By Joseph Ssemutooke
The first non-British Speaker of Parliament of Uganda, Narendra M. Patel, has called for a restoration of his Ugandan nationality.
During an interaction with members of the Indian Association of Uganda, Narendra, who was in Kampala for the Golden Jubilee celebrations, said it is his wish that he flies out of the country with his citizenship.
He lost it in 1972 after Idi Amin expelled all Asians from the country.
“It is the biggest gift I can get from Uganda on this occasion,” the 85-year old Narendra, who has lived in India and Australia since 1973, told the leaders of the Indian Association.
“I love Uganda very much. I love it as much as I love India. I contributed what I could to its progress and I would want to once again be its official citizen,” he added.
Narendra, who became Speaker of Parliament in 1963, served until 1971 when Amin overthrew the Obote I regime.
On Wednesday, Eunice Kisembo, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, said Narendra has to apply to regain his citizenship.
“He will get it because dual citizenship was formally accepted in Uganda, following an amendment of the Citizenship and Immigrations Act, which formerly didn’t allow for dual citizenship in Uganda,” he said.
Narendra is one of six Ugandans of Indian origin who were last weekend honoured by the Indian community in Uganda for representing the minority in the country’s politics.