August 2015 \ News \ Independent Day
NRIs’ constitutional recognition

  • Mr Sanjay Tanna, MP Tororo Municipality

 An Indian-origin legislator in Uganda has urged parliament to constitutionally recognise the Indian community as a tribe, a media report said. Mr Sanjay Tanna, a member of parliament from Tororo municipality, made the proposal as parliament debated a constitutional amendment bill recently, the Africa Report reported. "We the Indians, who have lived in Uganda since 1973, should be recognised as Ugandans in the constitution, as it was applied to Rwandans and Burundians," Mr Tanna said. Indians in Uganda are locally called Bayindi, and Tanna is urging the parliament to consider Bayindi as a tribe. While some MPs have rejected Tanna's plea, saying they should be only be recognised as citizens but not as a tribe, some other migrants threw weight behind Tanna's proposal.

"Some (Indians) were here as far back as 1926. They should be recognised as a tribe," another MP echoed Mr Tanna's demand. The debate, which promises to attract a lot of attention, has been adjourned to a later date. Indians first came to Uganda in the late 1800s and early 1900s during the colonial era as construction labourers. The country's non-indigenous Rwandan and Burundian communities have been recognised in Uganda's constitution since 1995 as indigenous tribes. The Indian community had already presented their views on the subject without much success. The Indian diaspora has made tremendous contributions towards the social-economic development in Uganda.

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