Uganda: Kadaga Displeased With Muslim Leaders Calling for Cancellation of Nyege Nyege Festival

Nyege Nyege festival in 2018.
26 September 2023
Nile Post News (Kampala)

The First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East Africa Community Affairs, Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, has expressed disappointment in the Muslim leaders in Jinja who are calling for the cancellation of the Nyege Nyege festival.

The Muslim community in Jinja City wants the Nyege Nyege music festival cancelled, deeming it "immoral."

This annual international music festival is scheduled to start on November 9 in Jinja City, with attendees paying Shs120,000 per day for the three-day event.

Sheikh Ismail Basoga Adi, the Jinja District Khadi, claims that although many Ugandans will benefit from Nyege Nyege, they disapprove of it.

"The activities at Nyege Nyege are not appropriate, particularly for the younger generation.It may generate money, but it promotes immorality in society," Basoga stated.

Basoga wonders why the event, previously held in Buikwe District, has been moved to Jinja.

"It used to be organized in Buikwe District, but now it will be held in the City center.

I don't know why they chose Jinja City; perhaps those who have investigated Nyege Nyege can testify," he added.

Kadaga, displeased with these statements, ponders why other events considered "immoral" have not faced condemnation.

"I wonder why Muslims have not banned events like Blankets and Wine, musician battles, and goat races.Why haven't Muslims in Kampala banned music festivals and other events as well? This seems to be instigated by self-seekers hiding behind religion," she said.

"So many children have attended the Nyege Nyege Festival, so why didn't you ban the 'bourbon' Festival that just took place in Jinja City this weekend," she added.

Sarah Bireete, the Executive Director of the Centre for Constitutional Governance, deems the call for the cancellation of Nyege Nyege festival as highly unreasonable.

"Rather than calling for cancellation, Muslim leaders should encourage their followers to avoid Nyege Nyege.One religion cannot hold others hostage.Uganda does not have a state religion," she said.

This is not the first time Nyege Nyege has grabbed media attention.

Last year, the Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, attempted to block the festival, claiming it promotes immorality.

The organizers disputed this claim.

Despite its controversial reputation, some public figures have voiced support for the annual music festival, which brings together artists from across Africa to entertain approximately 10,000 attendees.

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