Indians, called Muhindis or Hindis, have been trading with Kenyan coastal towns since Biblical times.The British government recruited hundreds of Indians to build the Kenya Uganda Railway in late 19th century.In 1972, Idi Amin surfaced in Uganda and ordered all Asians to leave.This had a ripple effect in Kenya as some Kenya African openly supported Amin. President Kenyatta died in 1978 and his Vice President Daniel arap Moi took his reins.
Global terror came to Kenya in 1998 when the American embassy was bombed in Nairobi, killing hundreds.
Lord Petre spoke of the gratitude he was aware those present felt to the British Government for assisting their immigration at such a dire time, but also said he felt this should not overshadow the gratitude due from Britain to the Ugandan Asians, who had brought their knowledge, innovation, and enthusiasm for work, and had contributed so much to the country since their arrival.
Lord Petre stressed that the government’s obligation to take the refugees was fulfilled. Praful Patel, Chair of the India Overseas Trust that has organised the year-long activities, welcomed Lord Petre’s tribute and added: ‘This occasion is a major event for the British Asian community and for Indo-British relations.
Asians continued to flourish in business and the professions.
In the next general elections in 1979, an Asian lawyer, Krishan Gautama won a parliamentary seat.