Well, the day finally came and the Presidential Candidates of these elections have step-up to the plate and showed their platform while certain journalists would keep them in check.
Even UMEME had to tell the public today:
“#UGDEBATE16. We have standby teams to ensure you enjoy the presidential debate. All teams clothed, cars fueled, and tools in hand to ensure any outage is resolved as quickly as possible”.
Well, the UMEME has been reported that in Fort Portal, Entebbe, Jinja and so many other places the electricity went down so that the citizens couldn’t get the feed and watch the debate, even in parts of Kampala the power went off in Ntinda, Kiwatule, Naalya, Njeera around 21:00PM. This is just a little trait’s of the reported suspicious malfunctions and glitches in the system that let a lot’s off people lose the live feed, because Mzee was busy having his campaign rally in Bushenyi and wouldn’t let the people listen to the rest of the Presidential candidates. He was moving his mouth and brain there while the rest of candidates where explaining their manifestoes and programs in a civilian and peaceful manner to the citizens and the world.
There will be many set of commentaries on this, I am sure mine will be biased as, well as it should be, because this will be that. First my favorite quotes, then what I think about their performance. Seems fair right?
One memorable quote from each candidate:
Joseph Mabirizi said: “I am the only candidate who has Plan A, Plan B and Plan C. I won’t allow vote rigging so please vote me in”.
Amama Mbabazi said: “My clear answer is that I am not aware of election rigging. I have heard some stories, but I have no personal knowledge”.
Professor Baryamureeba said: “oil companies must publish what they pay to Gov’t and Gov’t should publish what it earns from oil so far”.
Maureen Faith Kyala said: “There is more tear gas at every police post as compared to medicine in the hospitals”.
Abed Bwanika said: “I have never mentioned that Baganda should support me, I asked for support from the people in Buganda”.
Gen. Biraaro said: “The only soldier who has been in power lives in state house, this regime has not served me well, that’s why I am here”.
Dr. Kizza Besigye said: “The real change is that power moves from those with guns to the citizens that is the project I am working on. The urgent change that our country needs is empowerment of our citizens. I have promised that in every Ugandan will walk with swagger”.
The moderators that the organizers put in place we’re BBC’s Newsday programme presenter, Allan Kasujja and KTN’s Nancy Kacungira. The one who was persistent with the candidates was really Kasujja, but it seemed that he was not a fan of Besigye, since he always cut him of in the middle of reasoning and addressing a question he had.
Kacungira was more the soft spoken mediator who levelled the hardheaded Kasujja, at one point I was waiting to see the red-eye-machine in light from wall to turn into the shades of mediator; so he would look a macho terminator. But that was just me.
Professor Bayra got the questions first, but didn’t earn that well, his quotes got easily forgotten and his stamina during the debate died down. I am sure in writing as professor he could have argued with strength, but he proved more to mayoral of a town in the eastern town in Tororo district then being a president. He has the words and etiquette of leadership, but doesn’t have the program or manifesto to really seem deemed for a lower-level position, as he has already been in-charge of the university of Makerere.
Maureen Faith Kayala seemed more focused on her gender as the questions tended to become focused on that. She was also on her own will more directly telling the issues of Busoga instead of the national issues, seems like she should become an MP for the district or a sub-county fitted for her in the area, since it’s also where she has moved the most and campaigned. When she hasn’t been lost in London; she could be more interesting with time and like wine become better in her game, but right now she is unfinished and seems to scattered to focus national.
Joseph Mabirizi must have had bad advice or lost his tongue at some point. Seem like he was stressed by the cameras and public watching his every move. He was walking through the wilderness stuttering and thinking… pounding the matters into the first thing that pop-up into his mind and wasn’t really address the question properly while saying it in such a fashion he was cracking Ugandans up, instead of making sense of the political issues. If he will gain crowds in the same stage as Professor Joel, no wait, Professor Joel should have come in President Museveni place, well, we come to the shadow of Bushenyi later!
Gen. Benon Biraaro the NRA historical who stood firm and was very apologetic in his tone. Much more than I expected he seemed clearer than and not as aggressive as the reports from the campaign trail. This man made more sense and was intelligent. Something I was not expected to say. But if this will make a giant difference in his whole campaign, I doubt it. The thing is that he will be more respected for his attitude and progression then some of his peers by the mere fact on how he precieve the matters.
Abed Bwanika was a gentle surprise and show lots of character at the debate. He had a much bigger presence then I expected, he ate of the hands and was shining actually. This was unexpected since he seems very uninteresting while following the campaign trail. The candidate showed that he had class and also thought through manifesto and plans for development.
Now I will take the two big-men who was at the shin-ding and debate the two of the three since the ghost of the event where in districts campaigning thinking that UMEME let the public miss the debate as they was ordered too. Who is the fool now? If his men will tell him something is that the Twitter #UgandaDecides and #UgandaDebate16 was going hectic in the hours. Before the start even discussion and had the spotlight of CNN telling about the historic event happening in the country that Mzee had to miss, because Ofwono Opondo and Mike Mukula said it was waste of time, seems like Bushenyi was really wasting time. For the NRM-members this must have been time is a wasting!
Let me continue on the two last candidates while done with Mzee and NRM for the moment, just have to throw a snag at them. They deserve them. Well, Hon. Amama Mbabazi, Mr. 30 years under the NRM and parts of the NRA. He was very defensive. Extremely defensive except for the matters of the detaining and Christopher Aine; also cleaning his hands on the land deal with NSSF which have followed him and still be a torn in his flesh. It did seem like he never was ready for the debate or that all the questions from the other candidates. It was like hot-water into a glass and not a cup that he wasn’t ready to hold it while drinking it. He addressed things more as an former NRM Prime Minister than actually address the Go-Forward manifesto or wishes. The most extreme was that he hadn’t heard or could talk well about the borrowing money that the government has done; and that it was a good thing! That bugs me and shows that he was just washing his hands instead of taking leadership, showing character like Gen. Biraaro og Besigye. So as knowing he was a lawyer before becoming a politician in the NRM, he has lost touch with good arguments that Bwanika and Biraao had compared to him. And they do not have the new machine for elections that Mbabazi has!
The last candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye he had for me a slow start it was a bit out of character for a man who has a gift for speeches and give’s the people show for the money; while at the same time address the matter at hand. This took time to get there and to show his plans to the public about the manifesto of the FDC. Besigye was slow, but had lots of energy when it came after the first commercial break. There where points where there was heavy with questions to him, like the other candidates singled him out, it often came to him or Mbabazi, not like Professor Bayra would ask Mabirizi some governance questions that would just be out of touch with formula of the debate. Besigye came after the accusations of the closeness to the first-family because of his wife, and his answer was clear that they we’re far away anything near them. Also with the answers on economic policies and how it was structured into the agricultural sector, we’re inspiring though sounding alike to Biraaro and Bwanika, though they had the luxury of always to answer before him. So Besigye ideas seemed less enthusiastic since there were modifications compared to them considered to them. I wished for my part that he we’re more on point in the beginning. I am a supporter of Besigye and his cause. Seemed like also one of the moderators tried to stop Besigye from finishing his arguments and answers, more than the other candidates, also cut him generally shorter than for instance Maureen or even Joseph they we’re not stopped in the same way, only Maureen jumped once into the whole madness when it was not her turn; Besigye proved leadership and calmness while growing into the debate and taking more and more space. I got more and more enthusiastic on his part, while feeling sorrow over the ways the Mbabazi was portraying himself like a sorry victim instead of being one of the big-men in the race for presidency.
Now that I have gone through the thing, let’s have one thing clear there was like a way of letting Besigye be last or late like every time while the other candidates got early shots, and also being more direct visible. I don’t know if that was fixed before Mzee we’re part of the event, since the empty seat would have eaten the issues and would have made the debate differently, though he would not have stopped talking while the mediator asked kindly to succeed spotlight to the next candidate. The ghost was there the whole evening since they we’re discussing governance, systematic failure and government inconsistency in general. The men who shined was not one or both presidential candidates who is in the top three. Bwanika and Biraaro had the smart ways of portraying and answering. All the NRA/NRM historical persons answered well, especially Besigye, but this was after his mojo was on fire. He ended the evening on the spark, the other last remarks was more humble and obliged then trying to convince them of voting on them.
What saddens me was the way Kasujja kept his composer and acted kind of differently between the candidates, he acted humble and nice against those who shined in the debate, while Amama Mbabazi and Dr. Kizza Besigye was either asked long-long questions or stopped in the middle of their arguments trying to answer the matter. The other mediator asked shorter and easier question, there wasn’t much fuzz about her and was more trying to keep cool while Mabarizi was answering questions. Mabarizi was like Professor Joel and a funny-character instead of acting as presidential candidate, he didn’t make the funniest face that was Mbabazi who looked lost at one point… The picture from that moment tells more than his answers in the debate, though the debate was not a good luck for Amama Mbabazi. That is clear, I myself have many unanswered questions about his past and what he really wants to achieve in the future.
The biggest and strangest about this is that the incumbent President Museveni, the almighty Mzee, the executive ruler and the one who reign in the land. Mzee have had the first chance to show together with other candidates his true self, instead he loved himself up-country where the people would listen to his voice without being asked any critical questions. If he had been in the studio he would have been shut-down while talking to long and had to answer the questions in a manner he is not used to. Mzee would be out of character and without his spin-doctors to make his message soft and beautiful. They could have prepared him, but he would have entered into the only mode he knows, his voice and his achievements, without seeing the issues that are there. Then he would go defensive like Amama Mbabazi and blame somebody else, since the executive wouldn’t order everything and opposition MPs has issues. Mzee would not be able to address the matter in humble way. But humility and humbleness is not in his ways as we all know. Therefore the empty chair show more his blissful arrogance then the attitude towards the debate. The brief and shallow seat where the camera sometimes went to; especially when the questions on the NRM-Regime were heavy! The NRM was not present or had their presidential candidate at the debate. So there was a lose end, and the losing end was not the other candidates, they had an ability show accountability and transparency towards the public. Something that is unusual and not the norm! The NRM can’t be looking weak and Mzee can’t handle not being seen as the almighty his Excellency instead of being just one of the candidates for the elections. He rather blast them in all of his papers and radios until the 18th February then being a man who could move his mouth and brain in the TV-studio, but being critical of him is a sin, therefore opposition mobilizers and members get jailed, while NRM members who insist on violence get’s supported either by the police force or by NRM organizers, then the police and electoral commission wonders why the FDC candidate have the campaign of defiance, since they taste the endless violence from the NRM-Regime. It would be an interesting event to see if Mzee could have given a proper answer on the matter.
Mediator: “What are your take on the recent election violence and campaign harassment of opposition parties?”
Wonder if Mzee would have had it in him to answer that or if he had gone the IGP Kale Kayihura road, and said it is the laws and people have to follow the rules, secondly there is also bad police and violent opposition so there can’t all be wrong in the NRM or the Police. Well, we didn’t get that kind of fashion because Mzee doesn’t have it in him to be together with the candidates unless he is in the spotlight like when the Papal visit we’re in November 2015. This here was a small-time event for him and Bushenyi was more important.
The other candidates were graceful and tactful, even when asked very critical questions. Hope the next time there will be a mediator who doesn’t act like Kasujja and stop Mbabazi and Besigye constantly while giving space to the other ones. There were some unjustified actions from his part, instead of being a peace maker and making the transition between the candidates going smooth. For me he was the Terminator with those shades and light. But that is just me. Hope this was enough of one evenings debate, and I sure there been pointed out at many venues and media-houses, but this here is how I saw it.
Look forward to the second Live TV Debate in the history of Uganda at the 10th Feburary 2016. When the second live presidential TV debate will be hold, and what a grand event that will be and in the closing stages of the campaign trail. Just a week before the polls and actual voting! Peace.