THE AGA KHAN ARRIVES FOR A 12-DAY TOUR IN AFRICA - 2007-08-12
2007, August 12: His Highness the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, arrives in the country today to begin a 12-day official visit of the East African region.
The Nation (Nairobi)
13 August 2007
East Africa: Aga Khan Arrives for Tour of Region
The Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims, arrived in Nairobi yesterday for the first leg of a 12-day official visit to East Africa.
The plane carrying the Aga Khan landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 5 pm to a red carpet reception by the Government.
He was received by Foreign Affairs minister Raphael Tuju and leaders of the Ismaili community led by the Aga Khan Development Network resident representative, Mr Aziz Bhaloo.
The chairman of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims, Prof Abdulghafur El Bussaidy, was also at the airport to welcome him.
The Aga Khan was entertained by traditional dancers from Bomas of Kenya before signing the visitors' book at the Presidential Pavilion.
Hundreds of Ismaili Muslims, waving the symbolic green and red strip flag, thronged the airport to receive their spiritual leader.
The Aga Khan celebrated 50 years as spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims last month.
The current tour, which will cover Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, will be his first in the region since completing half-a-century as the Imam of the 15 million Ismaili Muslims living in some 25 countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and North America.
Fifty years ago, at the age of 20, the Aga Khan succeeded his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, as the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims. During the trip, the Aga Khan will meet members of the Ismaili community and hold talks with President Kibaki and top government officials.
He will also inaugurate various projects under AKDN, the umbrella organisation that operates various development agencies in the region.
The Imam's jubilee celebrations offer an opportunity to launch new social, cultural and economic development projects.
Some of the memorable projects launched during the jubilees of his grandfather, Aga Khan III, include the Diamond Jubilee Trust Bank and the Jubilee Investment Trust, which continue to serve the people of East Africa.
In Nairobi, the Aga Khan will launch the Faculty of Health Sciences of the East Africa chapter of the Aga Khan University.
He will then preside over the laying of the foundation stone for the residential campus of the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa, the new Aga Khan Academy in Kampala and Uganda's Bujagali Hydro Power Project.
While in Mombasa, the Imam will also participate in the silver jubilee celebrations of the Aga Khan Foundation's Madrasa Pre-School Programme.