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Deputy Police Spokesman Eric Naigambi
"It is morally offensive"
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Friday, 4 August, 2000, 13:21 GMT 14:21 UK
Ugandan uproar over 'nude' beauty contest

The spectacle of beauty queens clad only in banana leaves has stirred controversy in Uganda, after 20 women staged a show that left their audience in utter disbelief.

Pictures of the beauty queens were splashed on front pages of nearly all Uganda's newspapers - even those that claim to abhor anything pornographic.

The contest was organised by a local night club called Jenna in a suburb of the capital, Kampala.

The queens are reported to have paraded their near-naked bodies on stage with uncovered breasts and banana leaf covered waists on stage. They even did not wear underwear.

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The contest has caused a stir in the Ugandan media
Reports say the girls were ordered by their organisers to strip naked and simply cover their private parts with a raw banana leaf. But that did little to conceal their nakedness.

But the organisers have denied the accusations, saying they were equally astonished to see the beauty queens parading themselves naked.


At stake for the contestants was a colour TV for the winner, a black and white TV for the runner-up, and a ticket to visit a local disco club for the third prize.

The organisers have vowed to proceed with the final show on Saturday to choose the winner.

Even in foreign countries, beauty contestants cover their private parts

Aireen Kitui
There were mixed reactions about the nude beauty show.

One woman, Aida Kalyango defended the girls.

"I think it's time we developed a new culture," she said.

"You know, men are interested in watching and seeing naked women. And women want to attract men."

But that was countered by Aireen Kitui who believe a woman "does not have to expose her naked body to prove her beauty.

"Even in foreign countries, beauty contestants cover their private parts," she said.


It is not clear what action the authorities intend to take against the girls or the organisers of the event.

Police cannot say outright what charges they would prefer to bring against the culprits, as they do not know whether the show involved indecent exposure.

The stumbling block would be that, the show was held in a private enclosure and the participants were all said to be above 18.

Minister for Home Affairs Professor Edward Rugumayo accused the contestants of disrespectful behaviour which he claimed was an affront on local tradition and culture.

Professor Rugumayo threatened to have such shows banned in the country or withdraw licences from clubs that stage such demeaning shows.

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