Preparations for Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s visit that had been marred by divisionism among the Indian community in Uganda, has now been put to rest following a high level meeting held at the Indian High Commission on Wednesday, July 11.
Two weeks since the news of Modi’s July 24 impending visit broke out; a number of concerns had been raised by some sections of the Indian community.
The meeting was prompted by a petition from a group of 15 Indian associations, who petitioned the Indian High Commissioner to Uganda, Mr Shri Ravi Shankar, on July 5, rejecting the earlier 10-member organising committee for Modi’s visit.
They threatened to stay away from preparations for his visit. They cited lack of inclusion, poor accountability and the manner in which the organising committee was picked for the preparations.
During the closed-door meeting, the Indian high commissioner had to succumb to the petition from the 15 enraged leaders of Indian community and associations, and brought on board, six new members on the disputed organizing committee for Modi’s visit. This now brings to 16, the number of members in the organising committee
As Modi’s visit draws near, Mr Shankar, on Wednesday had to meet the leaders of the aggrieved groups.
Reports from the closed-door meeting at the Indian High Commission on Kyadondo Road in Kampala, indicate that the parties agreed to work together for the success of the event. The aggrieved leaders also undertook to communicate the decision to their clans.
“We sorted out the matters that were being petitioned and there is no divisionism in the Indian community. It is about working in harmony. We are fortunate that despite Prime Minister Modi’s tight schedule, he will be able to address the community,” said Pradid during a press conference at Kati Kati restaurant on Wednesday.
According to Trushar Upadhyay, who heads communications committee, said all the new members brought on board, have already joined the sub-committees and started work.
“All is well, we had a fruitful meeting and I appeal to all of us to join hands as we welcome Prime Minister Modi on this very important occasion,” said Trushar.
In the meeting at the Indian High Commission attended by 62 Indian community leaders from the NAMO Community Forum Uganda, it was agreed that the earlier team of 10 and the newly appointed 6, work together for the success of Prime Minister Modi’s visit.
Sources who attended the meeting at the Indian High Commission in Kampala told The Observer that some leaders had threatened to petition New Delhi if the Indian Commissioner, Mr Shankar, did not bow down to their demands. Others, according to sources, had planned to walk out if their demands were not met.
Those who cited irregularities in the earlier 10-member- committee had demanded that the organizing committee caters for all interests of Indians living in Uganda. The meeting, that had apparently looked tenses, according to sources, ended amicably as the newly constituted 16-member committee agreed to work together.
“We are happy to announce that so far 5,600 members have been registered online to attend the event and we are expecting between 8,000 to 10,000 in the next coming days,” a statement from NAMO Community Forum Uganda said.
Mr Modi is expected to visit the country on July 24 at the invitation of President Museveni for bilateral talks at State House Entebbe. Mr Modi is also expected to meet part of the more than 30,000 Indians living and working in Uganda at Kololo Independence grounds.