Uganda ‘Regrets’ Expulsion Of Asians By Idi Amin


By John Ikani 

Fifty years after Ugandan Asians were forced to leave the country by leader Idi Amin, the country’s foreign minister says such decision will never be made again.

In August 1972, tens of thousands of Asians were given 90 days to leave with just £50 and a suitcase. Thousands of the expelled Asians settled in Leicester.

The expulsion took place against the backdrop of Anti-Indian sentiment in Uganda, with Amin accusing a minority of the Asians of disloyalty, non-integration, and commercial malpractice, claims that Indian leaders disputed.

Amin defended the expulsion by arguing that he was “giving Uganda back to ethnic Ugandans”.

He handed properties and businesses of the expelled Asians to his cronies, who promptly ran them into the ground through incompetence and mismanagement.

Idi Amin.

“We have expressed our regrets on many occasions and given reassurances that never again will we allow such a thing happen to the Asians or any minority group in our country,” Henry Okello told the BBC.

Mr Okello said at the time “Indians were the major merchants… every aspect of business belonged to Indians”.

Those expelled have previously complained of lack of adequate compensation by the Ugandan government, but the minister says their lack faith in the new administration was the problem.

“Some did not have faith in the current government and when their properties were given back to them they quickly sold them off for peanuts,” he said.

Mr Okello said there was “a lot that still needs to be done to ensure there is more assimilation of Asians in Uganda” even as cases of mixed marriages grow.

“Things have changed now. Today there’s a new leadership, there’s a new spirit and they should take advantage of it,” he added.

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Publish date : 2022-08-05 16:22:29

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