Presidential candidates debate Uganda's future without Museveni.

Jan 20, 2016 Ahead of its polls in February, Uganda recently held its first Presidential candidate debate.

For the first time ever, Ugandans watched their presidential hopefuls grilled on live television, as they all tried to convince voters why they would be a better job than the incumbent president.

Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power for three decades, faces his toughest re-election with opposition figure Kizza Besigye and former prime minister, Amama Mbabazi.

During the debate, Mbabazi was asked why he had not delivered most of his manifesto promises while in office as prime minster.

Responding to this, he blamed it on the president’s overwhelming executive power.

While answering a question about a possible transition of power, Besigye said:

“We are having this debate in a very unique context because we are seeking to choose a leader for our country where no leader of this country since independence has entered our State House without using the force of guns and that must be very frightening for all those who live in this country, those who we are raising in our country,”

Museveni, who has been credited with stabilizing Uganda after decades of chaos, is widely expected to win another four-year term. However, opponents say he has become increasingly authoritarian in his leadership.

Commenting on the debate, Irene Ikomu, a lawyer said:

“There were a number of issues that I felt needed to be discussed but were not given enough time – the question of jobs and employment was not adequately discussed for me, the question of agriculture and how we are going to use that to modernize the economy because a number of candidates did highlight that in their manifestos as being the key and I feel that that wasn’t tackled,”

Another citizen, Julius Mchunguzi, said:

“I am generally satisfied in the sense that, overall the principle of people who want to lead a country coming out and sharing their ideas, their programs with the population through this platform of the debate have been met,”

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