PARLIAMENT: The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has finally endorsed the controversial Miss Curvy Uganda Beauty Pageant, dashing away hopes of those who were calling for its banning on account of being immoral.
The competition was launched early last month in Kampala with the State Minister for Tourism Godfrey Kiwanda attending as guest of honour.
The trending of the event on social media as well as mainstream media would later spark condemnation from sections of human rights activists, moralists, politicians as well as religious leaders who accused the minister of promoting immorality in society.
However, while meeting the promoters of the latest beauty pageant in Uganda in parliament on Wednesday, Kadaga said it was fine for fat women to express themselves as long as they keep decency. She promised to explain to MPs who are likely also to support the whole thing even though some had earlier shown resentment on cultural and religious grounds.
About two weeks ago her deputy Jacob Oulanyah also said there was nothing wrong with fat women competing in such a pageant. He was supported by majority MPs in the House, with NRM Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa showing off her curvy body to her colleagues in parliament.
At the launch of the program Kiwanda said: “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?”
In June the Miss Curvy Uganda beauty pageant will be held featuring plus size women. Pageant organizers say over 150 women have signed up to compete in the government backed extravaganza.
The campaign elicited protests from women’s groups in Uganda led by some of the female MPs. “Women are not a tourist attraction,” said Winnie Kizza MP, leader of the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association said. “They are not an object for pleasure. They are not a money minting project.”
On Feb 7, 2019, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali wrote about the event on his Facebook page: “As Archbishop and on behalf of the entire Church of Uganda, we condemn the proposed Miss Curvy Uganda beauty pageant and urge the sponsors and partners to cancel it. It undermines the dignity of women and all that we as a church have worked for to advance girl-child education and opportunities for women to take their part in contributing fully to our national and family development.”
He continued then that it was “a disgusting display of exploitation and brings shame upon our families and our country. The government is promoting trafficking to increase tourism. To present such a programme is to demonstrate how low we have fallen as a country. We cannot accept it and we insist that it be cancelled.”
Despite such remarks about the competition, President Yoweri Museveni earlier on said he did not see anything wrong with the contest involving the fat women.