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Nyege Nyege Festival to go on, but under ‘strict guidelines’

Nyege Nyege Festival has gotten a green light from the government of Uganda to go on as planned. According to Ugandan Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, the event will go on but under strict guidelines.

The directive comes just hours after the Ugandan parliament cancelled the event over concerns of immorality. The Ugandan Parliament debate about the carnival was sparked by Tororo MP Sarah Opendi who argued that the event is a breeding ground for sexual immorality.

“Parliament has stopped the ‘Nyege Nyege’ festival, an annual social event scheduled to take place next week in Jinja. Tororo Woman MP Hon Sarah Opendi says the event is a breeding ground for sexual immorality,” Ugandan parliament tweeted.

But according to the Daily Monitor, the decision to ban the event has now been rescinded.

“Premier Robinah Nabbanja says the event will go on as planned but under strict guidelines, since many foreign guests had already paid for tickets. She says government is going to engage Speaker,” the Daily Monitor tweeted.

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Ms Nabbanja was scheduled to hold a meeting on Wednesday with other ministers including minister of Tourism and wildlife, ICT and National Guidance, Internal Affairs, Gender, Labour and Social Development and the Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity.

“I am informed that the above concert has been taking place annually in Jinja district. As you may have noted there has been public concern over the forthcoming concert and it has generated serious debate in parliament. This is therefore to invite you to a meeting on September 7, at the office of the Prime Minister to discuss the above matter,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s office reads in part.

Efforts by the Tourism minister Martin Mugarra to defend the event as a tourist attraction that earns the country revenue had earlier on been squashed by the House Speaker.

“Efforts by the Minister of State for Tourism Hon Martin Mugarra to defend the event as a hub of tourism met resistance from the House. Mugarra said over 8,000 foreigner tourists have already booked tickets for the event,” tweeted the Ugandan Parliament.

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“We are talking about the morality of this country; we are talking about our children. You are trying to promote tourism at the expense of our children? We are not going to allow this function to take part,” Ugandan National assembly speaker Anita Among said.

Nyege Nyege festival is an annual event that aims at celebrating music in Africa and other parts of the world.

This year’s edition of the event will be the first in-person edition since 2019 occasioned by the outbreak of Covid-19. In 2020 the festival hosted a 96-hour digital festival due to restrictions on mass social gatherings in Uganda that was occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic.

This year the festival is set to take place in Jinja on the banks of the River Nile – Itanda Falls. The site is five times the size of the festival’s previous venue.

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Kenyan acts that are expected to perform include Benzema David aka Alejandro. Benzema will be joined by other Kenyan artistes, including Kabeausché, Boutross and Ssaru. The seventh edition of the festival will have more than 300 artistes from across Africa who will be performing include Kampire, MC Yallah, Otim Alpha, Phatstoki and DJ Travella.

International artistes expected at the event include DJ Marcelle, Juliana Huxtable and DJ Paypal. Several acts will make the trip from Europe and the US, including Juliana Huxtable, DJ Paypal, DJ Marcelle, Zoë Mc Pherson and Low Jack. In total, around 300 artistes will perform across seven stages.

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

There will also be an innovative stage design, a luxurious camping experience, and new tourism activities such as rafting the Nile rapids all the way to the shores of the festival.

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