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Amin talked down his ministers like pupils

By Vision Reporter

Added 30th January 2009 03:00 AM

LASH Sunday was the 35th anniversary of first military coup in Uganda that toppled Dr Apollo Milton Obote, bringing in General Idi Amin Dada as the third president. Amin ruled for eight years before being toppled by a combined force of the Tanzanian army

LASH Sunday was the 35th anniversary of first military coup in Uganda that toppled Dr Apollo Milton Obote, bringing in General Idi Amin Dada as the third president. Amin ruled for eight years before being toppled by a combined force of the Tanzanian army and Ugandan exiles in 1979. Here is an unedited version of Amin’s address during a cabinet meeting in February 1974 as transcribed by Anne Abaho.

The meeting is non-confidential because I think that’s why you see here there is a press people they are taking and they wants to make a film about the cabinet. But I have about seven points which I think I should brief you completely and tell you to know exactly what is going on.

One is this: all of you, you are in very high ranking governmental positions. Your duty is not to be very weak. You must not be like a woman who is just weak and he can’t speak even talk. You must be a person who to approach everybody as a minister. You wanted to know, you must be concerned to know the problems as a minister, as a governor as any high-ranking governmental officer. This is a one point which I must tell you. You must be concerned in planning ahead for your ministry. Nobody is to plan for you but it is you with your permanent secretary and the whole officer under your command to plan for you for your minister in advance not General Amin to tell you that you go and plan this and this for your ministry. You should not be like ministry of foreign affair am speaking not even now when Etiang was there because some people who are rotten they are there since Etiang was there and also is there. This people I never been informed since the former regimes. What they know is to educate people in Common Man’s Charter only (common man’s charter was Obote’s policy) but not proper educating people of the world’s the policy of the government because this I know direct from international people whom I have been sending. They have been informing me that a people have been not educated outside to know what actually is happening here in Uganda and this is the ministry of foreign affair. This is a weakness of foreign affair (two weeks later, the body of Michael Ondoga, the Minister of Foreign Affairs was found in the Nile. He was replaced by Princess Bagaya). And everybody must be removed who are have got the ideology or the old mentality of the capitalist who have no revolutionaries. I have been informed by the minister of foreign affair before even Ondoga came that this is good this good must remain there but I found they are rotten completely. They are the one who have been putting even shameful but when our position is good. We are not bankrupt completely in Uganda. We are very rich. I don’t want somebody, any minister make me good report. You must only tell me the truth – this I have been telling you. And now the truth is coming out. The false report you have been reporting to me is now coming out.

Now I am going to second point. As minister, governor, high-ranking peoples and the people of the country, they must love their leader. This is the point number one. If you go to any country, you’ll find that everybody must love his leader. They must love their ministers, they must love their governors, they must love their District Commissioners, their teachers, their chiefs, everybody must be loved. This it is an education to the people. This is a duty of the minister. If I see the minister is coward, automatically I kick you out of my office because I know that you’ve got something wrong with you. I will put some another person straight or any governor or anybody. This I must make it absolutely clear. And even whether you hide, you will be known in light completely. This I must make it absolutely clear. Whether you hide you go where, you will be known completely. But this particular second point is very important. You must teach people to love their leader. This is the only most important. Like any country. And people also must love their ministers. But loving, it is a well known in Uganda. You can’t change as a minister.

Number three: Determinations;- You people must work with determinations and all other peoples, you must teach them to work with determinations. If I go sometime even in the ministry of defense, I will not find even some commanders there in their offices. I know this. I have been telephoning several time, checking with them I can’t find. They are in their businesses in Kawempe, somewhere in Kampala, what. You must put your contribution. If I find you not to attend cabinet three times without reason, you are out of government.

Now, Chiefs, Number four: Chiefs and town agents;- The most importance of the chiefs and town agents, if they are to work very hard, they will help the police, the prison, the air force, the army – this includes the military police. They will help you the ministers.

They will not make even police very busy because they know who is actually good in the towns who is not very good in the town. If you are to use these people properly even the police, use these town agent properly. They have been paid by the government. They are not just working for nothing.

And marketing here in Kampala, you must tell our womens in Uganda to pull up their socks. I want to see that Ugandans work very hard. You must not make the womens of Uganda very weak. They must get up quickly in the morning at about 5 o’clock, they are ready in Nakasero, preparing ready to sell vegetable and everything in the shop.
If you to Ghana, if you go to Nigeria, you will see that the whole shops, market, everything is Nigeria. I think you agree with me. Everybody agree. Why not here in Uganda? You must tell our women I said that the duty of the woman is house woman. He knows how to keep house very well. If he can do that, let me make first examination – appoint women to be the managers of hotel, which is done. Because this is part of the women’s job. If they can keep house very well, it is exactly like their duty as a housewife. If he is well educated, he has got that brain, he is determined, he can look after the hotel very well. I want to see a woman – International Hotel, very big one must be woman Ugandans and I know they can do it.

And you as minister you must back them completely.
If you find any man trying to not to obey the order and everything, you can punish that person, you can remove that person, you can put loyal people to her to see that we keep up standard. We I think we are the first now country in Africa today who have got many women managers than others countries. We have got how many? Manager woman. We have got four manager and we have got another two assistant manager.

And another point here I want to say. There is a CIA agent through Africa. African – black Africans who are coming here. And you should know that spy is criminal. To be an spy is very bad and your case is death completely sentence. This is I must make absolutely clear. If I found anybody is spy and any spy is found and anybody he is coming in this cover, see, I want to see that everybody must be checked his poll-tax for about three or five years and if he is found to be spy, his case is firing squad.

He must be handed straight to military police, must be dealt with military tribunal because the case of spying is very serious. Any body found is spy his case must be dealt with, with military tribunal. Once he is confirmed, even military tribunals should not waste time of making law whole day discussing about one person who is spy. Must be short-cut. If minister find him, don’t even report to me completely.

I don’t want the ministers should wait anything which he thinks it is good for his ministry is still waiting authority from me. I don’t want. Then if that, you are not minister. You are not making decisions. A minister is a person who must make decisions himself not to wait for General Amin. You can only inform me what you are doing, what has happen.

I feel very happy because if I am to make a decision all the time, I will be very annoyed. If you are not well-briefed, come back to me. Telephone me at 5 o’clock or midnight, you telephone me.

Some minister have been telephone me, I been answering them. My telephone is simple.

If you telephone me at 2241 whether at 3 o’clock in the morning, I get your telephone, I speak to you and if you want a briefing, I can brief you completely until you understand and when you go there, any reporters wants to ask you about Uganda, I think you are well-equipped with all informations. You can brief them, you should not fear. You should not say, “no, it is not my duty”. If you are that, you are not Ugandans. And if I am to get this, you are not minister at all.

Amin talked down his ministers like pupils

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