MUTUKULA, UGANDA: Abbey Musinguzi, the proprietor of Abitex Promotions has called off a concert organised at Happiness Hotel in Mutukula-Tanzania on December 31.
Abitex had organised the concert in Tanzanian territory, where there are no restrictions on crowds and movement as the case is in Uganda. But border authorities issued tough conditions for Ugandans planning to cross to Tanzania for the concert requiring them to first take a COVID test within 72 hours before exiting the country.
According to police and Mutukula border authorities, the revellers were also supposed to present the results of a similar test done in Tanzania on their return. At the Ugandan side of the border, there are two private testing companies namely Maia Medical Lab and Test and Travel which charge 125,000 Shillings for a COVID test which Musinguzi says is too much for the majority of the revellers.
Kyotera District Police Commander Hassan Hiwumbire said earlier that they would arrest all revellers trying to sneak into Tanzania through porous entry points. He says that for the Christmas concert, hundreds of Ugandans sneaked into Tanzania through the porous borders points, an act that violates immigration laws.
But Musinguzi said that the revellers will not be able to adhere to the conditions put by the border authorities. He says thousands of revellers do not have passports to present at the immigration or money to pay for the COVID test as one of the requirements for travellers.
According to Abitex, the restrictions are mainly in Uganda but not in Tanzania as the border authorities claim.
Rovin Lugonvu, a resident of Kyotera town and a reveller who attended the Christmas concert says he used a porous border to access Happiness Hotel in Tanzania due to lack of money to pay for a COVID test at Mutukula.
He explains that he was planning to enter the New Year from Tanzania as it was on Christmas but his plans have been foiled by the cancellation. Rehma Nasejje, a resident of Mpawu village in Kasaali town council says she had saved some money for the December 31st concert in Tanzania after missing out on the massive Christmas concert.