UGANDA’S high commissioner to the UK, Nimisha Madhvani, has paid tribute to the Asian refugees who rebuilt their lives after they were expelled by dictator Idi Amin in 1972.
Madhvani was a teenager when Amin ordered thousands of Asians to leave Uganda; many arrived in Britain and started from scratch.
At an event in Denham last weekend to mark 50 years of the expulsion, she said she was deeply humbled to represent the east African nation, called the ‘Pearl of Africa’, in the UK.
“Yesterday’s refugee, an ambassador today. I feel intensely proud and privileged of my ancestral roots and the legacy left behind by my parents and ancestors. Together we can make a real and lasting difference to the lives and livelihoods of all people, not just those who happen to be from Uganda,” she said.
Guests who gathered for the occasion also paid tribute to the late Queen who Madhvani described as “a role model to so many of us”.
She also thanked Ugandan president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for sending a condolence message to King Charles III, the new monarch, and the Royal Family following the Queen’s death on September 8.
Museveni was scheduled to visit the UK for the anniversary event in London, and other appointments, but it was cancelled because of the Queen’s death.
Madhvani recalled an editorial where Museveni recently paid tribute to the Queen, saying he had been following her leadership since 1952, when she became the monarch, initially through the media and later through direct interactions at Commonwealth heads of government meetings (CHOGMs).
Ugandan foreign minister Jeje Odongo, who spoke on behalf of the president last weekend, will represent Museveni at the Queen’s funeral on Monday (19).
The gathering at Anoopam Mission saw prominent Asians including Lord Dolar Popat, the UK’s trade envoy to Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda; businessmen Harshad Modha and Sanjay Rughani; entrepreneur Satish Chatwani, among others, who have connections with Uganda.
Former Ugandan envoy to the UK, Joyce Kikafunda; Lord Rami Ranger; Madhvani’s uncle Mayur and brother Amit; and an Ugandan delegation including Cecilia Ogwal; ambassador Ocwet; and Odrek Rwabogo, presidential advisor for exports promotion, were also present.