The Speaker of Parliament, Annet Anita Among has on Tuesday announced a stop on popular Nyege Nyege festival on grounds of promoting immorality in the country.
The event was scheduled to run from September 15 to 18th at Itanda Falls.
“We are talking about the morals this country. We are talking about our children and you are trying to promote tourism at the expense of our children. We are not going to allow that function to take place,” says Annet Anita Among on Tuesday while presiding over the afternoon session.
“How do you sell tickets at the expense of people’s children? You are promoting gays in Uganda. No function should take place,” she added.
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.
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 that 8,000 foreign visitors have already booked tickets to attend the event.
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.
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.
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.
Nyege Nyege is considerably one of the biggest and most remarkable adventure music festivals in Africa. The annual event was returning after two years due to COVID-19 lockdown.
This year’s edition was expected to attract over 300 artists worldwide to showcase their unique cultures and music.