The Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja has overruled Parliament, and given organisers of the Nyege Nyege international festival a green light for it to go ahead as planned September 15th to 18th, 2022.
“We have tasked the Ministry of Ethics and Integrity, as well as Ministry of ICT and the organizers, to come up with guidelines that will be followed during the event,” Nabbanja told a stakeholders meeting today morning.
CEO Talent Africa Aly Alibhai had told the stakeholders meeting chaired by the Prime Minister that over 4,000 peopleare directly and indirectly employed during Nyege Nyege Festival, and it is a good foreign exchange earnger. The Prime Minister agreed, saying the economy is in a state that requires such a boost.
The Speaker of Parliament Anita Among had on Tuesday directed the cancellation of the planned three-day ‘Nyege Nyege’ music festival scheduled to take place at Itanda falls in Jinja.
Among and parliament said the three-day international festival should not go ahead “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.
The most immoral gathering of people in Uganda (corrupt, thieving, selfish, useless leeches) has banned the Nyege Nyege music festival for the sake of “our children” (whom we have failed to parent?)
Uganda parliamentarians take the cake for moral puritanism (in public)
— Dr. Catherine Kyobutungi #Covid19Vaccinated (@CKyobutungi) September 6, 2022
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.
Are you sure you want to ban Nyege Nyege or you want @BadBlack_Ug to release the list of her clients in that Parliament so we can weigh in on which immorality is more immoral?
— Annah (@Anniesimie) September 6, 2022
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.
It is common knowledge that @Parliament_Ug is itself a #NyegeNyegeFestival that runs in five year cycles. And using taxes to irregularly buy ultra luxury Benzes at inflated prices while denying ordinary folks an opportunity to earn a little money from an event is a moral hazard!
— Robert Kabushenga (@rkabushenga) September 6, 2022
But surely @Parliament_Ug and @AnitahAmong could have done better by referring to how #NyegeNyege 2018 was handled successfully without causing this unnecessary controversy. Please don’t turn parliament into a law enforcement organ. https://t.co/Z6YqF0iJdA
— Ofwono Opondo P’Odel (@OfwonoOpondo) September 6, 2022
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. (CLICK TO LISTEN TO AUDIO)
“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.
After carrying out an investigation about the #nyegenyege festival, a colleague who usually attends the event assured me that it true whatever happens at the event is a ground for sexual stuff. Mbu this is what attracts participants from outside Countries to attend the event. pic.twitter.com/aKJiVHwgtP
— Hamzah (@HamzahUpdates) September 6, 2022
But the government would 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.
What is Nyege Nyege?
Nyege Nyege is turning out to be the biggest festival in Africa. At the last editions, it lined-up over 150 artists from 30 African countries on different stages. The bell Lager stage, which was the main stage not only fed its audience with non-stop music and performances for 72 hours but also gave away free Bell Lager beers for the festival goers.
Acts included live bands, singers, instrumentalists, cultural acts, dance acts and DJ’s. Some of the major acts included Ugandan dancehall star Maro, Apio Moro, Byg Ben Sukuya, Jackie Akello, Kongoloko, Aka Dope band among others.
Nyege Nyege Festival was started in 2015 out of the need to give underground artists a platform and also showcase the exciting changes in contemporary music around the continent. Since then, every year in September, Jinja comes alive with music enthusiasts from all over Africa flocking the town to attend the festival.
A weekend of Nyege Nyege is no ordinary one for music lovers as thousands of party goers from all over the world flock to the source of the Nile in Jinja for the international music festival.
It is an explosion of culture, fashion, music and art from various places across the globe.
The festival opens first for the campers with a pre-party at night. The daytime atmosphere comes to life as people watch live music and chill out with a good view the River Nile. The evenings are epic as people party until the wee hours of the morning.