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Aga Khan here for 55th Uhuru celebrations

Museveni welcomes The Aga Khan to Uganda at State House. PHOTO PPU

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  The Aga Khan has arrived to join Ugandans as they celebrate their 55th Independence Day, October 9.  He is a special guest at Monday’s celebrations in Bushenyi and will receive an honour for his contribution to the social and economic development of Uganda.

President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday received The Aga Khan and his delegation at State House Entebbe.  Museveni and his guest briefly held discussions on matters of mutual interest.

The Aga Khan told his host that he was looking forward to attending Uganda’s historical event of her independence in Bushenyi district. The theme for this year’s independence is, “Uganda’s freedom must be anchored in the spirit of hard work, resilience and commitment.”

The Aga Khan is the 49th hereditary spiritual leader (Imam) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims. (Full profile page 2)

A lot to celebrate

“Our freedom reminds us of the sacrifice of our freedom fighters and their devotion to the cause of freedom through struggle and sacrifice. On this occasion, we remember those people who sacrificed most of their youthful years to force our colonial masters to give us self-rule,” a statement from the Ministry for the Presidency said ahead of the celebrations.

The statement added that, “On this day, we need to remember all the people who contributed to the building of our country. Political leaders, civil servants and ordinary men and women have in their daily lives contributed to the building of our country. Mounting pressure to the colonial administration, organizing through workers’ unions, militant agitations and other forms of demand for independence not until 9th October 1962 that the masters had to yield and grant the independence.”

“The list of these young elites that mounted pressure on the colonial masters that led to the eventual granting of independence is endless and forever we shall be indebted to each and every one in equal measure for their sacrifices.”

“Therefore, as we gather to celebrate this great day in Bushenyi it is imperative that all citizens of Uganda reflect on the nature of commitment of each and every individual can offer in transforming our Motherland to a Middle Income status by 2020.”

3 comments

  1. Congratulations to all Ugandans on the 55th Independence day. I was born in Uganda and look forward to more progress in Uganda for Ugandans.

  2. Vali I V Jamal, PhD

    >>will receive an honor for the economic contributions he has made to the Uganda.<< Pretty pathetic coverage – if that's all will be mentioned today! Aga Khan is being honoured [sic: we have to use UK English in Uganda] this year since it is his Diamond Jubilee of becoming the Aga Khan – i.e. the Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims. In those 60 years he contributed much more than as an investor. His schools and dispensaries were the first to open up to African students and patients. His "coronation" – Takhtnashini – in August 1957 took place in Kampala on the grounds of his jamatkhana, no less, when the Lukiko withdrew their consent that the ceremony be conducted at Nakivubo stadium. They said only Baganda kings could be crowned on public land in Buganda. Then in 1972 the Highness played a hero’s role (to Uganda Asians) of negotiating the settlement of seven thousand or so stateless Uganda Asians (a majority Ismailis) in Canada through his friendship with the Canadian prime minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau. His uncle Prince Sadruddin played an equally heroic role as head of the UNHCR in rescuing six thousand or so stateless Uganda Asians and taking them to refugee centres in Europe. At this time UNHCR were having to cope with the displacement of 500,000 people from South Sudan, many to Uganda! So the Aga Khan and his uncle are part of that history and let us not forget most Uganda histories do use the 1972 expulsion as a pivot point. The other pivot is the advent of the NRM administration. The Aga Khan was one of the early "returnees" to Uganda when his schools, dispensaries and prayer halls were restored to him. That then brought out the investor in the Aga Khan – the Monitor newspaper, the Serena Hotel, and what will be remembered tomorrow, the almost-billion-dollar 260MW Bujagali hydro project. Sure a great investor, but you don't get the Most Excellent Order of the Pearl of Africa for just that. That’s what the medal will be – a medal in the form of a 10kg gold chain reserved for Heads of States. Commercial: ALL of the above is recorded in my book Uganda Asians, now completed at 2333 pages, 1.8 million words. It started as a magazine for the Aga Khan’s Golden Jubilee (August 2007) and ends in his Diamond Jubilee year. H E President has endorsed it twice as “a national asset in Uganda’s commercial diplomacy.” Governor of the Bank of Uganda Professor Tumusiime-Mutebile has said I contributed 1.8 million words to Uganda’s “intellectual GDP.” He said that would translate to Uganda’s “real GDP” by show-casing the “new” Uganda. I said how about my “pocket’s GDP” and we booth just LOLOLOL. He’s a friend.

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