Government on Wednesday reinstated Nyege Nyege music festival following a public outcry after Ethics and integrity minister Simon Lokodo banned it as an orgy of homosexuality, nudity and drugs akin to “devil worship”.
In a press statement on Wednesday, Mr Lokodo said after consultation with intra government and security agencies as well as discussions with event organisers Wednesday morning, they found a middle ground that takes into account the concerns of government as well as those of the organisers.
“I now therefore, take the opportunity to inform the public that the event is now cleared up, proceed subject to the guidelines and conditions we have agreed upon with organisers which they pledged total compliance.”
Mr Lokodo, a fervent Christian and prominent homophobe further noted that: “I wish the public and event goers to be mindful of the requirements for safety, security, law and order, ethical bahaviour and sanitation as they participate in the festival. The compliance and successful conduct of this event free of the threats and mischief while promoting our values is what we all desire.”
The return of the festival was welcomed by many involved, especially artists invited to perform at the four day event.
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.