By Felix Osike
Bed-ridden former President Idi Amin Dada will not get a state funeral if he dies but the body can be returned home for burial, President Yoweri Museveni said in Kampala yesterday.
Addressing participants at a workshop on the Northern Uganda conflict at the International Conference Centre, Museveni said Aminâ€™s family was free to bring back the body if the dictator died in exile.
â€œBut we shall not give him state honours. He will be buried like any other ordinary Ugandan,â€ said Museveni.
He said, â€œIf Amin comes back breathing or conscious, I will arrest him because he committed crimes here.â€
Amin, 80, is in a critical condition at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, suffering from kidney complications. Museveniâ€™s comments were the first on the matter since Amin went into coma last week.
Museveni told the session chaired by First Deputy Premier Lt. Gen. Moses Ali that the family was, however, free to bring the body back for burial should he die in exile.
Another exiled former president, Milton Obote, on Monday sent an e-mail asking Ugandans to prepare to give Amin a decent burial if he dies. Museveni said the Government had facilitated the family members to travel to Jeddah to see what they could do. He did not specify how much money the Government gave.
He said he was prompted to comment on the Amin saga due to incorrect statements attributed to him that he would â€œarrest the dead bodyâ€ on arrival.
â€œWhen he is brought back dead, what is the point? How can I arrest a dead body?â€ he asked. Museveni said there would be no pardon for Amin. He said Amin ruled him for one day because he left Uganda a day after he took over to fight his regime. The acting chairman, Uganda Human Rights Commission, Aliro Omara, said on Sunday Amin was free to return, but must be ready to face trial for rights violations.