The debate is the thing – Hon Justice Ogola Poem at Uganda Presidential Debate

Last night, it was an historic moment for poetry in Uganda, as it highlighted the start of a memorable time in Uganda’s political history – the first ever Presidential Debate. When I saw Justice Ogola giving the speech to kick off the debate, my heart jumped because I knew this learned man loved poetry and maybe he would recite. And boy was I right. This is what he said before he read  “The debate is the thing” transcribed below.

Justice Ogola reading his poem "The Debate is the Thing." Photo: Youtube NTV
Justice Ogola reading his poem “The Debate is the Thing.”
Photo: Youtube NTV

“Permit me now to speak from my own heart about what I feel in this moment.”

The debate is the thing.

Candidates decked in their rainbow of colours
Speaking the speech of rhetoric
Dissecting the discourse of oratory
Displaying the skill of eloquence
Portraying the politics of persuasion
All ready to compete in the marketplace of ideas.

The debate is the thing.

Electors tuned on the ear
Intent to listen,
Viewers with a sharp hawk’s eye
Keenly scouring the screen
To judge the agile from the docile,
To assess the adept from the inept,
To choose the winner
From the losers
All sitting in Solomon’s chair
To do the above.

The debate is the thing.

Here
No cheap drama of the political rally,
Here
No base speech of the idle and the vulgar,
No shrill voice and tone of demagoguery
No mundane politics
Of the empty pledge or hollow promise.

Here only the nobler ideas and ideals of the mind
Take pride or place
To titillate the political soul of the electorate,
On the campaign trail
Candidates stand on the shifting sands of populism,
At the debate
The candidates stand on the solid platform of fundamental ideals
And critical ideas.

With firm figures and facts to wow the audience
With wit and humour to charm the electorate,
The debate soothes the politics of rancour
Binds the wounds of the mundane

Truly the debate is the thing.

In a prophetic way, the poem had set the tone for the night. Candidates were not allowed blurry answers and were tasked to eloquently explain how they intended to do what they were promising.

Thumbs up!

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6 thoughts on “The debate is the thing – Hon Justice Ogola Poem at Uganda Presidential Debate

    1. THE DEBATE IS NOT THE THING
      (For Justice James Ogola)

      Justice James,
      The debate is not the thing.
      If it was, then Uganda would
      Have another military general,
      Benon Biraro as the president

      We all witnessed
      Who the agile and the docile were,
      Who the adept and inept were
      And whose ideas were nobler.
      The vision of some candidates was bare
      And some were even never there,
      Yet when voting came,
      The electorate kept the incompetent
      Up there where they continue to tear
      The nation apart.

      Truly, the debate is not the thing.

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