A number of cases are cited to demonstrate that Idi Amin was not, after all, the one responsible for all the deaths. From this, it is argued that Idi Amin’s regime could not have been as diabolically evil as portrayed in our history’s anecdotes.
A whole shift of suspicions and finger pointing is then indulged in. Presently, there is a running page on the internet which outrageously accuses Yoweri Museveni, then in exile, of being behind all the killings!
No one can claim that Amin was the only ruler on earth who killed the ruled. Slave trade was replete with carnage. The colonial conquest had also been savage and unblinking. Killings were carried out under the pious signs of the cross and masked as the kindness of “dispatching the poor souls” to a better world.
The Idi Amin regime wielded such unhindered viciousness that all the provisions of the legal and civil charter were freely violated. The state ceased to be based on known rules and precepts. No one could be sure what an offence was. A bar operator, who dared to decline serving alcoholic drinks to the soldiery because of the decreed time limits, risked being killed. A taxi driver hailing from Kachumbala in Teso whose hairstyle resembled that of Dr. Obote was picked up by Amin’s operatives. He has not been seen alive to this day.
The management of the army was not predictable either. A private soldier serving as an escort to a commissioned officer could be promoted at a stroke to a higher rank than his erstwhile superiors. No one has ever shown what route had brought notorious elements like Isaac Malyamungu to the prominence he enjoyed.
Croaking frogs cannot have ready ears for the bleat of a distressful lamb whose milking mother has been eaten by marauding hyenas. The emergence of such forces is not accidental. During the days of our bitter NRM struggles, the fierce resentment in our hearts was targeted against the oppressive structures of misrule. Our yearning was clear: the liberty and freedom of our country.
Immediately the NRM took power, strange tunes were introduced. It was now claimed that the misdeeds of Idi Amin and the shame he brought to the name of our country were due to his illiteracy, his poor grasp of English grammar and his lack of knowledge of the learned arts.
It was now pressed that henceforth political offices had to be hinged on academic distinction. Our politics was turned over to the restricted play-ground of our crowned men and women of letters in their juvenile craving for private fortunes.
The political space within our NRM is now increasingly crowded with swirls of adventurers and their baggage carriers as they forage for their life without care of the outrage they cause to our society.
A striking case is in Tororo District. The RDC of the area is a wizard of antics and redolence of Amin’s period. When Kenyan refugees were encamped in Tororo from the post-election violence in their country, the RDC declared that he had “with immediate effect” banned sexual activity by the camp inmates.
Recently, he evicted an occupant of plot 17 Bazaar Street in Tororo Municipality from the property he occupied in favour of another person, even when there existed a specific court order to maintain the status quo until the disposal of the suit.
In the latest episode, he went to my own home in Molo-Magodes and allocated a part of our customarily-held land to beneficiaries of his own choice, little bothering that this is an extremely sensitive matter of far reaching repercussions which no mad governor of Idi Amin had ever dared to try.
The spectacle must be pleasing to Idi Amin in his grave. He can now triumphantly snort, “NRM said I was a bad leader. I’m telling you completely and also that me, Idi Amin Dada, is best good leader for NRM. You are now my students. You are copying me!”
The author is a member of NEC (NRM) representing historicals