His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th hereditary Imam (Spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) arrives this weekend as a special guest to Uganda’s 55th Independence Anniversary celebrations.
This year’s celebrations will be held at Bushenyi Municipal Grounds under the theme, “Uganda’s freedom must be anchored in the spirit of hard work, resilience and Commitment”.
President Yoweri Museveni in a special invitation to His Highness the Aga Khan thanked God for keeping him for all these years and for his contribution to Uganda’s development. The Aga Khan, who is also the founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network, is this year, commemorating his Diamond Jubilee, (His 60th anniversary as Imam).
“I understand that soon you will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of your enthronement as the spiritual leader of the Shai Imami Ismaili community. It is great that God has kept you for all these years and you have contributed so much to Uganda’s development in the past and present,” the President wrote.
The Aga Khan was enthroned on 11 July 1957, at the age of 20. He succeeded his grandfather, Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III.
He will be decorated with the most excellent order of the Pearl of Africa medal during the Independence celebrations for his colossal contributions to Uganda’s development and to humanity.
Through the Agha Khan Development Network, His Highness has made a lasting impact on the lives of thousands of Ugandans by providing access to high-quality education, health, hydroelectric power, media services (NTV, KFM, Daily Monitor, The East African), civil society, financial inclusion and hospitality (Serena Hotels).
The AKDN has a long history in Uganda spanning over 100 years in Uganda and East Africa.
Its activities in the country range from infrastructure projects including the Bujagali Hydroelectric Power Project, the country’s first private hydroelectric power project, to a holistic early childhood education programme that operates in underprivileged communities, and from an advanced nursing studies programme to providing essential pharmaceuticals.