Ugandan MPs Vote To Stop Nyege Nyege Festival

This year's edition was to be held near Itanda Falls, in the heart of the Busoga region, a few kilometres from Jinja town in Uganda

Ugandan MPs Vote To Stop Nyege Nyege Festival
A past Nyege Nyege Festival event. /FILE

The Parliament of Uganda has directed the Ministries of Tourism and Ethics and Integrity to stop the upcoming Nyege Nyege festival in Jinja that was to be held between Thursday, September 15 and Sunday, September 18.

During the parliamentary seating held on Tuesday afternoon, September 6, Tororo Woman MP Sarah Opendi stated that the event “is a breeding ground for sexual immorality.

Her submission was quickly deflected by the Minister of State for Tourism Martin Mugarra who noted that the event is “a hub of tourism” which has already seen over 8,000 foreign tourists book tickets for the event.

Tororo Woman MP Sarah Opendi speaking on September 6, 2022. /PARLIAMENT OF UGANDA

The Speaker of Parliament Anita Among, however, backed Opendi’s submission saying that the promotion of Tourism should not happen at the expense of children’s morals.

“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,” Among explained.

This is not the first time an MP is moving to stop the festival after the late Ethics Minister Simon Lokodo’s failed attempt in 2018.

The latest move was intercepted by a section of Kenyans who also expressed fear that the incoming administration would follow Uganda's example and stop music events of their own.

"Imagine having your Nyege Nyege ticket ready and you hear that the event has been cancelled.

"Aki lemme stop laughing at the Uganda Government Nyege Nyege jokes and we have a Christian for a President," some of the comments read online.

This year's edition was to be held near Itanda Falls, in the heart of the Busoga region, a few kilometres from Jinja town in Uganda. According to the festival’s organisers, their event focuses on electronic music scenes across Africa, as well as sounds from the global diaspora and others.

In its infancy, the Nyege Nyege festival began as Boutiq Electronique parties that were thrown at the late-night Tilapia club by Derek Debru and Arlen Dilsizian back in 2013. It later went on to become a full-blown festival with its first iteration hosted in 2015 at an abandoned resort in Jinja.

It focused on reconciling African genres with electronic music, instilling a constant need for innovation with Nyege Nyege’s trademark, “uncontrollable urge to dance”.

Despite some backlash from the surrounding community for the collective’s unabashed support of the LGBTQ+ community, the 2019 edition was termed to be a definite success.

This was one of the instances whereby many stakeholders have taken fault with the event since its inception for encouraging homosexuality and sexual immorality.

This year's edition was to feature a number of Kenyan acts such as Benzema, Exray, Boondocks Gang, DJ Hanuman, Mr Lu, DJ Magnum, MGM, Mr Fabz, Sylvia Saru among others.

Tickets were going for Ksh5,500 according to a ticketing website (UGX160,000).

Attendees at a past Nyege Nyege Festival. /FILE