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Martin Guttridge-Hewitt
8 September 2022, 14:29

Uganda's Nyege Nyege Festival is going ahead despite government calls to shut it down

Martin Mugarra, Minister of State for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities says the festival is a "hub of tourism"

Nyege Nyege 2022

Uganda's Nyege Nyege Festival will go ahead this month from 15th to 18th September despite the government calling for it to be stopped, RA reports. Artists including Vigro Deep, Desiree, and DJ Tobzy have been added to the line-up. 

On Wednesday 6th September the official Parliament of Uganda Twitter account made an announcement suggesting the party had been shut down, quoting Sarah Opendi, MP for the rural Tororo district, in the east of the country, who labelled the event "a breeding ground for sexual immorality".

In contrast, Martin Mugarra, Minister of State for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, pointed to the gathering as a "hub of tourism" that attracts people from across the world.

This standpoint was supported by Ugandan Prime Minister Robin Nabbanja, who told the independent Daily Monitor national newspaper: "The event will take place... It's an event that attracts thousands and thousands of tourists across the globe and, therefore, cancellation would be challenging. We also have to think about the economy.

"A number of resolutions have been reached. One of them is to harmonise with the arm of parliament to see that this event takes place with guidelines that will restrict those that are coming to celebrate to behave in a manner that is acceptable by Ugandan culture," she continued.

Promoters Nyege Nyege took to social media warning attendees against nudity at the gathering, while reiterating the fact that plans were going ahead for 2022. "Come in good spirit. Come to discover. Come to commune. Come to play. Come to dance. Come for the food. Come for the vibe. Come for the fashion, the friends, the falls and the stalls, just DON'T come naked," said a tweet from yesterday (7th September).

This is the first in-person edition of the highly respected Nyege Nyege festival since the start of the pandemic, and sees the event move to a new location at Itanda Falls. However, it's the second instalment to run into political trouble, with former Minister for Ethics and Integrity, the late-Simon Lokodo, attempting a ban in 2018 due to "deviant sexual behaviours", an accusation rejected by parliament at the time.