Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Speaker of Parliament Anita Among has directed the cancellation of the planned ‘Nyege Nyege’ music festival scheduled to take place Itanda falls in Jinja. The three-day festival was scheduled to start on September 15th and run to September 18th, 2022.
However, Among says that parliament cannot allow the festival to take place because it promotes immorality.
The speaker’s directive followed a complaint raised by Tororo Woman Member of parliament Sarah Opendi as a matter of national importance. She said that the upcoming ‘Nyege Nyege’ festival in Jinja promotes immorality, saying it is an event that cannot be allowed to continue.
“What is the government’s position on this growing immorality in this country, and it is going to attract all kinds of people all over the world, bringing all kinds of activities that are non-African, non-Ugandan into our communities?,” Opendi questioned.
Opendi said that while it is okay for people to enjoy, the festival poses a challenge to ethics in the country and the recruitment of children in different immoral behaviors. She demanded that government explains to parliament why it approved the festival that threatens the moral fiber of the nation.
In response, Rose Lilly Akello, the Minister of State for Ethics, said that the Directorate of Ethics and Integrity together with police summoned the organizers- Talent Africa and Uganda Breweries Limited last week.
“Today, I was supposed to meet with the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the Director of Operations, and the organizers and we had given them conditions for the event to be held,” Akello said in part. Some of the conditions are that children below 18 years were not supposed to attend the event, no indecent dressing, no immoral activities, and others. Akello said that government is ready to stop the event if these conditions cannot be met.
Asked about the benefits of ‘Nyege Nyege’ festival to Uganda, Martin Mugarra, the Minister of State for Tourism, said Nyege Nyege is a huge tourism opportunity that has so far attracted over 8,000 tourists flying into Uganda and have bought entry tickets and booked hotels. He assured the House that conditions set by the government for the event were to be enforced to ensure that whatever happens conforms to the country’s morals.
“As we speak now, around 8,000 foreigners have already paid tickets and have booked to come and sleep in this country,” he said. He agreed that there was need to set conditions for the event to happen.
However, Henry Maurice Kibalya, the Bugabula South MP, said that the Minister’s concern should be about the morals in the country and not the tickets that have been bought by foreigners.
“I have witnessed this Nyege Nyege and it is immoral; it destroys our children, it destroys everybody. We cannot sacrifice the morals of people because of tickets that have been sold!,” he said.
Among ruled that the function cannot take place because it goes against the morals of the country. The Nyege Nyege festival was first held in 2013. In 2018, the former Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Father. Simon Lokodo suggested its cancellation, saying that the event may compromise national integrity and put Ugandan citizens at risk of deviant sexual behavior.
But the government could later clear the festival following a meeting held between the organizers and government officials led by former Internal Affairs Minister Maj. Gen Jeje Odong. The festival attracted 300 artists from 30 countries who were lined up to entertain revelers. Promoters of the festival argued that it was aimed at developing the culture and music industry in Uganda by creating platforms for upcoming artists.
The festival serves as an incubator with an arts residency and community studios, where new productions are showcased and the artists are highlighted for both audiences and musicians.