Special British Envoy, Mr. Geoffrey Rippon, met Asians in Kampala who were queuing up for help outside the British High Commission. Some were able to joke and laugh with him. In June 1972, Idi Amin Dada announced that he had been visited in a dream by God, who had issued him with a divine instruction to expel the Asian population from his country. “Asians came to Uganda to build the railway. The railway is finished. They must leave now,” he said at a press conference, giving them 90 days to leave.
Kenya’s renowned photojournalist Mohamed Amin, also known as ‘Six Camera Mo’ documented the Asian exodus in Uganda.
Mo flew to Uganda and filmed the sorry queues of Asians applying for passports at the British High Commission, the shuttered shops and ‘for sale’ signs and, on 31st August 1972, the first Ugandan Asians flying away from their home country. The activities in Uganda sent shock waves through Kenya’s Asian community who could only see too clearly what the message spelt for them. Sure enough, in January 1973, the Kenyan government followed suit, setting a 1st June 1973 deadline for 418 Asian shopkeepers to sell up and get out.
Idi Amin took a shine to Mo, and throughout his rule allowed the photographer free access to the country. During Idi’s last two horrific and chaotic years, Mo was the only cameraman officially allowed in.