Following a meeting held between government and the organizers of Nyege Nyege festival on Wednesday morning, a number of conditions has been outlined, short of which government says the festival shall be called off.
Yesterday, the Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Rev Fr Simon Lokodo raised moral concerns which he said surround the annual music and cultural festival. He said that he had credible evidence from religious leaders, opinion leaders and other stakeholders that organizers intended to use the festival to promote acts of homosexuality and open sex which he termed as deviant sexual immorality.
For this reason, Lokodo announced that Nyege Nyege festival had been cancelled, only for the Minister of Internal Affairs, Gen Jeje Odongo to reverse the decision. But Odongo said that the festival would only proceed on conditions although he could state them at the time.
A document spelling out 10 conditions for the organizers by Police was today signed by the Director of Human Rights in Police, Erasmus Twaruhukwa and Ali Alibhai, the CEO of Talent Africa, an events management agency.
As part of the conditions, organizers will be compelled to provide security a detailed program of the festival to facilitate the deployment of security personnel.
Police has also prohibited processions to and from the venue of the festival in Jinja.
Regarding the sticky issue of morality, organizers have pledged to provide guidelines at the entrance and all other strategic conspicuous points “prohibiting use of drugs, acts of homosexuality, open sex and any other act considered immoral or unacceptable by the culture of the people of Uganda”.
“Police shall provide security at the venue in addition to tight security by a private security firm contracted for the purpose by the event organizers,” one of the conditions stipulates.
Parties also agreed that Police will have unfetted access to the venue and all facilities used by the organizers any time of the day or night.
Since Nyege Nyege is a festival that promotes culture, music and tourism, Police have said that the event shall be held only in a manner consistent with this purpose.
Police will also be in charge of accreditation at the venue, working with the organizers.
“The organizers undertake to ensure that the event shall be accessed only by adults and will ensure that no person below the age of 18 shall be allowed at the venue after 6pm,” the document signed on Wednesday states in part.
Organizers have also committed to avail “sufficient” sanitation facilities for the 5,000 people that are expected to attend the festival. They will in addition ensure that there are first aid kits and other medical support as well as escape routes in care a fire breaks out.
Police say that “should it consider that the security measures in place are not adequate, the event shall be called off at the expense of the organizers”.
The four-day festival which is sponsored by telecom giant, MTN Uganda is scheduled to start tomorrow, Thursday.