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Kanye West meets Uganda’s president, gifts pair of sneakers

FILE - In this Sept. 7, 2018, file photo, Kanye West attends the Ralph Lauren 50th Anniversary Event held at Bethesda Terrace in Central Park during New York Fashion Week in New York. West handed Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni a pair of his autographed sneakers on Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, during a visit to the East African nation in which the rapper is said to be recording music in a tent. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP, File)

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Kanye West handed Uganda’s president a pair of his autographed sneakers on Monday during a visit to the East African nation in which the rapper is said to be recording music in a tent.

The 74-year-old President Yoweri Museveni said he and West held “fruitful discussions” about promoting tourism and arts. He also gave West and his wife, reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, “Ugandan” names, the State House said in a Facebook post.

The couple has been vacationing in a national park in Uganda while excited tourism officials see the visit as an endorsement of the country’s tourism potential.

While Uganda’s presidency released photos of a hoodie-wearing West meeting Museveni at the State House, some Ugandans wryly pointed out that the president cracked down on hoodies earlier this year, saying motorcycle riders could no longer wear them in a bid to fight rising crime.

Museveni, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, has been at the center of unrest in recent weeks after a local pop star-turned-opposition lawmaker, Bobi Wine, alleged torture by security forces. The government denies it.

Uganda’s large youth population has increasingly expressed frustration over unemployment and accused the president of being out of touch. The government recently imposed a tax on social media and the constitution was changed to remove an age limit on the presidency, leading some to worry that Museveni plans to rule for life.

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