Bobi Wine at his Kyarenga Concert

The Ugandan government announced that the ban on entertainment gatherings and concerts is lifted on Wednesday 16th December 2020 after a 10 months lockdown on the Arts and Culture concerts.

Since March, no artiste has been authorized to hold a concert with the Ministry of Health citing it as a trap that would easily facilitate the spread of COVID-19.

The past two days, however, have seen celebrities, artistes and music fans from the public air out their discontent in how the government has selectively allowed some artistes to hold concerts.

The uproar came after Omah Lay and Tems were arrested for performing at the Big Brunch concert held at Ddungu Resort on Saturday.

The arrests also stirred criticism from other African celebrities including Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy, Yemi Alade, Tiwa Savage, among others who made the most noise on social media demanding the release of their artistes.

Omah Lay takes a selfie with the crowd at the Big Brunch concert.

Tems and Omah Lay were eventually released and charges against them were dropped on Tuesday.

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On Wednesday afternoon, the news was broken that the government had decided to lift the ban on entertainment concerts and that the lift was to start this Saturday, 19th December 2020.

Among some of the conditions placed upon the lift of the ban according to the Uganda National Cultural Forum is that the concerts will be conducted in gazetted places and must take place within the day from 7am and 7pm and not later than that.

“I am therefore happy to announce that our sector (Arts and Culture) has now been opened to operate but with strict observance of the Ministry of Health COVID-19 guidelines and SOPs,” said Sam Okello, the Chairperson Board of Trustees while addressing journalists at Uganda Media Center.

Okello also revealed that government also fulfilled its pledge of financially supporting promoters whose shows were cancelled during the lockdown by giving them a Shs 1.2 billion compensation.

Before the lockdown that was imposed in March, several artistes had already set up concerts that were slated to run throughout the year. We await to see how the new development will be implemented.

Josh Ruby is an Editor with high interest and knowledge in the Ugandan entertainment space, an industry he has been actively part of since 2010. Leads to breaking stories are welcome!

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