Why Ravi succumbed to pressure ahead of Modi’s visit

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Kagenyi Lukka

Kagenyi Lukka

Between the lines “This would essentially depict the envoy as a divisive character with no or less ability to unite the Indian Communities in Uganda”

The mood is upbeat as the visit of Indian Prime minister.

Passing through Kampala, one can’t fail to see big banners with welcome messages.

Narendra Modi, 67, who is the 14th Prime minister of India, is set to visit Uganda on 24th July 2018.

His visit is so significant in strengthening bilateral ties between the two nations which are at different stages of development.

With a population over 1.3 billion people, ties between the two countries present a forest of opportunities to Uganda in areas of business such as investment, trade, employment opportunities, tourism and education.

According to the International monetary Fund (IMF), the Indian economy in 2017 was nominally worth US$2.611 trillion; it is the sixth-largest economy by market exchange rates, and is, at US$9.459 trillion, the third largest by purchasing power parity (PPP).

Modi will be accompanied by a big delegation of people from different areas such as business, diplomacy among others.

The above belaboured, preparations ahead of Modi’s visit have been courted by accusations of arrogance, corruption and lack of accountability, arbitrariness and side-lining of certain sections of Indian associations in Uganda.

This prompted resistance from over 15 groups of the Indian community in Uganda which accused the Indian envoy to Uganda, Ravi Shankar of appointing a committee that isn’t representative.

The committee of 10he was to be co-chaired by Mr Mohan Rao and Mr. Pradip Karia.

The dissatisfied associations include among others; Lohanna, Hindu Council of Africa, Jitu Sorathiya, North Gujarat Association, Paresh Mehta, Paresh Sharma, North Gyorat Association, Howadhan Community and Shurashtra Hindu.

These associations petitions petitioned Ravi on 5th July to disband the organizing committee or they boycott the prime minister’s visit.

They wanted at least a committee of 20 representatives from various Indian Associations, bodies and unions nominated.

Relatedly, the aggrieved groups accused the organizers conniving with embattled former Rubaga North MP who is also a former LC1 Candidate, Sigh Katongole.

Ravi yields to pressure

In a twist of events, the Indian high commissioner has yielded to pressure from the aggrieved communities and accepted to expand the organizing committee to co-opt 6 more members.

In a closed door meeting at Kyadondo road, Ravi Shankar, the Indian high commissioner, yesterday yielded to pressure from 15 enraged leaders of Indian community and associations, and co-opted six members on the disputed the organizing committee.

The new members of the committee are; Mr Jitu Sorathiya, Mr Paresh Mehta, Mr. Sanjay Adhiya, Mr Nareshbhai Patel, Mr. Daxesh Patel and Mr. Raju Hirani.

The million dollar question is why Shankar changed his mind?

Because the aggrieved groups had threatened to petition Delhi, Mr. Ravi perhaps feared that he would lose his much coveted as the high commissioner to Uganda.

Secondly, Mr. Ravi would be embarrassed before Prime Minister Modi as the 15 associations had threatened to boycott the visit.

This would essentially depict the envoy as a divisive character with no or less ability to unite the Indian Communities in Uganda.

Furthermore, it was the best way to deal with accusations of corruption and lack of transparence plus connivance with a few.

In sum, the Indian high commissioner had no option, but to oblige to the demands of the associations which are ably representative of the over 30000 Indians living and working in Uganda.

 Kagenyi Lukka is a current affairs analyst and the next MP,Ikiiki.

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