UK’s Indian community hails Museveni as they mark 50 years since they were evicted by Amin

They sat in their chairs suppressing the urge to burst with emotion, clinging to the deepest memories they held for 50 years, reminiscing about the good times in Uganda before such a life snatched from them, thanks to a sudden dream of then President Idi Amin Dada.

Exactly 50 years ago (1972), Idi Amin opened a dark and shameful chapter when he decreed that more than 50,000 Ugandan Indians who had known only Uganda as their homeland had to leave their country to start a new life. somewhere else.

Many of them would later end up migrating to the United Kingdom (UK), albeit at random, with some landing with less than a penny to their name.

Half a century later, on Sunday September 11, 2022, at Anoopam Mission, Swaminarayan Temple in Denham, London, some of these Indians and their families came together to mark the day and pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.

Speaker after speaker, they shared how the debacle of 1972 threw a temporary curtain on their lives, while basking in positive testimonies of how this predicament propelled them to greater heights.

Lord Dollar Popat, the British Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Uganda, spoke to cheers when he said, “This (the UK) is my home, but my heart is always in Uganda.”

Lord Popat, who was born in Busolwe, now Butaleja district and brought up in Tororo district, thanked President Museveni for the “good treatment” of the Indian community.

He urged the President to appoint more ministers and senior officials of Indian origin while commending the President for choosing H.E. Nimisha Madhvani as Uganda’s High Commissioner to the UK which he said is galvanizing friendship between Uganda and India. Community.

“The friendship between Uganda and the Asian community generated about 240 million pounds. The British government chose me to take over trade in Uganda, and added Rwanda and DRC, being Ugandan myself. I am happy that we are now at around 5 billion pounds. Of course, this is also an effort by President Museveni to unite the Asian community,” he said.

HE Nimisha Madhvani also commended President Museveni for fostering unity among the Indian community in Uganda and the UK.

“President Museveni brought us together here. For example, I am a refugee but he made me a high commissioner,” she said.

A section of Indians living in the UK and their families gathered at Anoopam Mission, Swaminarayan Temple in Denham, London to mark 50 years since they were expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin.

Lord Rami Ranger, a successful British businessman, was impressed with Uganda’s choice to work with the Indian community, adding that it would lead to shared success.

He also praised his fellow Asians for turning the bad times that followed Amin’s expulsion into great successes, adding that “Uganda rejects are doing very well in the UK”.

Speaking on behalf of President Museveni, Foreign Minister General Abubaker Jeje Odongo thanked the Asian community for maintaining its confidence in Uganda despite the 1972 disaster.

“Many of you arrived here penniless and destitute, but thanks to your resilience, you not only survived, but thrived,” General Odongo said.

He invited them all to the upcoming celebrations on October 15 in Kampala, Uganda to mark 100 years of the Asian community in Uganda.

This, he said, shows how much the National Resistance Movement (NRM) brotherhood appreciates the contribution of its community and the willingness of President Museveni’s government to continue working with it.

Foreign Minister General Abubaker Jeje Odongo (R) who represented President Museveni at the event, interacting with some members of the UK Indian community.

In 1986, President Museveni welcomed the Asian community back to Uganda and returned their property to them. According to President Museveni, the Asian community has played a leading role in the social and industrial development of Uganda.

Already, Asians like former High Court Judge Anup Sing Choudry have been appointed to serve at the highest levels of Uganda’s judiciary. Others, like swimmer Supra Singhal, have represented the country at the Olympics. Uganda’s strong reputation for academia is backed by figures like Professor Mahmood Mamdani.

Others and their descendants remained in countries like Britain that welcomed them. From Home Secretary Priti Patel to Liberal Democrat Lord Verjee, to Asif Din who played cricket for Warwickshire, scoring a hundred and winning the 1993 Man of the Match award and the Natwest Trophy Knal, widely regarded as the best national Knal.

President Museveni told Asians: “Many of you contribute to political, commercial and cultural life. Trade between our two nations remains strong; we want to go even further. Thanks to the Commonwealth, we have a unique way to do this. We should use it to trade closer and better, and make it what it should be: the vehicle of our common future. »

The event was also attended by the Minister of State for Investment and Privatization, Hon. Evelyn Anite, the Presidential Advisor for Special Duties, Mr. Odrek Rwabwogo, Executive Director of the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), Mr. Robert Mukiza, the Chairman of the UIA Board of Directors, Mr. Morrison Rwakakamba and veteran legislator, Dokolo Woman MP, Hon. Cecilia Ogwal, among others.

As a sign of renewed hope and friendships, five trees were planted at the height of the event.

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