Presidential aspirant Joseph Mabirizi has threatened to walk out of the conference hall during the second presidential debate scheduled forFebruary 10 if the moderators do not change their ways.
According to Mr Mabirizi, the moderators, Allan Kasujja of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Nancy Kacungira of Kenya Television Network (KTN), did not follow the laid down guidelines as agreed between the candidates organisers, the Inter-religious Council of Uganda (IRC-U) and the Elders Forum.
The youthful Mabirizi, hitherto regarded by many as a political novice, has come under criticism from a huge section of the society following his ‘poor show’ on the debate held on January 15 at the Serena Hotel.
With vacillating English and elusive and incomprehensible answers, Mabirizi became an instant laughing stock in a debate many social media enthusiasts say was ‘won’ by either Maj Gen (rtd) Benon Biraro Buta of the Farmers Party or Dr Abed Bwanika of the Peoples Development Party (PDP).
During the debate leading aspirants Dr Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and Go Forward candidate John Patrick Amama Mbabazi put up spirited arguments but their charm was reduced when Kasujja pried deep into their past activities in respect to their political life, including both having served in senior positions in the ruling party, the National Resistance Movement (NRM). Indeed, Besigye broke ranks with the NRM in 2001, while Mr Mbabazi parted ways with the party he had served for 30 years, in 2015.
The two other ‘debaters’, Prof Venansius Baryamureeba and the only female candidate, Maureen Faith Walube Kyalya, also put up a brave fight but have received lacklustre social media appraisal.
Another presidential aspirant, NRM candidate Yoweri Museveni, refused to participate in the debate, later comparing it to a high school speech competition.
Meanwhile, one of the organisers, Elders Forum Justice (rtd) James Ogoola Munange has described the debate a success. Reacting to questions by the media, Justice Ogoola also said plans were afoot to hold the second presidential debate slated for February 10, just a week to the polls.