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Muslims want Nyege Nyege festival cancelled

One of the Nyege Nyege festival-goers reacts near a drum draped with the Burundian flag at the Itanda Falls on the second day of Nyege Nyege festival, the annual four-day international music festival, in Jinja, on September 16, 2022.

By Tausi Takato 

Muslims in Jinja City want the forthcoming edition of the Nyege Nyege music festival to be canceled, saying it is “immoral”.

The annual international event is set start on November 9 in Jinja City, with revelers each parting with a Shs120, 000 per day entry fee for the 3-day event.

The Jinja District Khadi, Sheikh Ismail Basoga Adi, said although many people will earn from Nyege-Nyege, the religion is against it.

“Things that are being done in Nyege Nyege are not good, especially for the young generation. It generates a lot of money, but promotes immorality in society,” Sheikh Basoga said at the weekend.

He was speaking at a fundraising event for Busoga Women Muslim Daawa and Development Association in Jinja City.

Sheikh Basoga said Nyege- Nyege used to be held in distant places, but it has been extended to the middle of the city.

“Previously, it was organized in Buikwe District, but it will be held in the city centre. I don’t know the reasons why they chose Jinja City. Perhaps those who have investigated what is taking place in Nyege Nyege can testify,” he added.

Derick Debru, one of the organisers from Talent Africa, told Monitor in an interview last month that the Source of River Nile, Jinja showground, Source Garden Hotel, Nile Park and part of the Golf Course grounds have been secured to host the festival in 2023.

On the sidelines of the same interview, the Busoga Kingdom Minister for Tourism, Ms Hellen Namutamba, said the kingdom came up to support the festival because it comes with “many good things”, including stalls for locals that will showcase Busoga culture to international participants.

This isn’t the first time Nyege Nyege is being put under the spotlight. Last year, the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Anita Among, directed the cancellation of the festival on grounds that it promotes immorality, a claim which the organisers disputed last month during a press conference.

Despite its negative publicity, some public figures, including East African affairs minister Rebecca Kadaga and Jinja Resident City Commissioner (RCC), Darius Nandinda, have thrown their weight behind the controversial annual music festival.

“When Nyege Nyege was in Itanda (Falls) last year, I went there three times, but never witnessed any immorality. So, those associating it with bad things are liars,” Nandinda said in an interview last month.

Nandinda, who is also the head of security, noted that all security agencies are to be brought on board to beef up security as the festival takes place.

Nyege Nyege festival brings together artists from across Africa to entertain thousands of local and foreign party-goers.

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