Speaker Among, Prime Minister Nabbanja Fight Over Nyege Nyege
The speaker of parliament Anita Among has clashed with the prime minister Robbinah Nabbanja over the ‘Nyege Nyege’ festival. After a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the festival which draws revellers from across the globe is set to be held at Itanda falls in Jinja, starting September 15-18, 2022.
However, on Tuesday, the festival faced a mini-setback after parliament superintended over by Among ordered its cancellation of the festival on the pretext of protecting the moral fabric of the country.
But 24 hours later on Wednesday, an interministerial meeting chaired by Nabbanja gave a greenlight to the festival but under strict restrictions and guidelines. Later during plenary on Wednesday, Among expressed displeasure with the government’s stance, insisting that she will not backtrack on the decision taken by parliament regarding the festival.
“Honourable members the house is requesting that whatever is happening must be put to halt and until tomorrow when we agree, we should be able to speak as a country…I’m not about to withdraw and I will not withdraw,” said Among.
Following parliament’s decision, a section of Ugandans took to social media to express anger at the MPs for majoring on minor issues such as on how people should have fun or be entertained and ignoring the major issues currently affecting the country like the severe hunger in Karamoja which has already claimed over 1000 lives, mudslides in Kasese which have claimed 16 lives, rising inflation etc. Justifying the government’s decision for giving the green light to the festival, Nabbanja said the organisers had already sunk in over Shs 700 million in pre-event organising and that many revellers had already purchased tickets.
“We find it abnormal that the House makes a position and the Prime Minister addresses the press differently,” said Geoffrey Ekanya, the Tororo North MP. He said that the development shows confusion in government.
Buhweju County MP, Francis Mwijukye claimed Nabbanja disrespected parliament by going against its recommended decision and instead of returning to the floor to explain the new position, she opted to address the press.
“It is unfair, uncalled for, and disturbing. I want to get an explanation…how can someone say…ignore what parliament has said, does it suggest that someone does not respect parliament?” Mwijukye questioned.
Justine Kasule Lumumba, the minister of General Duties, said Nabbanja and Among will meet on Thursday to decide on a way forward. Lumumba apologized on behalf of the Prime Minister for any statement made regarding the issue. Chris Baryomunsi, the minister of Information, Communication Technology, and National Guidance, said that there was no need for parliament to appear to be in conflict with the government. He appealed to parliament to wait for the meeting between the executive and the office of the speaker on the matter.
Among directed that the executive stops issuing any further statements pending the outcomes of their planned meeting on Thursday.