President Amin laid at least 10 allegations against Asians, which he asked them to remedy, before ordering them out of the country.
In an address to leaders of the group in Kampala, Amin expressed displeasure that less than 20 per cent of more than 700 Asians trained as professionals with Uganda government financing had returned to government services.
He claimed, for example, only 15 out of 417 Asians trained as engineers; 15 out of 217 trained as doctors and 18 out of 96 trained as lawyers, worked in government.
We could not independently verify these accounts. When we shared the highlights of the speech with Mr Henry Kyemba, a former principal private secretary and minister in Amin’s government, he yesterday said “they look very familiar”.
“These were validations of economic decisions which were useful to Amin because it was to assist Amin’s economically poor people get rich overnight,” he said.
He added: “That was a terrible disaster; hard work suffered.”
Proponents, however, argued that indigenisation of the economy, as the economic war was baptised, helped in later years to create a cluster of successful native entrepreneurs.
In his December 6, 1971 address to the Asian leaders at the International Conference Centre in Kampala, Amin said some of the grievances Ugandans had raised to his office against Asians included lack of social integration, refusal to rent their premises to blacks or doing so at inflated rates, price discrimination and tax evasion.
He also cited illegal repatriation of forex exchange; disloyalty to Uganda government; economic malpractices, including smuggling and hoarding; offer of bribe to acquire trading licence and citizenship; and, holding onto British passports instead of taking up Uganda citizenship.
In the fourth installment, we explore how expulsion of Asians threw Uganda’s economy into a tailspin. We’ll also publish Amin’s first star Cabinet that tried to hold things together.
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