By Dr Grace Karamura
Asking about the extent to which society has reduced women (read Africans), a columnist in one local daily of Thursday, February 7, 2019 asks, ‘… have we learnt nothing and forgotten nothing from history… has our love for the dollar dried up the last drops of decency we had left?' He asks in reference to a rather bizarre statement from junior minister for tourism who finds it rather attractive to parade Ugandan curvy women as a tourist option! Apparently, many a tourist would flock Uganda for the curvy scenery as they do with other panoramic scenic landscapes and animals.
Is this the far-down we really have to reduce our fellow human beings, parading them as caged animals to satisfy men's curiosity? I say men, because supposing it succeeded, no woman from any part of the world would pay their prized dollar to come and glare at Ugandan curves! Because it would be a male exclusive affair, it probably would attract even more un intended dividends - prostitution, exploitation and abuse.
As a country, we are already worried about the quality and calibre of some, if not, most of our Members of Parliament. Surely, we do not want to worry about our Cabinet ministers too. There are certain offices that compel us to measure our words and actions because of the unintended consequences they are likely to cause. That is partly the reason why most VIPs, in high offices usually write their speeches or are written for them.
Am not sure if it is the same minister and my apologies if not, but about two years or so ago, a whole minister launched Ekikomando supposedly as tourist magnet to the country. Am not sure, if there has been any evaluation about its success since. Uganda is a blessed country, please let us not make a joke of it.
I have travelled world over and am yet to see a country that is as endowed and blessed as Uganda. Name every natural resource and other attractions, Uganda has. We only have to improve and plan for them rather purposely. We may take some of our resources for granted and perhaps that is why outsiders come and make a fortune out of them right under our noses, but time will come when after they are depleted, that we shall appreciate their value. Am sure we can build on whatever else that is being done to improve tourism. Quite often I read about Stephen Asiimwe and his colleagues working tirelessly to promote Uganda.
And there are many ways we can do so. For instance, instead of promoting curvy women, why don't we sufficiently promote and fund sports in schools. In 2012, when Stephen Kiprotich won the gold medal, I was in the US. Within the few minutes of a Ugandan winning a gold medal, I lost count of the number of phone calls from European friends enquiring more about Uganda. A few commented what a beautiful anthem Uganda has. In the few minutes he run, Kiprotich sold Uganda probably much more than some of our embassies have in donkey years. Countries like Kenya, Ethiopia have become tourist magnets partly due to the success of their athletes on the truck.
Of course, the good minister may have been good intentioned as anything that would sell our country for the better should be applauded and supported. But surely not our curvy daughters. Fr. Lokodo, am with thee this time. Bring out your wrath!
Writer is a Ugandan living in the UK