The pageant was unveiled in Kampala on Tuesday by the State Minister for Tourism, Mr Godfrey Kiwanda, as part of tourism promotion.
“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?” Mr Kiwanda posed.
Ms Ann Mungoma, the lead organiser for the beauty pageant, said she was optimistic that this will enhance the visibility and appreciation of Ugandan people.
“Miss Curvy is an event that will bring out the endowment of the real African woman. It is an exceptional event that will see young ladies showcase their beautiful curves and intellect,” said Ms Mungoma. Only those aged 18 to 35 years are eligible to participate, organisers said.
Mr Kiwanda unveiled the initiative, part of the Tulambule (Let’s Explore) promotion, at Mestil Hotel in Kampala by waving a flag while women in sleek and tight-fitting clothing walk around the poolside taking pictures with the event organisers including with the junior minister.
The initiative has stirred up a storm with the minister now accused of trying to promote sex tourism.
Among those angered by the initiative is a Ugandan woman who has since started an online petition to have the Miss Curvy Uganda contest cancelled.
“I personally feel attacked. This is degrading to 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 Primrose Murungi’s petition reads.
Women say the contest is demeaning as it depicts their bodies as sex objects.
Ms Primrose wants the contest to be cancelled and Mr Kiwanda compelled to offer a public apology for coming up with such an initiative.
“They are objectifying us and reducing women to nothing. Please sign this petition for the ministry of tourism to take down the Miss Curvy challenge and offer an apology to the public as well.”
Tourism is Uganda's top foreign exchange earner with the country earning $1.4 billion last year, according to government statistics.
Most tourists usually visit national parks to see different wildlife species such as gorillas, birds and other animals. The source of the Nile River is also a prime attraction including crater lakes and mountains.
The pearl of Africa is, however, keen to attract more tourists and grow the sector's revenues by adding curvaceous women as one of Uganda’s attractions.