Nairobi - Uganda must cancel a beauty contest that seeks to attract more visitors by showcasing "curvy women" because it objectifies women and promotes sex tourism, campaigners said on Thursday.
Tourism Minister Godfrey Kiwanda sparked outrage on Wednesday when he unveiled the "Miss Curvy Uganda" contest, saying the east African nation had "naturally endowed" women who should be used as "a strategy" to boost tourism.
Women's rights activists, politicians, church leaders and ordinary Ugandans said the contest was "state-sponsored objectification of women" and was treating women as though they were wildlife. Some are calling on Kiwanda to resign.
More than 1 000 people have signed an online petition calling on the tourism ministry to abandon the pageant and apologise to the public.
"In Uganda, the ministry of tourism has added 'curvy women' on the list of 'tourism attractions'. I personally feel attacked. This is degrading women," said Primrose Murungi, an entrepreneur and activist who started the online petition.