MPs should focus on national issues

Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja (left) talks to the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Anita Among, during plenary in 2022. PHOTO / DAVID LUBOWA. 

What you need to know:

The issue: Nyege Nyege festival

Our view: Our tourism sector is still recovering from the two-year Covid-19 shocks thus banning the Nyege Nyege festival will do the sector more harm

Parliament on Tuesday this week was on fire. The reason? Nyege Nyege festival.

A section of legislators led by Tororo District Woman MP Sarah Opendi raised the issue of Nyege Nyege on the floor of the House, claiming the event is a breeding ground for promoting nude dances and homosexuality.

This, in turn, prompted the Speaker of Parliament Anita Among to ban the four-day festival that is slated to take place between September 15 and 18, on the banks of River Nile in Jinja City. The move by the Speaker to ban the festival attracted open criticism against her from entertainment enthusiasts and members of the Executive arm of government led by Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja.

The proponents defended the fun-filled festival as an economic booster among other benefits.

Nyege Nyege is just a four-day event. Uganda has serious untiring challenges that have been reoccurring all year round such as poverty, hunger in Karamoja sub-region, inflation, and increasing crime including sexual and gender-based violence, a failed health, and education system, high teenage pregnancies, and endless taxes.

But alas, our legislators have turned Nyege Nyege into an issue of national importance. Would it be too far-fetched if one concluded that the legislators have become, for whatever reason, obsessed with the sex lives of Ugandans instead of issues that build the nation? That they will use any excuse and opportunity to discuss and/or attempt to control the sexual behaviour of Ugandans, even where there is no proof whether anecdotal or scientific that their interventions will yield any meaningful outcome.

We think the legislators are speaking from a point of ignorance given that the majority of them have never been to the event to know exactly what goes on there.

Earlier this week, in a tweet, the Executive Director of the Uganda Media Centre, Mr Ofwono Opondo, said Parliament could have done better by referring to how the Nyege Nyege festival of 2018 was successfully handled. This, he said, would have curbed the current worthless controversy on the matter.

We concur with the views of Mr Ofwono, that Parliament should pick a leaf from how the 2018 Nyege Nyege was successfully held and allow this year’s edition to follow suit.

Remember, the organisers have reportedly injected more than Shs750m into the festival which cannot just go to waste.

Additionally, our tourism sector is still recovering from the two-year Covid-19 shocks thus banning the Nyege Nyege festival will do the sector more harm. We also need to think about small and medium businesses that are targeting to make a killing out of the festival, especially in a country like ours where the majority of youth are unemployed. It is therefore prudent that our legislators focus on issues that build and enable the country to deal with the multiple crises it’s facing.

The Executive and Legislature arms met again yesterday to forge a way forward but the latter  had reportedly maintained having the event banned but left the rest to the Executive.

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