IDI AMIN; THE ADOLF HITLER OF UGANDA
By Serwaa Ampaafo
The black nation is interesting in more ways than one, interesting because too often we point an accusatory finger to other nations as our oppressors and exonerate our own leaders who commit the worst atrocities against their own in order to hold on to power. There are a number of African leaders who are/were worse than Cecil Rhodes, King Leopold and other imperialists we coveniently accuse for contributing to our woes
When we point to others, in the process we conveniently forget to acknowledge or lose sight of the fact that four of our own fingers point right back at us, especially to our leaders as the worst oppressors than their White counterparts in their time of rule.
Briefly, lets discuss Idi Amin:
Like many African leaders including Julius Nyerere and Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Idi Amin never knew the date of his birth. According to his army documents, he was born around 1925 in a remote northwestern region near the borders of Sudan and Congo, while Uganda was under British control.
Idi Amin seized power in Uganda in 1971 from his friend and compatriot Milton mobote and viciously ruled for eight years. The list of crimes committed by Idi Amin includes ethnic persecution, political repression, extrajudicial executions, and torture.
Many political rivals suffered his wrath and some of the worst things done by Idi Amin were done to his own people. He launched an economic war, and citizens of Uganda were exiled or imprisoned, beaten, and tortured without cause.
For much of the 1970’s, the beefy, sadistic and telegenic despot had been in the spotlight of world attention as he flaunted his tyrannical power, hurled outlandish insults at world leaders and staged pompous displays of majesty.
You don’t get a nickname like the “Butcher of Uganda” without unleashing some serious horrors on mankind, and the atrocities committed by Idi Amin were undeniably horrific.
Amin had five wives and is believed to have fathered around 43 children throughout his lifetime.
His fourth wife, Kay Amin, married the dictator in 1966 despite the fact that he was already married. Kay was allegedly disloyal to Amin and was discovered to be pregnant by another man.
The two divorced in 1973 and Kay’s horribly mutilated and dismembered body was found the very next year.
Not only had her body been dissected, but it had been crudely sewn back together and thrown in the trunk of her lover, Dr. Peter Mbalu Mukasa’s car. Her autopsy revealed she was three to four months pregnant at the time. Doctor Mukasa’s body was found dead the day before his death appeared to be a suicide.
The number of people Idi Amin caused to be killed by the end of his administration was tabulated by international human rights groups as close to 300,000 out of a total population of 12 million
His forces were allowed to murder farmers, students, clerks’ shopkeepers and hundreds of prominent men and women. Mostly, victims were shot or forced to bludgeon one another to death by members of death squads, including the chillingly named Public Safety Unit and the State Research Bureau.
Along with the military police, these forces numbering 18,000 men were recruited largely from Mr. Amin’s home region. They often chose their victims because they wanted their money, houses or women, or because the tribal groups the victims belonged to were marked for humiliation.
In addition to Ugandans, the dead also included some foreigners, among them Dora Bloch, a 73-year-old woman. She was dragged from a Kampala hospital and killed in 1976 after Israeli commandoes raided Entebbe Airport to rescue 100 other Israelis who along with her had been taken as hostages from a hijacked Air France plane.
Mr. Amin’s flagrant brutality, coupled with his seemingly erratic behavior and calculating insults, aroused disgust but also fascination far beyond Uganda’s borders. Some African nationalists cheered his insults of Europeans. Radical Arabs, led by Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya, actively courted him as an ally, and for a time so did the Soviet Union. But there were others who questioned his sanity. Harold Wilson, the leader of the British Labor Party, called him ”mentally unbalanced.”
Mr. Kaunda described him as ”a madman, a buffoon.”
Idi Amin was finally ousted by Ugandan nationalists in 1979, and he managed to flee the country intact. He remained in exile, living in Saudi Arabia, where he died from multiple organ failures in 2003.