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The United States and British governments have warned their citizens against visiting Jinja City, Uganda two days before the onset of the Nyege Nyege festival. Britain reminded its citizens to be wary of the anti-homosexuality laws in Uganda.
UK’s statement read in part, “On 30 May 2023 an anti-homosexuality act was brought into law in Uganda. The act includes harsh prison sentences, and the death penalty in some cases, for same-sex sexual activity and also the supporting or promotion of LGBT+ rights,”
Moralists, lawmakers and religious leaders in Uganda are opposed to the Ngege Nyege event often describing it as an opportunity moral event although organisers have often dismissed the allegations.
The warning by the UK High Commission issued on Tuesday stated that their nationals should only travel to Jinja if they have important journeys and or commitments. The UK High Commission alert reads in part, “The FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) advises against all but essential travel to Jinja Town. There is a growing terror threat in Uganda, including the targeting of foreigners. Avoid large gatherings, including large-scale worship, and music and cultural festivals in Uganda, “
The US released this statement,” Due to increased terrorist activity, U.S. Embassy Kampala recommends that individuals exercise an elevated degree of caution and reconsider attendance at upcoming large public gatherings, such as large-scale worship services and music and cultural festivals in Kampala and Jinja, “
Earlier this year, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni signed one of the world’s anti-LGBTQ laws that include the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” a thing that drew Western condemnation and risked sanctions from donors. The new law stipulates capital punishment for serial offenders and transmission of terminal illnesses like HIV/AIDS through homosexuals. The law further decrees a 20-year sentence for “promoting ” homosexuality.
Since its start eight years ago, the Nyege Nyege festival has documented the traditional musical heritage of Uganda. It has also become Uganda’s biggest example of festival tourism and attracted thousands of regional, local and international visitors to Jinja and Busoga every year attracting about 13,000 attendees in 2019 and approximately 15,000 attendees in 2022.
This year’s edition will be held at a space of about 50 acres that covers Jinja showgrounds, Jinja Golf Course and Source Gardens featuring a kingdom stage with over 25 artists from Busoga staging traditional performances.