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Saturday, 5 March 2011
Irishman elected mayor in Uganda
An Irish doctor who helped set up a hospital in Uganda yesterday became the first white foreigner to be elected mayor of a local council.
Dr Ian Clarke (59), who grew up on a farm in south Armagh, was elected to the post of chairman -- or effectively the mayor -- of Makindye District Council in the capital Kampala.
"I realised that some other candidates were trying to stir up the race card and the colonial thing, saying outlandish stuff," he said.
"But there was an understanding that I'd been here a long time and had started a lot of social programmes. I wasn't running for the good of my health."
He won more than twice the number of votes of his nearest rival.
He moved to the African country 23 years ago with his Irish wife Robbie after graduating from Queen's University in Belfast. Since then, the father of three has gone on to become a wealthy medical entrepreneur.
He now employs more than 700 people at his International Medical Group, which includes the private International Hospital Kampala as well as an air ambulance service and teaching hospital for nurses.
Many of the voters among the 800,000 residents of the district said the man known as the white "ghost" or "Mzungo" was well known and respected.