Muslims want Nyege Nyege festival cancelled over ‘immorality’

A section of Muslims in Jinja City have called for the cancellation of the forthcoming edition of the Nyege Nyege music festival on grounds that the event is “immoral” and not in line with Muslim values.

According to Jinja District Khadi, Sheikh Ismail Basoga Adi, much as many people earn from the event which attracts tens of thousands of revellers across the globe, it is actively contributing to the degeneration of society.

“Things that are being done in Nyege Nyege are not good, especially for the young generation. It generates a lot of money but promotes immorality in society,” Sheikh Basoga told the congregation on Sunday at a fundraising event for the Busoga Women Muslim Daawa and Development Association in Jinja.

Sheikh Basoga added that the Nyege- Nyege event used to be held in distant places, but it has been extended to the middle of the city, which raises concerns about the society’s moral values.

“Previously, it was organised in Buikwe District, but it will be held in the city centre. I don’t know the reasons why they chose Jinja City; perhaps those who have investigated what is taking place in Nyege Nyege can testify,” he noted.

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In an interview with journalists last month at the launch of this year’s Nyege Nyege, Derick Debru of Talent Africa, one of the organisers from Talent Africa, said that they had secured permission from authorities to use Source of River Nile, Jinja showground, Source Garden Hotel, Nile Park and part of the Golf Course grounds to host the festival which is happening in November this year.

The Busoga Kingdom Minister for Tourism, Ms Hellen Namutamba, speaking over the same event said the kingdom came up to support the festival because it comes with “many good things”, including stalls for locals that will showcase Busoga culture to international participants.

This isn’t the first time Nyege Nyege is put under the spotlight.

The event has been resisted several times by different players in Uganda, among which are the church community and the Muslim community.

Last year, the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Anita Among, directed the cancellation of the festival on grounds that it promotes immorality, a claim which the organisers disputed last month during a press conference.

Despite its negative publicity, some public figures, including East African Affairs Minister Rebecca Kadaga and Jinja Resident City Commissioner (RCC), Darius Nandinda, have thrown their weight behind the controversial annual music festival.

“When Nyege Nyege was in Itanda (Falls) last year, I went there three times but never witnessed any immorality. So, those associating it with bad things are liars,” Nandinda said in an interview last month.

Nandinda, who is also the head of security at the event, noted that all security agencies are to be brought on board to beef up security as the festival takes place.

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The Nyege Nyege festival brings together artists from across Africa to entertain thousands of local and foreign party-goers.

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