On Tuesday, Budaka Woman MP, Hon Pamela Kamugo, raised a concern about the recent push by the Tourism State Minister, Hon Godfrey Kiwanda, to promote “Miss Curvy Uganda” contest.
Hon Elijah Okupa responded on the floor of parliament saying he doesn’t know why there is a lot of hullabaloo about Miss Curvy contest.
“This is discrimination against people who are not skinny. How do you attack and discriminate people whose bodies are not skinny? If we are to ban, let us ban all the contests,” he noted.
During Wednesday plenary chaired by Rt Hon. Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, Hon Kiwanda defended himself saying the Miss Curvy Pageant was not meant to present women as objects of tourism attraction.
He says just like any other pageant, miss curvy was meant to appreciate Uganda’s beauty adding that previous beauty pageants have focused only on skinny women.
“When I said that curvy women will attract tourists, all I meant was tourism begins with the people.”
He added: “I didn’t mean that I will parade women as I was misquoted by the press. Just like other activities and pageants, this pageant will also attract tourists.”
Hon. Kiwanda says Miss Curvy pageant was not organised by the Ministry of Tourism. It was organized by women and it’s licensed just like other pageants (Miss Uganda, Miss Tourism and others).
Appearing on NBS television early in the week, Kiwanda said: “I suspect the issue of an information gap, we need to meet and close this gap. The organisation of pageants in the country isn’t a new thing, it has been happening.”
“When these people (organisers) came here, they explained to us their concept which almost looked the same as all pageant and we said okay.” Kiwanda said he was misunderstood as a minister for Tourism on how he is using women of a certain body type to promote tourism.
“This isn’t the first time we are involved in a beauty pageant and in tourism, we look at all this because there’s always a story to tell.”
He went on: “As a ministry and other stakeholders, we need to make sure that as we’re having all these contests, our culture and heritage stays intact.”
He said most of the pictures from ‘Tulambule Eastern’ are photoshopped.
“We don’t settle with one person as a brand ambassador because these people have different followings and that’s what marketing entails. We are expanding our visibility by working with people who have a following. Our ministry is a marketing ministry.”
Hon. Cecilia Ogwal and Hon. Gaffa Mbwatekamwa demanded for an apology from Hon. Kiwanda for disrespecting women by objectifying them as tourism attractions.
Hon. Chris Baryomunsi cautioned the media and urged them to always quote people according to what they have said.
“For the many years I have known Hon. Kiwanda, he is not someone who can choose to objectify women.”
But Okupa (FDC, Kasilo) said from the time Kiwanda became a minister of Tourism, from the time he started promoting Rolex, the number of tourists coming in the country has increased.
According to Sarah Kagingo, the founder of SoftPower Communications, a chartered plane El Al Israel Airlines carrier jetted in this afternoon with over 230 dedicated tourist passengers.
The excited tourists in the official Israeli carrier taxied into the old airport and were received by their tour operator and ground handler, Spirit World Productions’ CEO, Tali Yativ.