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Miss Curvy: Kenyan TV girl sues Uganda govt over unauthorised use of her photo

She has demanded Shs36 billion equivalent in Kenya Shilling for the unathorised use of her image and likeness in the Miss Curvy Uganda promotional poster.

Follow: @Crime24UG

SCANDAL | A Kenyan television personality says she has served Ugandan government and organisers of the controversial “Miss Curvy” tourism promotion pageant with legal notice over unauthorised use of her image in the campaign poster.

Grace Msalame accuses the organisers of the controversial event of deliberate and calculated use of her image and likeness to promote and encourage the violation of women’s bodies, which she says has defamed her character and reputation, damaged a brand that she has worked for many years to establish.

Sendo Cleaners

She also says the goof in using her image and likeness has subjected her to unwarranted and underserved cyber bullying.

Msalame, who has gained prominence in Nairobi for her hips as much as for her talent on the silver screen is said to be demanding KShs1 billion (about Shs36 billion) in damages from Uganda government for the faux pas.

The 33-year-old mother of two is content and acquisitions manager at Bamba TV in Nairobi and brand ambassador for Vivo ActiveWear, a Kenyan women fashion label.

Already, the Ministry of Tourism is receiving all of flak for its campaign to showcase Uganda as the sanctuary for curvy women.

Ann Mungoma, the lead organiser for the controversial pageant, said at the launch that they were optimistic that when these ladies flaunt their endowments, it 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.
Only those aged 18 and below 35 are eligible to participate,'” she said.

But in an embarrassing goof, Mungoma, Minister Godfrey Kiwanda and all the brains at Uganda Tourism Board and other technocrats at the ministry appear to have sampled Ugandan women long enough and, with disappointment, decided the country has women alluringly curvy enough and picked Kenya’s  Msalame as the official face of their Miss Curvy Uganda contest.

That faux appear now appears more costly than whatever millions of taxpayers sweat Kiwanda and his team had earmarked for the pageant — if they have to pay Msalame what she demands.

On Wednesday, Msalame tweeted that she was unaware of the campaign and that after learning of the use of her image on the poster, she had instructed her legal team to handle the matter.

In a statement that she later shared on her page, Msalame said she took “great exception” to the fact that her image and likeness was being used to “propagate, disseminate and encourage the objectification of women’s bodies.”

“I do not endorse or agree with such a message or anyone who is a creator or supporter of the idea that women’s bodies are tourist attraction sites. A person’s body is the only and one God-given thing they have, a gift from the creator that is and should be a true and constant reminder that we are made in His image,” she said.

On her profile on InformationCradle, the mother of twins — who is famous in Kenya as a “celebrity who really knows how to dress her hot, curvy body,” said the fuller Africa woman is supposed to be celebrated, but pointed out that being healthy is key.

She described her style as sexy, expressive, yet very comfortable and at least have a touch of flair (originality).

“Incidentally, as I type this, I’m tagged on a list of “celebs” that use enlargement pills for their hips and derrière! This is another laughing matter,” she said.

“Those who know me, know my body is genetic. I am getting fatter as I grow older. My hormones are all over the place, so if I eat badly and don’t work out as I should, these are the results, but that’s probably too boring for blogs! They need to juice up the story with fabrications.”

Msalame is assertive about the sanctity of a woman’s body and recently took down a cyber bully who tried to body-shame her. And, from the tone in her statement, she appears ready to grab Kiwanda by the horns to teach him a lesson about why to never objectify a woman’s body.

“Women’s bodies should be respected and every woman’s fundamental right to human dignity should be upheld and protected. I reject any association to me that has been unlawfully created by Miss Curvy Uganda 2019 and its supporters or agents,” Msalame said.

“I take this opportunity to clearly state that I strongly and categorically reject the message that women’s “curves, arms, waists, and bodies” are “stories to sell” for tourism. I strongly and categorically reject the message and notion that tourism begins with women and their bodies.”

Incidentally, it is not the first time Ugandans have claimed Msalame’s body endowment. In March 2017, Red Pepper listed Msalame as one of the sexiest Ugandans under the headline, “Elusive Ugandan sex sirens listed.”

However, in their goof, the Red Pepper used her photo — the same one used by Kiwanda and his team — but identified her as “Christabelle Shantal Umwiza.” The account by the same name on Facebook today belongs to a call girl who lives in Kigali, Rwanda, and studied at Makerere University Kampala — just like everyone else on Facebook.

Having had enough of Ugandans using her image without her consent, Msalame says she strongly and categorically rejects the message and idea that women’s bodies can be used by state agencies to generate state revenue.

“I strongly and categorically reject a message that pits women of different sizes against each other. I am in no way associated with an activity that objectifies women in the name of promoting culture. Women are people, they are not sex objects,” the Kenyan said.

Already, Msalame has a backing in the mold of Fr Simon Lokodo, the ethics and integrity minister, who said Wednesday that the controversial pageant will not take place.

“My brother Kiwanda is misguided. This thing they are doing is very bad for the country. Uganda is a moral country. We have so many things we can use instead of women’s bodies,” Lokodo is quoted by Monitor’s Sqoop as saying.

This news website has yet to confirm from the Attorney General whether Msalame’s lawyers have already served the notice as per Msalame’s claims.

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