Nine people were arrested on the December 13, 2020 on charges of ‘negligence acts likely to spread infection of disease c/s 171 of the penal act code. Among those arrested include Nigerian artistes Stanley Omah Didia aka Omah lay, 23 and Temilade Openiyi aka TEMS, 25 who performed for a crowd of revelers over the weekend at Ddungu Resort.
Although it has not been made clear how the artistes bypassed the countries formidable security systems and performed in front of a huge crowd, the Uganda Police Force has still gone ahead to release a statement in which they listed the culprits and their offence. Initially the artistes would be reprimanded and released on police bond however, this was reversed after the Director of Public Prosecutions office received the file.
This has inevitable led to an outcry from thousands of Nigerians across the globe who took to social media and other avenues to make their grievances known and demand for the release of their countrymen: “Uganda President, Yoweri Museveni has mobilized the public to his political campaign today in the Rwenzori & Tooro sub-regions of Uganda. Yet Ugandan authorities have remanded & are prosecuting Tems & Omahlay for alleged #Covid-19 violation. What effrontry. #FreeTemsAndOmahLay” said one Tope Akinyode, a legal practitioner in Nigeria.
Other artistes who have also come out to stand in solidarity with Omah Lay and Tems include legendary artistes like Davido, Burna Boy and even Tiwa Savage who threatened never to visit Uganda again despite her love for her fans. Local entertainer Patrick Salvador has also spoke out against the nature in which the Nigerian Artistes were treated despite having been pardoned by Nigerian Authorities when he faced deportation due to irregularities in his travel documents.
Many feel that the artistes paid a price far too heavy for such an indulgence and thus believe they are used as scapegoats by the government to cover up for their inadequacies. On the other hand some Ugandans believe that it was justified given that the world is in a pandemic and holding a concert risked the lives of many. ‘Why did he act stupidly when he knows concerts are banned in Uganda due to #Covid-19?” said one Isaac Nuwamanya.
Since the outbreak of the #Covid-19 pandemic, Uganda has struggled with the growing number of infections within the country despite the implementation of a curfew and special operating procedures. Some of the hardest hit industries such as the Entertainment Industry continue to face restrictions despite a call for the government to allow them to function under specific guidelines.