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Mixed Reactions as Parliament Bans Infamous ‘Nyege Nyege’ Festival

The 2022 edition of the Nyege Nyege Festival was to be held on the banks of the Nile river, at Itanda Falls, a venue some five times larger than the previous home, which was also in the Jinja area.

A photo taken on September 5, 2017 shows the stage during the Nyege Nyege Festival in Jinja, Uganda. (Photo/Courtesy)

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The “Nyege Nyege” Festival, an annual event that was scheduled set to take place in Jinja from September 15 to 18th, has been banned by the Parliament on grounds that the event promotes immorality in the country.

The Speaker of the Ugandan House of Parliament Anita Among stated during a plenary sitting on Tuesday that the House “will not permit the event to take place.”

“We are discussing the morality of this nation; we are discussing our kids. You want to advance tourism at the expense of our kids, right? We won’t permit this activity to take place,” Among declared.

The debate about the upcoming festival was Tuesday sparked by Tororo Woman MP Sarah Opendi, perceived to be a moralist, who raised concerns about the event on the floor of the August House, telling fellow legislators that it should be banned because it’s a breeding ground for sexual immorality.

Citing the efforts of former Ethics minister, the late father Simon Lokodo who at one time attempted to suspend the carnival, Ms Opendi said it will likely promote homosexuality among many young people if the organisers are not stopped.

Following the parliamentary decision, a section of Ugandans quickly took to social media to vent their anger over the ban saying the event was carefully organized and only eligible for adults over the age of 18, and that whatever happens there is out of everyone’s consent other than being forced.

“I think we are just looking for excuses to justify our poor parenting, by the time my under age child goes for Nyege Nyege, I have failed as a parent.. let’s stop this nonsense and start parenting,” Comedian Patrick Salvador wondered.

“Isimba Dam is on the verge of collapsing but our parliament is discussing Nyege Nyege…a whole bunch of idiots in suits we call them MPs,” one Allan tweeted.

About Nyege Nyege

The 2022 edition of the Nyege Nyege Festival was to be held on the banks of the Nile river, at Itanda Falls, a venue some five times larger than the previous home, which was also in the Jinja area.

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Normally, the festival focuses attention on electronic music scenes across Africa, alongside sounds from the global diaspora and others.

In total, 300 names were slated to play across seven stages, including MC Yallah, Otim Alpha, Kampire, Phatstoki, MC Aunty Rayzor and DJ Travella.

Legendary Cameroonian crooner Eko Roosevelt was also billed to perform with a 15-piece band to mark his 80th birthday.

In the past, many stakeholders have criticised the event since its inception for encouraging ‘homosexuality and sexual immorality.’

In 2018, Father Simon Lokodo, the deceased former Ethics Minister also requested that the event be cancelled claiming that it promoted homosexuality and moral decay.

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According to a statement issued by the organisers, the festival built on love, resilience and passion for music will this year have a special emphasis on visual art installations.

Derek Debru, the festival co-director, recently told this publication that this year’s lineup will also be a showcase of the most exciting East African acts, along a pan African line up of the highest standard.

“This year, we will also integrate new activities such as rafting, quad bikes, workshops, sunset cruises and most importantly, improve drastically on our camping facilities, because remember, all the biggest festivals in the world [such as Tomorrowland, Coachella and Glastonbury] are all camping festivals,” he said, adding, “So if we want the festival to grow beyond Jinja’s accommodation capacity, we must bring a top-rated, safe and comfortable camping experience to our guests.” 

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