When former president Idi Amin expelled Asians who did not hold Ugandan citizenship from Uganda in 1972, he allowed those who had registered properties to declare them to the government before leaving the country within 90 days.
Amin, who ruled Uganda with an iron fist for eight years, accused the minority Asians of disloyalty, non-integration, and commercial malpractices before declaring that he was “giving Uganda back to ethnic Ugandans.”
Some information indicates that only about 4,000 of the 23,000 Asians who had been granted Ugandan citizenship opted to remain in the country, while the majority, who feared for their lives, joined the more than 50,000 others who had been given 90 days to leave the country.
Most of them, who were British citizens, went to the United Kingdom, while others fled to Canada, Kenya, and India, among other destinations.
Amin is quoted to have said at the time: “We are determined to make the ordinary Ugandan master of his own destiny, and above all to see that he enjoys the wealth of his country. Our deliberate policy is to transfer the economic control of Uganda into the hands of Ugandans, for the first time in our country’s history.”
Despite the expulsion, one of Amin’s decrees became an Act of Parliament in 1973. This law is known as the Assets of Departed Asians Act”, which commenced on December 7, 1973. This Act gave the departing Asians a leeway to declare their properties, including stock left behind in licensed businesses and these, were vested in the government of Uganda