The State Minister for Tourism, Godfrey Kiwanda has defended the controversial Miss Curvy contest, saying that the pageant is ‘godly’ and is aimed at thanking God for gifting Uganda with endowed women.
To cement his argument, he quoted Genesis 1:31; ‘God looked at everything he had made, and he was very pleased. Evening passed and morning came—that was the sixth day.’
He denied ever attempting to turn Ugandan women into tourist attractions, saying the people behind this ‘fake news’ are simply working at portraying him as a person who doesn’t respect women.
“There are some people who have been saying that tourists were coming to see women with curves. On the contrary, I said that tourism begins with people. If you look at Genesis 1:31, ‘whenever God would create, He would appreciate.’ The issue of appreciating isn’t evil. It is only that somebody who appreciates has some other motive, so when we appreciate the goodness in us, we are also praising God by doing that, it is another way of worship,” Kiwanda said.
The Minister made the lewd remarks while tabling a statement on the floor of Parliament after calls from female MPs to have the Minister explain why he fronted a move to turn women into tourist attractions.
Kiwanda distanced himself from the controversial remarks, pushing the blame to the journalists whom he accused of attributing comments he never made in the first place, saying it isn’t the Ministry behind the Curvy project, but was only called on to support Ann Mungoma, the CEO of the organization.
He wondered why there has been so much noise around the matter when such beauty pageants aren’t new to Uganda as the country has been having many beauty pageants, save for the fact that the other pageants left out the curvy women.
He said that at the launch, the curvy women cried out to him over the discrimination they have been facing, with no chance to compete due to the emphasis on slim and slender women.
“Our focus should be on us portraying African beauty defined by ourselves not by the western world and we don’t want this kind of negativity against one group of people. My participation at Miss Curvy shouldn’t be misinterpreted, I am not using curvy women as tourist attractions. I didn’t say that and couldn’t think about it,” Kiwanda remarked.
However, Butambala County MP, Muwanga Kivumbi was the first to shoot down Kiwanda’s statement saying there is no way he can blame media for misquoting him as he has no written statement of his speech.
Kivumbi argued that the deep waters Kiwanda has found himself in is a s a result of casual way in which public servants hold their offices, wondering why he didn’t have a written speech to refer to before opening his mouth to make such remarks.
However, Elijah Okupa, the Kasiro County MP, backed Kiwanda saying he deserves recognition for improving Uganda’s tourism sector.
“I think this is the right time to applaud Kiwanda from the time he became Minister the number of tourists have increased,” Okupa said.
“This isn’t the time to attack but encourage Kiwanda. Why can’t we be proud of women of different sizes? The pride is in the size of the lady, the way she walks in the compound. I must applaud Kiwanda for being innovative, that is why I implore you to vote missy curvy,” he added.
Kanungu Woman MP, Elizabeth Karungi also backed Kiwanda, noting that for many years, all beauty contests have been marked for skinny ladies, with the fat and curvy women left behind and it is time for Uganda’s tourism to be taken to another level through the curvy women.
“I want to encourage him to keep it up and put competition for these women, they need to be recognized, it does no harm,” said Karungi, who is battling court cases for poisoning a staff of Parliament suspected of having an affair with her husband.
Busiro South MP, Peter Ssematimba, who is also a Pastor sought help from the holy book saying that God didn’t create beauty to be shunned and that Abraham became rich because of the beautiful wife Sarah and the Israel kingdom was saved from its premature end when the King looked at Queen Esther, prophesying that Kiwanda’s idea is going to save Uganda’s tourism.