Minister Simon Lokodo
Uganda’s crackpot homophobic Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Simon Lokodo, has attempted to ban an international music festival because it would “promote homosexuality”.
The Nyege Nyege four-day festival is set to take place this week in a forest on the shores of the Nile River. It is sponsored by South African telecoms company MTN and is expected to attract 200 artists and around 10,000 revellers from around the world.
On Tuesday, Lokodo announced at a press briefing that he’d ordered the last minute cancellation of the festival, claiming that it was going to be a “celebration and recruitment of young people into homosexuality”. He said that it would involve drugs, alcohol and sex and was being organised by a foreigner.
According to the state media center’s Twitter page, he told journalists that “there will be nudity and sexuality done at any time of the hour.” He further claimed that, “We have information that open sex, noise, homosexuality, LGBTI will be part of this event.”
Lokodo insisted that, “this is close to devil worshiping and not acceptable.” He concluded: “Let foreigners not come to Uganda for sex. If you are coming for sexual reasons, worse still homosexuality & LGBTQ, stay away. On that basis, #MTNNyegeNyege is cancelled.”
On Wednesday, however, Lokodo reversed his position and said that the event would be allowed to go ahead after all. It is believed that Minister of Internal Affairs Jeje Odongo intervened in the matter.
“After consultation, intra government and security agencies as well as discussions with the event organizers this morning, we have now found middle ground,” said Lokodo. “I now, therefore, take the opportunity to inform the public that the event is now cleared to PROCEED.”
The Nyege Nyege 2017 Festival (Facebook)
A former Catholic priest, the farcical but dangerous Lokodo has previously suggested that heterosexual rape is more morally acceptable than consensual homosexual sex.
He’s compared same-sex marriage to bestiality, said that homosexuality was brought to Uganda by Europeans, has threatened to ban NGOs that support LGBTQ equality and has personally accompanied police in raids on LGBTQ rights workshops.
Lokodo has also claimed that young people are being actively “recruited” to become LGBTQ. In 2016, he announced that he was acquiring a South Korean machine that could track down gay people. He has further banned Pride events and recently blocked an HIV conference because he claimed it would “promote homosexuality and other dirty things.”
Colonial-era legislation criminalises gay sex in Uganda, allowing the courts to imprison anyone found guilty of homosexuality for life.