2018-01-15 11:28:27 UTC
Today's young Africans and new Panafricanists have little knowledge of the
key role that my father President Amin played in the 70's.
As Western Empires were clinging on to the continent, Idi Amin took a
highly celebrated stand against neo-colonialism and Western exploitation in
Africa. He was named 'Conqueror of the British Empire' for kicking the
British out of Uganda in 1972, after which he joined other African leaders
in the Non-Aligned Movement, a coalition of newly independent countries
that were neither communist nor under the Western block during the cold war.
Western powers' were opposed to Uganda's President Idi Amin and they
persistently conducted a campaign to first defame, then topple the
charismatic Ugandan leader. A plot that was mainly engineered by the
British government's secret service and the CIA.
They failed simply because "Amin was immensely popular within the Ugandan
population and across Africa".
It is Amin who had liberated Ugandans from a little-known Fascist leader
called Milton Obote who was actually hated by Ugandans but hardly anyone
beyond the country's borders has ever heard of him.
In regards to the legacy of President Idi Amin, several accomplishments are
remembered by Ugandans to this day:
- His economic policies that empowered indeginous Ugandans and therefore
initiated the true Ugandan economy (as opposed to the exploitative British
imperial economy that existed until then)
- Amin's incorruptible leadership where he never enriched himself from
state coffers, and was a man of the people who always took time to appear
alone and mix with the ordinary masses in town or in upcountry villages and
listened to their problems by hearing directly from the people.
- President Amin embarked on major development projects in Uganda including
transport (mainly Uganda railways and Uganda Airlines), satellite
telecommunications for global reception of international media and
telephony, revamped banking sector with the countrywide expansion of Uganda
Commercial Bank, expanded hotel & tourism industry, and modernization of
agriculture through well equipped cooperative unions around the country.
- It is only under Idi Amin that Uganda's trade balance became positive,
with the value of the countries exports largely exceeding it's imports. A
feat that is rare in Africa, didn't happened even under colonialism and has
never again happened ever since he left the country.
- Uganda had no national debt under Amin. He paid for every thing the
government purchased and Uganda lived within its means. The currency was
stable (one US Dollar was equal to 7 Uganda Shillings. Today for example
the Uganda currency has depreciated and one dollar is now equal to 3700
- He also ensured Africanization of the skills to sustain the economy by
sending tens of thousands of Ugandans abroad for technical training and
higher education so that indeginous Ugandans could handle all aspects of
public administration, health, education, industry and business.
- His government invested in new industries and self help projects under
cooperative unions for rural communities across the country so as to
provide jobs and incomes, plus uplift the standards of living in rural
- He personally promoted tourism and worked towards preservation of
Uganda's rich wildlife where he would invite foreign journalists for tours
to showcase the wildlife but the journalists would instead focus on their
campaign to defame him.
- Thanks to Amin's express support for sporting activities from school
level to the national teams, Ugandan sportsmen, particularly in boxing,
football, and athletics, made it on the continental and international
stage. Uganda's first Olympic gold medal was won under Amin. The football
team suddenly became a serious contender on the continent, finishing second
on the African cup of nations 1976, and a finalist in 1978. In boxing,
after the Cubans and the Americans, the Ugandan team became one of the most
competitive. They were known as 'The bombers'.
- Women's emancipation was a key element during the Amin government. He
made sure they had access to businesses nationalized after the expulsion of
the British and their Indian cronies, and he gave women positions in public
administration. The first ever Ugandan woman government minister. The first
ever Ugandan woman judge. The first ever Ugandan woman ambassador. The
first ever Ugandan women directors and managers. All happened thanks to
Amin. For the first time women had their own finances, their own
businesses, and their own jobs. In 2013 a gender reseacher Alicia C.
Deckers wrote: "One of the most curious outcomes of Idi Amin's military
government, was the liberation and emancipation of Ugandan women. By
expelling the Asian population in late 1972, Amin opened up a new economic
space for women. Whether they engaged in trade or because they received a
shop âabandonedâ by the departed Asians, numerous women fondly remembered
Amin as the one who âtaught us how to workâ, and Ugandans in general
remember Amin as "the person who opened our eyes to business". For the
first time, they gained access to financial resources and the related
decision-making power." Most of the successful industrial entrepreneurs in
Uganda today started doing business in the 70's thanks to Idi Amin's
affirmative action to support and build a truely indeginous-led economy.
Before Amin, black Ugandan's had been deliberately prevented by the British
colonial regime from engaging in business. The colonialist had unilaterally
decided that trade and industry was reserved for the Asians whom they
imported en-mass, while indeginous Ugandans would be the workforce and hard
It is this discrimination and exploitation that caused Amin to correct the
situation by expelling the British and the Asians, nationalising their
businesses, and redistributing them to Ugandans. Thus from the British
Imperial economy that existed until 1972, it is Idi Amin who founded the
true Ugandan economy that continues to this day.
The implementation of these groundbreaking policy initiatives are what has
made the Ugandan people consider Idi Amin as the country's most patriotic
leader ever. And when the western countries alleged that the Ugandan
economy collapsed under Amin, it is a statement that is therefore patently
They had tried to talk Kenya into a secret blockade of Ugandan imports and
exports through the Kenyan port of Mombasa. This almost caused the two East
African countries to go to war against each other. Kenyan leader Jomo
Kenyatta was also talked into providing support for the Israeli raid
against a fellow African country. A raid that was widely condemned at the
African Union and the United Nations especially since Amin had managed to
negotiate a deal between the Palestinians who wanted their people freed,
and the Israeli's who wanted their citizens back. While Amin remained an
incorruptible Panafricanist, Kenyan leaders sold their souls to the
colonial master and plotted against their African neighbour.
In fact the total collapse of the East African Community was an attempt to
try and isolate Uganda. It was a British instigated affair where Kenya was
asked to secretly hoard all the communities assets, including all the
trains of East African Railways and all the planes of East African
airlines, so as to try and cripple Amin's Uganda which was part of the East
The Ugandan leader responded by establishing Uganda's own airlines and
Uganda's own railway company, a feat that Ugandans are proud of to this day.
The true collapse of the economy and the state only happened once Amin left
the country. This is the part that is kept secret.
All the development he made for the country was left to crumble by his
predecessors. The Gross national Income per capita suddenly fell to a
record low of $200 dollars per person per year between 1980 and 1990.
Uganda spiralled downwards into extreme poverty where a citizen was earning
half a dollar a day. Money that would have to cover housing, food,
education, transport, utilities and medical bills. Needless to say they
couldn't afford any of it.
This is the life that Ugandans lived after Amin. They call it the bush war
years. Basically what happened to Libya after Ghaddaffi is exactly what
happened to Uganda after President Idi Amin. Total chaos and anarchy
including at least two genocides, multiple rebel groups fighting each other
on sectarian and ethnic grounds, extreme poverty, and untold crimes against
So the real question is why is the Western media mysteriously silent about
all the Amin successes, especially about his soaring popularity across
Africa in the 70's?
It was a deliberate operation to discredit him.
British intelligence paid witnesses to claim that 500,000 Ugandans had been
killed by Amin. The information was then smuggled into an Amnesty
But nobody has spared a minute to ask where are the remains or evidence of
the 500,000 people who they purport that he killed?
Where is the Amnesty International investigation that came with those
The answer to those two questions is simple: They are non existent.
British agents also came into Uganda at the time when Amin had just left
the country, and they grabbed all video and audio recordings of news
related to Amin from the national broadcaster archives. All the public
events, the launch of projects, foreign trips, public speeches and the
coverage of sports events, summits, meetings with various international
dignitaries and anything that would portray him in good light. All were
smuggled to the Kenyan border and shipped to Britain where they remain
hidden to this day under secret service custody. They then funded an
obvious defamatory movie entitled "The Rise & Fall of Idi Amin". It was
filmed in Kenya, and set the ground for most of the rumours about Idi Amin
They have done such a good job at the indoctrination of Africans that even
the so-called Panafricanists of today get their information about Amin from
the very colonialists who sought to tarnish his image.
Today's Panafricanist s are completely unaware of how popular Idi Amin was
around the African continent. Especially after he became the voice of
African liberation struggles in 1975. He championed the fight against
Apartheid and was applauded for proposing a common African military force
to fight the facist regime in South Africa, and then liberate the other
African nations that were still under the chains of colonialism.
It is while Amin was Chairman of the Organization of African Unity and he
proposed the creation of that African military contingent to fight
colonialism that six African countries immediately gain their independence:
Mozambique, Cape Verde, Comoro's, Angola, Djibouti, and Sao Tome.
Under Amin, African liberation leaders like Zimbabwe's Bishop Abel Muzorewa
and Joshua Nkomo were always in Uganda. Others were Holden Roberto,
Augustino Neto, Jonas Savimbi, and even Eduardo Dos Santos who just stepped
down recently from Angola's presidency.
The Liberation groups like ANC (then known by Ugandans as Azania National
Congress), Frelimo, Swapo, Unita, MPLA, and even the ANC female warriors,
were all trained and armed by the Uganda marines under President Idi Amin
who financed and fully supported their activities.
He offered them training camps in Uganda. He also gave them Ugandan
passports and facilitated their movements to lobby for support around the
When Idi Amin left Uganda after the war in 1979, the African Union was in
uproar against Julius Nyerere and actually condemned the invasion of
Uganda, especially after a cease-fire and a demilitarized border zone had
been agreed by all parties. Nyerere suddenly became a pariah leader in the
eyes of the Organization of African Union because of his 1979 war against
Amin ust when a peace agreement had been signed between Uganda and Tanzania.
But many African leaders, particularly in Southern African countries, have
chosen to be silent about President Amin's support and contribution to
their liberation struggles, and their efforts to free their people. They
all forgot his sacrifice for their cause. Only Nelson Mandela remembered to
thank Amin after his release from jail.
What Britain doesn't want the world to know, is that it is President Idi
Amin who brought the plight of the Palestinian people to world attention.
Before that, they were being killed and expelled from their houses without
any western country lifting a finger to object to Israeli oppression. What
President Idi Amin did in 1975 was to bring the support of the entire
African continent behind the rights of the Palestinian people. The
memorable speech that he made at the UN General Assembly on that occasion
has been ranked by Time magazine as one of the Top ten greatest moments of
the General assembly. He was continuously applauded by the gathering of
world heads of states as he presented the Palestinian cause and the
suffering of black South Africans under Apartheid. He branded the CIA as a
murder squad that was assassinating pre-designated African leaders, those
who stood against western interference and exploitation. And he told the
world that Africa's last resort was to organise a common military force to
liberate the countries that were still under colonialism oppression and
Before Amin brought the African continent to support the Palestinian cause,
Arab countries were not being listened to, and Europeans were seemingly
comfortable looking the other way as the AlNakba genocide/ethnic cleansing
of Palestine by Israeli Jews went on. Had it not been for Amin and Africa's
intervention at the UN, their would not be a Palestinian state to talk of
And the global support that palestinians now have as shown in the recent UN
general assembly vote against America's decision to unilaterally declare
Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, is an indication that Amin and Africa
were right to kickstart the defence of the defenceless people of Palestine
on the world stage.
At the time Western countries conveniently wanted to see them as just
It is President Idi Amin who put the Palestinians case properly on the
world forum with Africa's full support. Their plight was no different from
the colonialism that Africa had endured. It was a game changing moment that
stopped the secret ongoing extinction of Palestine by Israeli's.
The world had to recognize that there was a people, ordinary palestinian
men, women, children and the elderly just like in any other country, who
were being oppressed and were simply resisting that oppression because they
too had the right to exist and live in peace and freedom in their homes and
But what African youths today should know is that once upon a time, the
most popular person on the African continent was President Idi Amin.
The media will not report that this was a man who never wanted to be
president. They won't tell you that he was actually put at gun point by
mutineering soldiers on Monday 24th January 1971 and forced to take charge
of the country or be shot.
The western media and intelligence services conducted a well coordinated
media campaign against President Idi Amin because he stood in the way of
their greed, abuse and exploitation on many fronts, and they have now
managed to turn todays young African youths against someone whom African
parents and grand parents held in high esteem as a true African hero.
Africans supported him because of his pro-African views against plunder,
oppression, and exploitation of indeginous Africans by western imperialism.
However not all Africans have been fooled by the western media's
alternative facts regardless of how widespread they are.
Upon his death in Saudi Arabia on 16th August 2003, Ambassadors and
diplomats of African countries flocked his residence to mourn at his
funeral. African students, African workers, and African pilgrims who were
in the country to perform the Umra pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, attended the
vigil as well. All hailed him for his stand against western powers and his
defence of black people around the world. African Americans were present
and they remembered him for his support to their civil rights movement as
they struggled against the endemic racism and discrimination that persists
in the United States of America to this day. President Idi Amin had
supported black Americans and even met many black leaders including Louis
Farrakhan and American boxing legend Muhammad Ali whom Amin admired
immensely, especially because the Ugandan patriot had been a boxer himself
in his youth days.
For a person whose parents were too poor to pay for his education,
President Idi Amin was naturally brilliant and had to learn by himself at
every step of the way during his life and career. As the boxer that he once
was, he had to rise up to every challenge that was thrown at him. But those
who were close to him will tell you how light-hearted, friendly and
sociable he really was. Always ready to lend a helping hand even to people
he didn't know. When he encountered a road accident, he would forget his
title of President and personally rush the injured to the nearest hospital.
He is known to have helped to transport a tired pregnant women to her home.
In the evenings he would drive alone to town and have a chat with excited
citizens before jumping into his car and driving off. Ugandans remember him
always saying "I am a soldier, not a politician." He was a person who felt
more comfortable amidst the ordinary folk. He came from a background where
he could connect with the peoples humble lives of his citizens. But he was
also a person who was determined to see Africa succeed by its own hands and
One thing we should remember is that in the decade before Captain Thomas
Sankara and Nelson Mandela, the African hero was President Idi Amin.
Written by Hussein Lumumba Amin