“Colonialism one of most significant disruptions to Africa’s progress” – President
I would like to welcome our Guest of Honour, HH Aga Khan. His community, the Ismailis, have for a long time contributed to the Economy of Uganda. In my village of Ntungamo from the time of my grand fathers, there were four Indian families, all of them apparently Ismaili, that provided us with all the shop goods ─ textiles (emyeenda), cattle salt (omwoonyo), parafffin (amashita g’etaala), bicycles (amaagari), some cattle drugs (gamatox, etc), scholastic materials (exercise books, pens, pencils, etc), some non-prescription human drugs (aspro, de-wormers, etc), suitcase (eshanduuko, etc), etc., etc. This gave us time to concentrate on our cattle, goats and crops. The Ismaili families in Ntungamo were: Budala (Abdallah); Haali (Ali) and his mother, Nyina-Haali (the mother of Ali); and Hadi (Hadji). In 1956, they were joined by two Yemeni Arabs (Abasiiri ─ Washihiri). These were: Bumbakare (Abubakar) and another one.
During the celebrations, His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary Spiritual leader (Imam) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), was decorated with the most excellent order of the Pearl of Africa medal for his colossal contributions to Uganda’s development and to humanity.
The occasion’s special guest, His Highness the Aga Khan, thanked President Museveni for his invitation and award.
“I am honored to celebrate the occasion of the 55th independence anniversary with you. It was inspiring to watch the National Guard marching. Although my community is small in East Africa, it is my hope that they will participate in improving the lives of Ugandans in all works of life,” he said.