African Press International (API)

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“Was Idi Amin really bad when he chased the Asians out of Uganda?” – I disagree with this article …everything is wrong here!

Posted by African Press International on December 18, 2011

By fazale laxmidhar:

“My grandfather who came to Uganda to call it home in 1800th., used to tell us, some Ugandan races, used to kill one another and were man-eaters. This frightened many Asian from settling in Uganda. It is in Ugandan history that some tribes were man-eaters and there wer no laws to protect anybody from being eaten by their fellow Ugandan.”

I disagree with API when they come up with a story attacking Asians in this way, and making them look like they enslaved the black Ugandans. I find this writing not relevant to the situation during Idi Amin’s time.
Either this writer was not born during that time or never understood the facts of situation during that time. He is very wrong to write this article, being bias to only, few interviewed people, he calls them Slaves of Asians.

I am reacting to this story below:

I wonder how many, chased Asians ( who were Ugandan born Citizens), API interviewed, before writing this article. It’s all wrong and with a one-sided conclusion of the writer’s perceptions. I also wonder whom he is trying to please by putting others down without knowing facts or reading History of the country.
He may have never learnt about the  class system in Human races and this is a law on Nature. There are poor people, middle class and rich or Elite. You cannot generalise all as the same because they all behave differently in their surroundings.
I wonder how many Elite Ugandans sit down with their poor beggars and share same food together even in today’s Ugandans. I may even wonder if they also practise same class system with them.
This should answer your writing that among black Ugandans, there are people who are first class, we call the rich or Elite, or go by their tribes and third class Ugandans who may be beggar’s class like you mentioned, of  those in India.
You also need to know any Indian or as you call them Asians, who were in Uganda all were different kind of Asians, they were very much Ugandans than Indians. They were in Uganda before you were born.

They were business class from 1800 and on, not like the chinese who are coming in the country now.
And if we talk about the 1800th., the Ugandans were also believing in class systems, there were kings of different regions and some were just ordinary followers. I could say third class citizens, but black Ugandans as well just like their Kings.
My grandfather who came to Uganda to call it home in 1800th., used to tell us, some Ugandan races, used to kill one another and were man-eaters. This frightened many Asian from settling in Uganda. It is in Ugandan history that some tribes were man-eaters and there wer no laws to protect anybody from being eaten by their fellow Ugandan.
One thing you need to understand is that Asians who lived in Uganda were just feeling as Ugandan as any Ugandan today, Even today I hold a citizenship of another country, my new country’s passport says I was Ugandan born.
You need to tell me how I can ever change this. I also have Ugandan Birth certificate to prove that.
Now lets talk about Idi Amin. May be he was as smart as you are who has this article published:  How can any body throw Ugandans out of country? You have to believe in a dream. Why don’t you right about his dream?
Yes, Ugandan Asians practised class system in their on way. Some were upper class and some were middle class and lower class among themselves. Also some practised by their religious beliefs and wealth. However, they were there
for many years, some into their third generation – born there, they should not be compared with any other Asians, they were Ugandans first. If some of them have decided to come back to Uganda it a good fortune for the country that they still strongly believe in because they were born there, and may be an asset to country.
Uganda economically does not have much to offer to a wise businessman. A wise Businessman can do better in any other country given the same environment and I can assure you that being a third generation Ugandans I know, some are far better in their new settlements and have done much better than what their parents did in Uganda, economically.
This is not, because they are Ugandans, but they were properly nurtured  as good business people from Uganda, and they have proved to their new country, how well nurtured they are ,after being thrown out, without any reason and due to a dream of a “so-called wise-man” Idi Amin.
In your article you write:A big problem is the fact that the Asian community in Africa stick to themselves and even in marriage because as Amin said, they are not ready to be integrated with the Africans.”

I say that nobody has any rights over other person’s beliefs. The above statement is true, in its belief, you need to know that among Asians, also there is class system, they just don’t marry each other without knowing the class. Example: Muslim Asian may not marry Hindu Asian, even if they look the same in color. Upper class Asian will not marry a lower class Asian. You are Educated, you must have read it before.
As you continue in your article, you also write: “They should be welcomed as long as they understand that the black Ugandan is no longer going to be their slave.”
You need to read history before publishing. In no country do I see slaves, you are degrading yourself with this statement.

Yes, if you have somebody working for you at a lower salary, levelled to their experience, you call him slave labour?. You need to know that every job position has its rate of earnings, If a Black Ugandan Elite hires any help for himself, does he pay him any different from any Asian?  How come you think any different of Asian engaging in slave trade.
Normally people  move to, where they get better pay. I am sure, if you were working in western country, doing the same writing job, you would be, earning much more than what you make now, does that mean you are slaving yourself now or that’s, just what your work can pay where you are.
I am saddened by your writing, about the Asians of Uganda. To you it looks like they were just recent immigrants like the chinese people. People like me were Ugandan born, I should have same rights you have under International law. They were just not somebody, Idi Amin threw them away at gun- point, from country they were born and had citizenship. I had a gun on my head to sign some papers – it was a machine gun. I had no idea what I was signing then, but I just was told to sign it. Most of the Asian Ugandans did this. Why don’t you find out and right about it.
Stop insulting them by calling them Asians. Yes they were brown Ugandans, just like Buganda, Busoga, Toro people, Langi and so on…
My last word of advice to you is ….Please Do not insult your own citizens, you are being racist.

A photograph of people from 1945, and my grandfather is in that picture sitting in front raw with the King of Busoga, Mr W W k Wilberforce Nadiope, who was a family friend, and always had visited us, when in town, he was welcome to my mother’s cooking which he loved and always honoured with great respect. - Asians enjoyed with Kings of Uganda before Idi Amin kicked them out of the country - Asians enjoyed with Kings of Uganda before Idi Amin kicked them out of the country


4 Responses to ““Was Idi Amin really bad when he chased the Asians out of Uganda?” – I disagree with this article …everything is wrong here!”

  1. lissette hoarau said

    where can the part 1 and part2 be seen….please send the link..



  2. I was quite saddened to see the original post and the above reply by the chief editor of this forum. Many of his remarks verge on racism. The Asians – that’s the term we were given by the British during the colonial era and that they/we cultivated assiduously in Uganda after India’s partition – amassed a lot of wealth as traders, ginners, coffee hullers, estate owners, professionals and industrialists until 1972. One percent took away >2/3 of the nonfood GDP. Africans were MIA because of the way the colonial power stacked up things. No wonder there was a lot of agitation against Asians throughout the colonial period, for giving African cotton- and coffee-growers such low prices compared to world-market prices, but that was the colonial capitalist system. Current African entrepreneurs pay even lower wages to their domestic and other work force than Indians. Also what is not realized by most critics is that when we say “Indian” now, a whole new stratum of Indian immigrants has come in on top of the oligino Asians – 22 thousands compared 1222 pages, focusing on the 1972 expulsion in people’s own words, but also telling the stories of our pioneers and people in the diaspora and those who came back. It’s our last chance to tell that story as not many pre-1972 Uganda Asians are left in the world today. God gave me the strength to tell that story and luckily for me Asian leaders here and in the diaspora recognize the service to the community embodied in my book. So do African leaders who figure in my book for their association with the expulsion. The book’s evidently a monumental task – 12/7 for the last 4.9 years. It will launch in time for the Golden Jubilee celebrations. The President has just given an endorsing message. One message should be forthcoming from HH Kabaka – and who knows from HH Aga Khan, for the role he and Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan played in our evacuation, which has been documented in my book.
    The chief editor says we have to have a sense of proportion vis a vis the atrocities committed by Dada. I think my book has that. Sixty thousand people were expelled in 90 days, at the most 5 people lost their lives from kondos, compared to 150,000 Africans killed by Amin Dada – compared to 0.4 million people genocided in Rwanda in less time. I have all that. We’ll see the reaction around September, won’t we?!
    I am Vali Jamal, BA Cambridge (Trinity College), PhD Stanford, Senior Research Economist, ILO, 1976-2001. I have been back in Uganda since 2005. My book is called Uganda Asians: Then and Now, Here and There, We contributed, We Contribute. It will even be printed in Uganda to sustain a claim to being 100% Made in Uganda – researched, written, designed, printed and packaged in Uganda.


  3. Anonymous said

    Wow! if it was not for the Asians who gave up everything to build Uganda – where would Uganda be?? What about the citizens that were borne there? Not only did Idi Amin expell the Asians, but he was also responsible for killing thousands of Ugandans. It is sad how you try to turn history around, too bad you did not have to go thru it. Rember only racists make it a racial issue. I remeber we lived in harmoney with seven different tribes. No race, just helping each other. We sacrified our blood and tears for “our” country, too bad the political issue of the day did not see that. The night we were to depart, all the Chief of the tribes were at out house in tears. Do you have any idea what they went thru? When my dad arrived to Uganda, he fould these precious people naked. He clothed them, taught them farming, how to live off the land, use of sugar, coffee, tea, buildings etc. Sir, you have NO IDEA what we gave up for Uganda.

    But looking at what you believe – I’m not sure you’ll understand this since you have no idea what it is like to give up everything for someone else.

    Just a proud formar Ugandan.


  4. Fazale,

    I can see through your writing that you have a lot of pain when you hear people agree with the throwing out of Asians from Uganda. It should be clear to you also that those who were enslaved by the Asians, (and still some Asians in many African countries use Africans very badly), have the right to bring things to light..
    You will find a child of an Asian businessman abusing a grown up black worker in the home and nothing is done by the parents.
    Most children of the Asian businessmen are terrible in mistreating those grown up people who work for their parents. There is no other solution than to say “It must stop forthwith!.

    Those Asians who lost property, yes, I pitty or rather symphatise with some of them but not all. Most of them were crooked businessmen.

    Please do not call for symphaty. When you say your grandfather called Uganda home in the 1800th., what does that tell you? — Uganda is African, for God’s sake. Why did he not call an Asian country home in the 1800th hundred? He simply found Uganda and Ugandans suitable because he could mistreat the people there while making himself rich.

    Listen to part 1 and part 2 of the film that is on our site about Asians returning to Uganda. Why do they want to return even after they were forced out? Because when they settled in the west, they found no people to enslave. They have to do everything themsleves.

    It is very painful to listen to the film part 1 and 2 titled “Return to Uganda” because those who speak in the film do not even apologise for the attrocities they or their ancestors committed against the Ugandan blacks. Instead, they are only talking about how good they had it and how successful they wanted to become.

    Recently we saw the riots in Uganda, riots that destroyed some of the businesses of those who have returned – what next – I am afraid that some anger inside the black Ugandan man and woman is brewing and we do not know the end result. My sincere advice to those Asians who have returned to Uganda is pretty simple: They should quietly go about their businesses instead of trying to do like the years before Idi Amin came to power and cleaned the country the way he did, although he did not do everthing right for his people. Do not complain, thank President Museveni for having allowed the Asians back. I am sure if President Museveni had taken the case for a referendum before allowing the Asians back into the country, the Ugandans will have refused the Asians to return.

    We all know this is very sensitive topic, so we better cool our feelings and abandon desire to be rich at all costs.

    Chief editor, API


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