The studious faces of the hundreds of citizens portended the high expectation they had of the debate –and indeed they were not disappointed as almost all the MP aspirants who turned up for debate were well conversant with the issues affecting the people of Fort Portal Municipality –and the general Ugandan populace. Background Political debates by candidates mainly at presidential level is currently taking the world of politics by storm-as many countries are now organizing them as part of the initiatives to gauge the knowledge and grasp of issues among the candidates. The proponents of the debates also argue that the debates promote political democracy and are a yardstick by which electorates make more informed choices while casting their votes –though its opponents, mainly in Africa view the debate as a western style of politics. The task at hand though is to look beyond the ‘westernization’-or lack of it and create a critical mass to appreciate the initiative. In Uganda the candidates debates have already been organized at the national level for presidential candidates. As part of the efforts to spur civic conscious –and enable citizens make informed choices, KRC teamed up with other Civil Society organizations in the region to organize a highly explosive debates for candidates seeking to represent Fort Portal Municipality in the 10th Parliament and. The cheering crowds and intellectual arguments, took the centre stage as the hundreds of Municipality dwellers thronged Kagote SDA Hall and filled it to the brim. A total of five candidates attended the debate. These were; Hon Alex Ruhunda(NRM),Dr. Richard Mugahi(Independent),Davis Rwamuhumbu, Daka Ajuna Joseph, all aspiring for the Municipality MP and Hon Silvia Rwabwogo the NRM Flag Bearer for the Kabarole Woman MP race The debate was moderated by renowned TV and radio talk show Host, Charles Mwangushya Mpagi. To promote transparency in order of speaking, the candidates were made to choose from randomly sampled numbers The incumbent MP, Alex Ruhunda who described himself as a believer in possibilities took to the podium first. He told the fully-packed audience that that he had a big vision for the Municipality and would never relent until it had achieved a city status. He also said he was one of the few NRM party members that pushed for reduction of the Minister’s Powers-and vest all the powers in the petroleum authority. Ruhunda however decried the low levels of maturity in the leaders of political parties a lot to adjust too. “we are still growing in political party politics as a country and that remains big challenge in legislation, most time a party has lot’s of control over its members”. Alex noted amid wild cheers. Ruhunda also used the platform to express disappointment over lack of better services to people of Tooro by the NRM government-yet they had always given it over 80% during elections. He vowed to use his status to lobby for better service delivery ‘I was attracted to politics, to mobilize our people of Tooro and the Rwenzori Region to use their combined strength to demand for better services. That’s why I have been pushing for a city status for our Municipal Council to open up more economical opportunities to the people ,and better services; said Ruhunda,who before coming into politics was a global CSO leader having founded and headed KRC and subsequently getting elected to head the International Association for Community Development Former Kabarole DHO Dr. Richard Mugahi, who stood on an Independent ticket, said the biggest challenge Uganda sufferers from is the limited amount of resources being sent to local levels. “Service delivery is an output and requires a lot of input”. Noted Mugahi who before joining local politics was heading the Health Department of Kabarole District. When asked about budgeting and how he intended to effect it for the benefit of the region, Mugahi said he would use his vast experience in managing a top government department to deliberate on issues of service delivery and budgetary allocations, mainly to the Health sector.. Another Candidate Davis Rwamuhumbu said that there was need for people of Fort Portal to rally behind leaders who could deliberate on issues of poverty and increased access to state resources The debate was also attended by Daka Ajuna Joseph, the only FDC candidate in the race who said he would use his his mechanical background to ensure quality service delivery mainly in the road sector Another candidate, Stephen Kaliba never attended the debate For the Woman MP race, the debate was only attended by eventual winner Sylvia Rwabogo ,the NRM Flag Bearer. Her Competitor and incumbent MP Victoria Businge Rusoked did not attend nor give reasons for her non-show. Sylvia vowed to push for increasing the health budget to enable mothers access better health care. “II will seek increasing the budget allocation to the health sector from the 7.2% to 15% The incumbent Alex Ruhunda was later to emerge as the winner of the highly competitive race at the February 2016 Polls. Dr Mugahi came second This initiative is premised against the background that for the last 3 years, KRC in partnership with the Democratic Governance Facility DGF) and the Uganda Governance Monitoring Platform(UGMP) has provided provide accountability platforms and foras to promote Civic and voter Education. Such platforms have increased civic conciseness in the region, where underperforming leaders were shown exit by the electorates in the recent .

Title: DEBATE: MP Ruhunda faces off with opponents as KRC organizes first ever candidates debate in Fort Po

Author: By John Murungi Amooti& Basaija IDD

Category: KRC Newsletter

Publish Date: 2016-03-09

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