Nyege Nyege avoids cancellation by Ugandan government despite fears of “sexual immorality”

Uganda’s Nyege Nyege Festival will proceed as planned despite pressure from the Ugandan government to cancel the event amidst fears of “sexual immorality.” 

The Ugandan parliament’s official Twitter account tweeted on Tuesday that the festival, set to take place in the Jinja District of Uganda next week, had been “stopped.” Ugandan Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja has since confirmed that the event will go ahead as planned. According to Daily Monitor, this followed a closed door meeting with officials from various ministries including Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Internal and Foreign Affairs, and Gender, labour and Social Development

In a statement, the Prime Minister said, “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, “The event will take place. It is an event that attracts thousands and thousands of tourism across the globe and therefore, cancellation would be challenging. We also have to think about the economy.”

Nyege Nyege has faced challenges from the Ugandan government before, particularly from late ethics minister Simon Lokodo. Lokodo, an outspoken homophobe, had previously described the festival as an “orgy of homosexuality” in 2018 before unsuccessfully banning it that same year. 

This year’s edition of Nyege Nyege takes place on the banks of the River Nile, Itanda Falls and features a lineup of electronic music acts from across Africa, the US, and Europe including Kampire, Desiree, Juliana Huxtable, and DJ Paypal.