Uganda’s State Minister for Tourism, Kiwanda Godfrey, on Tuesday, added curvy and sexy Ugandan women to the list of tourism ‘products’ to attract tourists.
Mr Godfrey made the controversial statement when he launched a beauty pageant dubbed ‘Miss Curvy Uganda’.
He said it would be used to promote tourism in the East African country.
Ugandan news website, Daily Monitor, quoted Mr Godfrey as saying, “We have naturally endowed nice looking women that are amazing to look at. Why don’t we use these people as a strategy to promote our tourism industry?” he said
“If you see a Munyankole woman with curves, there is a story behind that…It will be a beautiful event where young women will showcase their beautiful curves are intellect…Our beauty is not about slimy girls only.”
His remarks have however been met with backlash especially among women who say the contest is demeaning to women as it objectifies their bodies as sex objects.
A Ugandan woman, Primrose Murungi, has started a petition to have the Miss Curvy Uganda contest cancelled.
“I personally feel attacked. This is degrading of women. In a country where women are grabbed by men while walking on the streets and now they have legalised it by making them tourist attractions is not fair,” Ms Murungi’s petition read.
She demanded that the contest is taken down and that the minister offers a public apology for coming up with such an initiative.
“They are objectifying us and reducing women to nothing. Please sign this petition for ministry of tourism to take down the miss curvy challenge and offer an apology to the public as well.”
Tourism is a top foreign exchange earner for Uganda. The country last year earned $1.4 billion from the sector.