General Idi Amin of Uganda attended a Muslim prayer meeting marking Id Al-Fitr, the end of the fast of Ramadan, on Tuesday (November 7) and said Ugandans were witnessing 'the end of a chapter' in the nation's history and 'the beginning of another'.
General Idi Amin of Uganda attended a Muslim prayer meeting marking Id Al-Fitr, the end of the fast of Ramadan, on Tuesday (November 7) and said Ugandans were witnessing 'the end of a chapter' in the nation's history and 'the beginning of another'. Speaking at the meeting, the day before his deadline for about 40,000 non-citizen Asians to leave the country, he said their expulsion was merely the 'first battle' in the war, and he would next force British-owned farms to be sold to Ugandans. "By January next year, everything will be run by Ugandans" he said.
At Kampala railway station, meanwhile, the last 200 or so Indian citizens were leaving by train for Mombasa to take a ship to India. 'Very few' British-citizen Asians were left in the country, according to a British High Commission spokesman, and those would be out by Wednesday's 90-day expulsion deadline. Of the expelled Asians, most - about 28,000 went to Britain, as the majority in Uganda has opted for British instead of Ugandan citizenship when British colonial rule ended there in 1962. A minority held Indian or Pakistani citizenship, and about 4,000 have gone there in recent weeks. Over four thousand more had gone directly to Canada, where others were making their way via Britain and India. Small numbers were offered homes by at least a dozen other countries.
About eight thousand Ugandan-citizen Asians and others exempt from expulsion were expected to remain in the country - but they would have to sell any property they owned in towns and to and live in villages alongside African peasants and small farmers. A Government spokesman said on Tuesday, reiterating the original announcement of a week earlier, that this move was in line with Government policy that 'in order to achieve unity among Uganda citizens regardless of their origin, all Uganda must live together.
Of the 8,000, about half hold Uganda citizenship. The remainder were exempt from expulsion because the family heads performed key services in medicine, accountancy and other professions.
Asians first settled in East Africa in substantial numbers in the early years of the century, when British colonial rulers imported about 32,000 Gujerati labourers from imperial India to build the Kenya-Uganda railway.
SYNOPSIS: As the last of about forty thousand expelled Asians left Uganda on Tuesday, a day ahead of President Amin's ninety-day expulsion deadline, General Amin himself attended a prayer meeting to mark the Muslim feast of Id Al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan ... warning that the expulsions were 'only the first battle in a war.'
The war, he said, was an economic battle for Ugandans to control their own affairs - and with the Asians out of the way, he would next force British-owned farms to be sold to Ugandan citizens. By January next year, he said, Ugandans would be in control of the entire economy.
But General Amin, who has accused the British Government of plotting his overthrow, and who last month expelled the British High Commissioner, said there was 'nothing wrong between Britain and Uganda'. With the Ugandan economy in its own people's hands, he said the two nations would be 'on the best of terms' - and he hoped to visit Britain to explain his policies.
At Kampala railway station, meanwhile, the last two hundred or so Indian citizens took a train to Mombasa for a ship to India - searched, as usual, by armed police. General Amin's strict currency controls forbade expelled Asians from taking out any valuables, and restricted their currency to nominal sums.
The expelled Asians were those who did NOT hold Ugandan citizenship. About four thousand exemptions were granted to professional men and their families. The majority of those ordered out went to Britain - about twenty-eight-thousand of them - while several thousand went to Canada, India and Pakistan, and smaller numbers were offered homes by at least a dozen other countries.