The Debate | Presidential candidates dare EC on free and fair elections

Posted February 14, 2016 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in The Roadmap to 2016 ~ 2,150 views



All opposition candidates in the presidential race say the Electoral Commission’s actions will be the main determinant if the February 18 general election is violence-free or not.

There is glaring concerns among the general public that neither the ruling party nor the opposition supporters and their candidates are likely to accept the election outcome and may resort to protests and violence during and after the elections. Either camp accuses the other of harbouring plans with the help of the Electoral Commission to rig the election in their favour.

Candidates praying before the debate
During yesterday’s second edition of the televised presidential debate at Serena hotel attended by all the candidates including Yoweri Museveni (who snubbed the first round) Kizza Besigye, Amama Mbabazi, Abed Bwanika, Maureen Kyalya, Venansius Baryamureeba, Joseph Mabiriizi and Benon Biraro called on EC to hold the elections in a free and transparent manner.

Besigye said the whole country is worried and for very good reason especially with the incumbent President Museveni saying publicly that he will not hand over power to the opposition. Even during the debate, Museveni reiterated almost as much; saying that although he is not the only one with wisdom and knowledge, given the challenges currently facing the country, Ugandans are better off reelecting him back into office for another five years to take his leadership reign to 35 years.

Museveni said “When I listen to all these people [candidates] here, it confirms only one thing; that there is only one person who can manage Uganda. These people here (rivals) want finished things, they don’t want to start small and then build big”

Besigye who was accompanied to the debate by his wife Winnie Byanyima, said the signs for a peaceful elections are “not good” although he was more optimistic that “we are likely to have change” but that the recruitment of crime preventers into the electoral process is not a a projection of free and fair elections. Like wise, Bwanika said the Electoral Commission’s chairman Badru Kiguundu and his team stood between the line of peaceful elections or a violence-littered election.

He implored the Electoral Commission to hold the elections in the most transparent and fairest manner so as to leave all parties involved – the candidates and the electorate satisfied with the eventual election outcome.

“The Electoral Commission should guarantee Ugandans a free & fair elections. If there is election violence, Kiggundu & his team will be the ones to blame”, Bwanika said. Bwanika said he was aware that some people from Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania are likely to participate in Uganda’s election process.

Museveni on his part assured the nation that “There will be peaceful elections in Uganda, no body will disturb our peace. Its unacceptable. Why do you threaten our people?”

Biraaro who again evinced his ideas for the country to the doubters, called on Ugandans to pray and fast with him on February 17 – a day before the elections so that Kiggundu and police chief Kale Kayihura can commit let Ugandans exercise their voting rights and their decision respected.

Mbabazi said just like current Tanzania president John Pombe Magufuli has turned around Tanzania in such a short period of time in terms of efficiency and service delivery, Uganda too can be turned around by someone like him who has previously worked in government and knows the weaknesses.

Mbabazi said he regretted taking long to live up to his known principles of resisting dictatorship even when it started to show its face earlier on. Kyalya said Ugandans should secretly go and cast their ballots and whatever the outcome, they should not resort to violence.

Source — The Uganda Observer.

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Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.


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