KAMPALA – The Minister of State for Gender and Culture, Peace Mutuuzo has clashed with her boss, President Yoweri Museveni over plans to declare Indians a tribe in Uganda saying that Indians cannot be recognized as a native Ugandan tribe because they have no traces of origin in Uganda.
The Minister made the remarks on Tuesday while appearing before the Parliamentary Equal Opportunities Committee where she said that declaring Indians a tribe in Uganda makes the move illegal and thus could not be accepted.
Muttunzo said, “I think Indians can become Ugandans through dual citizenship, by marriage. They can only be Ugandans to that level, but as far as integrating them as an indigenous tribe I think they wouldn’t have met our criteria. So I believe that indigenous Ugandans are known and can be traced far back as time immemorial, Indians know where they come from and we know a country called India.”
However, her remarks are in total contrast to President Museveni who recently promised to oversee the process of having Indians recognised as a tribe in Uganda’s constitution.
While hosting some of the members of the Indian community during a dinner at State House in Entebbe recently, Indians pleaded to the President to help them become one of Uganda’s tribe since this country has become their home and their grandparents lived here many years ago.
In response to their pleas, President Museveni promised to oversee the constitutional amendment process that would see Indians gain tribal status, however, his promise could have hit a dead end after MPs vowed to reject the proposal if brought before Parliament.
The Minister’s remarks were in response to a question posed by Fred Turyamuhweza (Rujumbura County) who tasked the Minister to explain how the Indians can become native tribes in Uganda without roots in any region in Uganda.
Mutuzo, however, noted Indians could not meet set criteria adding that the Ministry is carrying out a study about the marginalized groups in Uganda like the Batwa, to be added into the constitution of Uganda.