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Uganda holds first presidential debate, without Museveni

 Uganda held its first ever presidential candidates’ debate Friday but veteran leader Yoweri Museveni did not attend.
All seven opposition candidates are vying to end President Museveni’s 30-year rule in the February 18 poll turned up.

Eight lecterns and seats, arranged alphabetically, had been laid out for the debate, including one for Museveni which was then pushed to side. Museveni had already said he would only attend if “his schedule permits.”

Museveni, in power since 1986, will face his stiffest opposition from Kizza Besigye, a three-time loser for the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), and Amama Mbabazi, a former prime minister and ruling party stalwart now running for the new Go-Forward party.

Kizza Besigye

“I am happy to attend the debate but the absence of Mr Museveni is unfortunate,” Besigye said.


“My debate and my campaign is not about individuals,”  said. “His [Museveni’s] presence or absence is not relevant.” the Monitor reported.

The debate got under way an hour behind schedule, beginning around 17:00 GMT.

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