Why Mama Awards Ceremony was Suspended in Uganda

After an online campaign urging MTV Base to cancel its annual MTV Africa Music Awards over allegations of human rights abuses by the Ugandan government, the TV channel postponed the awards, which was due to be held in the East African country’s capital, Kampala.

“It was painful to see MTV was being used to sanitize the oppressive regime here in Uganda,” said presidential candidate Bobi Wine during a press conference on Thursday.

“I am glad MTV is also seeing it and acting in respect of all the rights of artists. It would be such a shame for the MTV Music Awards to be held in Uganda under gunpoint.”

MTV Base did not give a reason for the postponement. When asked whether the decision had anything to do with the alleged human rights abuses, a communications director at Viacom, MTV’s parent company, said “we have nothing further to add.”

However, Uganda Tourism Board chief executive officer Lilly Ajarova told local media that the postponement was due to Internet “issues” and the coronavirus pandemic.

“There was a discussion about the postponement of the event. We still have issues with the Internet yet the event is supposed to be virtual. There was an issue of coronavirus,” Ms Ajarova said.

Uganda blocked social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and later shut down the Internet on allegations that communications during the 2021 General Election last month would endanger security.
Internet has since been restored but social media platforms remain closed.

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