By Reagan Ssempijja
The Minister for East African Community Affairs, Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, has, today, September 25, come out strongly to question a move by a fraction of Muslims in Jinja city to block this year’s Nyege Nyege festival.
The festival is slated for November 9 to 12, at a combined venue of Jinja Source of the Nile, Jinja Golf Course, and Jinja agriculture showgrounds in Busoga region.
The Jinja district khadi, Sheikh Ismail Basoga Adi, had labelled the festival ‘immoral’ at a fundraising event for the Busoga Women Muslim Daawa and Development Association.
“The things that are done in the Nyege Nyege festival are always bad and immoral, especially for the younger generation. While it generates money, it is not a good festival,” he said.
On her X page, Kadaga responded: ”I wonder why the Muslims have not banned the Blankets and Wine, the battles between the musicians, the goat races, etc. Why have the Muslims in Kampala not banned the music and other festivals in Kampala? This is being instigated by self-seekers hiding behind religion.”
In 2022, Tororo Woman MP Sarah Opendi and the Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, tried to stop the festival, on similar grounds of immorality. The saviour turned out to be Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja.
In 2018, the festival still faced opposition, when ethics minister Father Simon Lokodo wanted it stopped, arguing that it was immoral.
Kadaga has been instrumental in promoting Busoga region, where she hails from, as a tourist destination. She is one of the politicians who defended Nyege Nyege, while several others were against it taking place.
She attended the 2022 edition, and took off time to dance with revellers.