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Wednesday,September 30,2020 15:45 PM

Amin practised politics of intimidation

By Vision Reporter

Added 23rd July 2008 03:00 AM

UGANDA’S PRESIDENTS
Idi Amin Dada
(1925 — August 16, 2003)

IDI Amin Dada was Uganda’s third president. His rule from 1971 to 1979 can best be described as militaristic and dictatorial.

UGANDA’S PRESIDENTS
Idi Amin Dada
(1925 — August 16, 2003)

IDI Amin Dada was Uganda’s third president. His rule from 1971 to 1979 can best be described as militaristic and dictatorial.

UGANDA’S PRESIDENTS
Idi Amin Dada
(1925 — August 16, 2003)

IDI Amin Dada was Uganda’s third president. His rule from 1971 to 1979 can best be described as militaristic and dictatorial.

He took power in a coup in January 1971, deposing Milton Obote. His rule was characterised by human rights abuse, political repression, ethnic persecution, extra-judicial killings and the expulsion of Asians.

Intimidation, torture and death were Amin’s way of resolving conflict. The number of people murdered in his regime is estimated by human rights groups to be between 100,000 and 500,000.

Among people he killed were Anglican Archbishop Janani Luwum whom he suspected to have been involved in rebel activities and Ben Kiwanuka (former prime minister) for freeing a British journalist. Amin had told Kiwanuka to sentence the journalist to death. Others were Joseph Mubiru, the former governor of the Central Bank; Frank Kalimuzo, the vice chancellor of Makerere University; Byron Kawadwa, a playwright; and two ministers, Erinayo Wilson Oryema and Charles Oboth Ofumbi. Such high profile murders prompted several ministers to flee to exile in 1977.

Amin didn’t allow freedom of speech. Anyone with a divergent political view never spoke out or else they were killed or made to ‘disappear’.

The victims included religious leaders, journalists, bureaucrats, judges, lawyers, intellectuals, criminal suspects, and foreign nationals.

On January 25, 1971 when Amin, then President Obote’s army commander, seized power, Obote was attending a Commonwealth summit in Singapore. Tension had developed between the two after Amin had discovered that Obote’s plan to arrest him for misappropriating army funds.

As the new president, Amin became popular in and outside Uganda for deposing a “corrupt president”. He also won the hearts of the Baganda by giving Kabaka Mutesa (who had died in exile) a state burial in April 1971. He also freed many political prisoners and promised to return Uganda to democratic rule by holding fair elections soon.

But that didn’t happen. Instead Amin became intolerant of anyone opposed to him. On August 4, 1972, Amin expelled 60,000 Asians and gave their businesses to Ugandans. This strained relations between Uganda and India. He broke ties with Britain and Ugandanised 85 British-owned businesses. Consequently in 1977, America and Britain closed their Embassy and High Commission in Kampala. Amin then declared himself the Conqueror of the British Empire.

In 1976, Amin claimed that parts of southern Sudan and Kenya historically belonged to Uganda. Military deployment by those countries stopped him from attacking them.

In 1978 Amin accused Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere of waging war against Uganda. He ordered the invasion of Tanzania’s Kagera region and forced Tanzania into a battle that ended his regime in 1979. Amin fled to Libya and then to Saudi Arabia in 1981, where he died on August 16, 2003.

Compiled by Raphael Okello

Amin practised politics of intimidation

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