President Museveni tapped into a private visit by American artist Kanye West, and his wife, Kim Kardashian, a reality TV star, to market Uganda, Tourism Minister Ephraim Kamuntu has said.
Mr Museveni met the Wests at State House Entebbe; two days after the celebrity couple arrived in the country for a fun filled trip combining a holiday, philanthropy work and Business.
But the visit has been met with criticism in and out of Uganda. Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine branded the visit immoral and accused the internationally acclaimed rapper of using his influence to hobnob with a president who restricts freedoms and tortures opposition politicians.
There was also speculation that the Ugandan government was funding the trip under the guise of promoting Uganda as a tourism destination.
But Prof Kamuntu said the couple’s visit was a great celebrity endorsement for Uganda and that the president, being the chief marketer of the country, could not let the two leave without an engagement, encouraging them to promote Uganda's Tourism and arts industries.
Kamuntu was addressing journalists in Kampala.
“Kanye is not the first one to meet the president but given the status, attraction and fame that he has, meeting the president is very natural. The President is the chief marketer of Uganda. If you're the country's marketing manager and Kanye comes, why would you not meet him?” Kamuntu said.
Kamuntu says that his ministry and the President are convinced that Kanye west and the family will continue marketing Uganda after their vacation since they have tasted and experienced its natural beauty. Kanye West has also pledged to work with the Government to construct a hospitality training Institute in Uganda to boost the tourism industry, according to Minister Kamuntu.
Kamuntu said that he has since received many calls from all over the world asking about Kanye's visit. He says that the celebrity endorsements on social media will sell Uganda and its beauty to the global audience.
“I have received international calls from all over the world and all of them were asking me about Kanye. Why not join him,” he said.