November 26, 1982

Mowlana Hazar Imam's visit to Tanzania and Uganda

Mowlana Hazar Imam and Begum Salima visited Tanzania from November 20th to November 26th, 1982 as part of khudavinds' Silver Jubilee Tour, and also briefly visited Uganda.

During the 6 day visit, Mowlana Hazar Imam met with President Julius Nyerere as well as senior Government Ministers and Officials. On Saturday, November 20, 1982, President Nyerere hosted a dinner to honour Mowlana Hazar Imam's Silver Jubilee.

The program in Dar-es-Salaam included functions hosted by our Jamati institutions in the field of social and economic development. Mowlana Hazar Imam also visited the Jamats in Dodoma, and Moshi.

While in Dar-es-Salaam, Mowlana Hazar Imam performed the Foundation Ceremony of the extension of the Aga Khan Hospital, which is a Silver Jubilee Project. The expansion will improve the hospital's ability to deliver improved out-patient services and to generally assist the urban poor. It will moreover, extend the support it provides to the institutions in the existing network of the Aga Khan Health Centres serving areas around Mwanza, Tanga, Mbeya and Dodoma. The extension of Health Services to rural areas is a primary objective of the Aga Khan institutions, and a similar project was launched during Mowlana Hazar Imam's Silver Jubilee visit to Kenya last month where the Aga Khan Medical Centre in Kisumu launched an extension plan and outreach programme.

Mowlana Hazar Imam at the end of His Visit to Tanzania said in Dar-es-Salaam,:

"There is a rapidly increasing premium being attached to the work of creative people and creative institutions. In fact, not only is a premium being put on creativity, there is a premium on locating it and harnessing it to the National endeavour. This premium includes providing a new legal framework in which creativity can operate."

Mowlana Hazar Imam outlined how the Imamate institutions in Tanzania would respond to the problems affecting the country's economy. This would include the seeking of a foreign exchange credit line for the economy development institutions falling under IPS to enable them to import essential raw materials, helping to safeguard 4,500 jobs and ensuring the availability of products required locally. IPS would also, He said, encourage the better utilization of local financial liquidity in the establishment of new enterprises which would seek to employ local raw materials in producing goods with potential national and international markets.

In the field of social development and particularly in the areas of health and Education, Mowlana Hazar Imam said that material and management support would be provided to those institutions run by the Aga Khan Health and Education Services, and in special cases to similar other institutions seeking such support. In this respect, Mowlana Hazar Imam announced that a preliminary study relating to a scheme to provide support for upgrading the Government Hospital in Dodoma, the site of the new Capital, would begin immediately.

On Monday, 22nd November, 1982, Mowlana Hazar Imam travelled to Uganda for the day, to meet President Milton Obote. The talks centred on the Government's new Expropriated Properties Bill, which provides the legal frame-worked for the return of properties expropriated in 1972. Before meeting with the President, initial discussions had been held with the Foreign Ministry, as well as with the Ministries of Education, Health, Industry, Commerce and Tourism.

In welcoming Mowlana Hazar Imam, President Obote confirmed that the Expropriated Properties Bill had now been passed in Parliament, and that he had recently signed it. He said that it was expected that the new Bill would become effective from January 1983, when the administrative details and procedures covering the return of properties would be finalized. Noting that the Ismaili Imamate had long established roots in Uganda, the President expressed his pleasure at this opportunity to re-establish contact. "The new Uganda", he said "has nothing to do with racialism or colour. The new Uganda has not interest in ideologies except an ideology to rehabilitate the country".

Mowlana Hazar Imam welcomed the new legislation and said that it was a policy of the Imamate to promote social and economic development in the Third World. Within the context of the new legislation, and the invitation extended to Him by the Government, He would be examining the reactivation of the Imamat's social and economic institutions on the basis of the contribution they could make to the country's development.

Mowlana Hazar Imam said "I am prepared to look seriously at the possibility of reactivating some of our institutions, both in the social welfare and economic development spheres to the benefit of all Ugandans".

It was moreover noted, that the majority of the Ismailis had successfully resettled in Europe, Canada and elsewhere in the World, and it was not thought likely at this stage that a large number of families will return.

Source: Editorial Board for B.C

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