Speaker of Parliament Anita Annet Among has sworn never to withdraw her orders and statements blocking Nyege Nyege Festival.
On Tuesday, September 06, Speaker Among ordered the ministries of Ethics and Integrity as well as Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities to ensure that the Nyege Nyege Festival does not take place next week as planned since, according to her and like-minded MPs such as Tororo’s Sarah Opendi, the event promotes immorality.
Hours after the orders, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja summoned five ministers from the ministries of internal affairs; tourism, wildlife and antiquities; gender, labour and social development; as well as ethics and integrity to discuss the directives.
During the meeting, it was noted that there were only a few days to Nyege Nyege Festival which is expected to be held at Itanda Falls and that people have already paid for tickets as well as booked hotels and tickets to Uganda for the event.
The ministers resolved that the festival be allowed to go on but with enough security personnel to ensure that there is order and that bad manners are not tolerated during the festival.
Prime Minister Nabbanja also promised to meet with the speaker so that her concerns are taken into account as the organizers continue with preparations for the festival.
But during plenary, Speaker Among and fellow MPs expressed disappointment with the manner in which PM Nabbanja had overruled the head of the legislative arm of government.
Tororo North MP Geoffrey Ekanya (FDC) was unhappy with the move by the executive, through PM Nabbanja, to give Nyege Nyege a green light despite concerns raised by Parliament over the issue.
To put this issue to rest, Ekanya asked Nabbanja to bring a bill on ho@ose$uality such that such issues can be resolved once and for all.
Buhweju County MP Francis Mwijukye, also of the FDC, said that Nabbanja should have first briefed the House or the Speaker before telling reporters and the organizers of the Nyege Nyege Festival to ignore Parliament’s directive.
“I would understand if the Prime Minister came here and said this is a position of government in Parliament rather than addressing a press conference and say ignore what Parliament has said, this is the position,” said Mwijukye.
Speaker Among herself swore that she meant what she said yesterday and said what she meant on the festival. As far as she was concerned, she was not about to eat her own words.
She told Parliament to prioritize important issues instead of defending the controversial festival.
“I am not about to withdraw and I will not withdraw. There is no confusion in Parliament. If there is confusion the other side, for us in Parliament we are at peace,” she said.
“When you talk about things of immorality, people are very fast in acting. Issues of Nyege Nyege Festival were talk about yesterday and it was acted upon immediately; but issues of seedlings was raised sometime back.”
The Minister in charge of General Duties in the Office of the Prime Minister, Justine Kasule Lumumba, asked the Speaker to allow her and her team the opportunity to have a discussion about Nyege Nyege Festival with her.
Lumumba noted that a team has been constituted by the Prime Minister and is willing to cooperate with whatever decision taken by the Speaker in that meeting.
She went on to say that the team had made attempts to meet Among today but were not successful, hence pushing the meeting to tomorrow and that they have already secured an appointment with the office of the speaker for a meeting in which they will discuss the way forward.
ICT and National Guidance Minister Dr Chris Baryomunsi informed the House that following the meeting by cabinet ministers in the morning, it was agreed that further consultations be conducted with the office of the Speaker on what should be next for Nyege Nyege Festival.
But furious FDC MP Mwijukye sought to shoot down claims by the government side which seemed to say that a decision has not been taken on whether to allow or stop Nyege Nyege Festival.
“The media is quoting the PM asking organizers to go ahead, the Minister is saying there was a discussion to come a meet you,” noted Mwijukye.
“Is it in order for the Minister to come and tell us that they have not taken a decision yet the [media] is out there quoting the PM.”
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
On Tuesday, Speaker Anita Among and several MPs ordered that Nyege Nyege Festival be stopped because it was allegedly ‘a hub of immorality’ and meant to promote bad manners. (Read Story Here).
Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo rebuked Speaker Anita Among for causing unnecessary controversy by stopping Nyege Nyege instead of looking at how the event has always been handled. Ofwono Opondo also seemed to tell off Among, making it clear that Parliament did not have the powers to stop Nyege Nyege. (Read Story Here).
Hours after the orders by Speaker Among, PM Nabbanja called a meeting of five ministers to discuss Nyege Nyege Festival early this morning. After the meeting, Nabbanja revealed that the organizers have been told to go ahead with preparations for Nyege Nyege Festival, meaning that Among’s directives were thrown into the dustbin. (Read Story Here).