The return of the popular Nyege Nyege music festival which had been cancelled by ethics and integrity minister Simon Lokodo, a fervent Christian and prominent homophobe, on Tuesday is heartwarming for several revelers, especially artists who had been invited to perform.
South African artist Sho Madjozi, already in the country for the event, said the cancellation had been “heartbreaking” but it was “good to hear it is on”.
“Hotels and local tourism were going to be affected by the cancellation. It is a relief to many that the festival is on,” said Jinja’s mayor Majid Mutambuze.
The festival drama comes after the arrest of popular singer-turned-MP Bobi Wine who has detailed his alleged torture at the hands of police. He and 33 others have been charged with treason for allegedly stoning President Yoweri Museveni’s car.
Ugandans have also been battling a new tax on the use of social media.
Protests linked to both issues have been brutally suppressed by police.
Uganda is notorious for its intolerance of homosexuality — which is criminalised in the country — and strict Christian views on sexuality in general.
In 2013 Ugandan lawmakers passed a bill that called for life in prison for people caught having gay sex, although a court later struck down the law.
The following year in a BBC interview conducted by British comedian and gay rights activist Stephen Fry, ethics minister Lokodo said heterosexual rape was more “natural” than homosexual sex and threatened to arrest Fry.