The Candidates’ Debates

The Candidates’ Debates

Theme: “Promoting a Peaceful and Inclusive 2020/2021 General Elections”

The Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, together with The Elders Forum Uganda (TEFU), Inter-Party Organization for Dialogue (IPOD), the National Consultative Forum (NCF) and the Independent Electoral Commission will again organize the Presidential Candidates’ debates during this election cycle. The convening organizations are happy to announce that in addition to the presidential debate, they will also be organizing debates in selected constituencies and cities.

The candidates’ debates provide a balanced space for all presidential candidates to sell their agenda to all Ugandans and make a commitment to fair and violence free 2020/21 general elections.

The presidential and constituency candidates’ debates will be a joint platform for political aspirants to not only share their manifestos and visions, but address key pertinent issues arising from the electorate. Being an open and inclusive platform, the citizens will be able to engage their prospective candidates on the vision and development processes they have for the country.

The Council, together with IPOD, NCF and TEFU believe that the candidates’ debate is a step towards political maturity and tolerance in Uganda’s electoral process. It promotes issue-based politics and demonstrates tolerance.

Expected outputs

  • Improved voter behavior and perceptions
  • Improved accountability of political candidates
  • Promotion of the spirit of peaceful co-existence and unity in diversity
  • Enhancing issue-based politics
  • Increased political moderation and reduced partisan tension/conflicts
  • Strengthened Democratic governance
  • Increased citizen understanding and participation in democratic and electoral processes
  • Pacification and diffusion of tensions and violence in hot spot areas
  • An informed and engaged electorate

Dates and Venue

There will be two rounds of Presidential candidates debates with four sessions. The first presidential debate will be held on December 4th and 5th 2020 followed by the second on January 2nd and 3rd 2020.

Regional constituency debates will be organized in selected constituencies and cities. The convening organizations will communicate suitable venues and dates for constituency and city debates.


The Presidential Debate is funded by the United Nations Development Programme, on behalf of the United Nations in Uganda, under the Strengthening the Electoral Processes in Uganda (SEPU) project.


The Presidential Debate will be organized by the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU), The Elders Forum of Uganda (TEFU), Inter-Party Organization for Dialogue (IPOD), and the National Consultative Forum (NCF).

The convening organizations will engage the Uganda Communication Commission and the Independent Electoral commission to strengthen collaboration and create synergies during the Candidates’ debates.


The live audience at the debate will include political parties and independents, Civil Society, Religious leaders, Electoral observers, Academia, Private sector, Ambassadors, Government, Development partners, the UN family in Uganda, the East African Community, Cultural leaders, retired leaders, Electoral Commission, representatives from University Students’ Guilds, representatives of persons with disability, business Community, women representatives, and youth representatives, trade unions, media and others.

Debate Topics

At all levels, the debates shall be organized in the framework of the Uganda National Dialogue Framework paper and emerging issues captured in public opinion polls and party manifestoes. This debate will be themed on the National values and diversity, political consensus, constitutionalism and rule of law, inclusive economy, quality service delivery and implementation, land justice, environment and natural resources and regional integration.


The organizers have adopted a consultative process in the development of content and selection of moderators and researchers.

Procedure of the Presidential Debate

Each candidate shall be allocated specific time to make an opening and closing statements. Questions will not be shown to anyone in advance of the debate. Candidates shall be given specific time for answers and rebuttals. 

In conclusion, we trust that the candidates will use this space responsibly to engage with the electorate over their manifestos and commit to a credible, violence free and fair elections. We appeal to the electorate to work with us in using this space to clarify on relevant issues from the political aspirants so as to enable informed choices in the forthcoming 2020/21 general elections.


 His Eminence Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje

Chairperson, IRCU Council of Presidents

Justice James Ogoola

Chairperson, The Elders Forum of Uganda (TEFU)

Frank Rusa

Executive Secretary, Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD)

Samuel Kiyingi

Representative, National Consultative Forum (NCF)

Paul Bukenya

Ag. Head, Public Relations, On behalf of the Electoral Commission