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Amin’s Grave Here Good For Our Image

By Vision Reporter

Added 24th July 2003 03:00 AM

WITH former Ugandan butcher Idi Amin critically ill in a Saudi hospital, all sorts of opinions are flying around as to where he should be buried.

WITH former Ugandan butcher Idi Amin critically ill in a Saudi hospital, all sorts of opinions are flying around as to where he should be buried.

ONAPITO EKOMOLOIT
to the point

WITH former Ugandan butcher Idi Amin critically ill in a Saudi hospital, all sorts of opinions are flying around as to where he should be buried.
It had been laughable to hear the likes of deposed and exiled President Milton Obote purport to champion Amin’s right to be buried at home.
The Obotes of this world opportunistically wanted to be seen as more moral than President Yoweri Museveni. They jumped to Amin’s defence like flies landing on hot milk because an erroneous impression had been created in the media that the President was opposed to Amin returning to Uganda in any form.
Of course, nothing could have been further from the truth. Long before the President publicly declared on Tuesday that Amin was free to return dead or alive, the Government had quietly communicated to his family and friends. Passing the message to Amin’s folks quietly was the decent thing to do because the now vegetative former dictator is a private citizen and the Government had no business making public statements about him. But the President in correcting the wrong impression that was emerging also made it categorical that Amin had a horrible past when he misruled the country from 1971 to 1979. Inevitably this past would catch up with him as per Ugandan laws if he returned to the country breathing.
So as we wait, it is worth noting that the only argument for his return that holds is one in the line expounded by President Museveni. Many of the other peddled opinions over Amin’s return have either been sentimental, sectarian, selfish or opportunistic. Opposition elements, for example, have lamely argued that Amin should return and even get a state funeral because his crimes are no worse than those of other leaders — including President Museveni!
How insulting, not just to the President, but also to the memory and wisdom of millions of Ugandans, both dead and alive! If there was any individual who almost single-handedly destroyed this country and reserved its history, it was Amin. Many of the problems we are still grappling with in the country are the remains of Aminism. It was Amin who introduced the culture of impunity and extreme selfishness that has mutated into the likes of Joseph Kony and the corrupt in out midst.
Unfortunately, since we have citizens who do not even see a problem with Kony’s charlatan ways, they cannot appreciate that an A president like Museveni could never belong to Amin’s bracket.
In addition to agreeing that Amin’s body should be let back home as per the law, I would like to add another reason for wanting him buried in Uganda. Many a Ugandan will testify that whichever part of the world you travel to, what is still the fad about our country is Amin and his evil ways. Never mind that for 24 years now, Amin has been nothing but a nasty ghost in Uganda. Yet to the largely ignorant world, where sometimes people are not even informed on the politics of their own countries, knowledge about Africa is confined to the bizarre.
So in the case of Uganda, it has not been shocking to find people in other parts of the world still asking: “How is President Amin?”
Our President, widely acclaimed among the informed of the world for his excellent record, is needless to say the one and only Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. But again, being informed on something as minute as the presidency of an African country is a rare commodity in many parts of the world. The net result is that all this long, some people in the world have remained with a big mental block about Uganda being the land of Idi Amin — the cannibal. It is actually not far-fetched to argue that one of the limitations to our country being the premier tourist destination is the image of Amin still being in charge. For example, it is possible that when terrorists attacked tourists in Bwindi gorilla park a few years ago, some potential tourist out there must have thought: “What do you expect in a country ruled by Amin?” With his macabre ways, which included acts like making Britons in Uganda carry him shoulder high the way the natives did to colonial rulers, Amin has ever since captivated the imagination of the western world.
Matters are not helped by the fact that since he lost power and eventually settled in Saudi Arabia, Amin has virtually lived incognito. His near total silence has not helped the ignorant world know that he is no longer in Uganda, let alone as its president.
Surely, there could be no better way of erasing the image of Uganda as a country still ruled by Amin than having the man him self dead and buried inside Uganda.
And for the sole purpose of making a bold statement to the world that Amin is gone and gone, we could even afford a monument at his grave.
Such a monument could be clearly marked: “Here lies Idi Amin, the man who killed innocent Ugandans, destroyed
the country and disgraced it before the world. But like with all bad men,
his evil acts are interned with his bones.”
Ends

Amin’s Grave Here Good For Our Image

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