganda, the Most Rev Dr Samuel Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu who doubles as co-chair of Council of Presidents of IRCU.
Kaziimba, alongside other members of IRCU who were meeting with the Police over campaign violence, said that limited resources is among the factors why the debates have been called off.
“Due to unforeseen constraints including limited resources and the COVID-19 pandemic situation, the convening organizations regret to inform the general public that the presidential and constituency debates are for now indefinitely postponed. IRCU together with partners call upon the candidates and the entire electorate to continue engaging in a peaceful manner as we prepare the forthcoming 2021 elections,” said Kaziimba.
On November 6, 2020, the IRCU together with The Elders Forum Uganda (TEFU), the Inter Party Organization for Dialogue (IPOD), the National Consultative Forum (NCF) and the Electoral Commission announced that they would organize two presidential candidates’ debates during this election cycle.
The convening organizations also announced that in addition to the presidential debates, they would organize debates in selected constituencies and cities that are considered hot spot areas.
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 2021 general elections.
They also hoped that the debates would provide an open and inclusive platform to enable citizens engage their prospective candidates on the vision and development processes they have for the country.
Although the public welcomed the debates, some stakeholders in the processes especially political parties threatened not to participate in the debates after the convening organizations said that candidates would be divided into two groups and have two debates at different days.
The convening organizations had said that they came up with that idea due to the huge unprecedented number of candidates.
11 candidates are contesting for presidency.