Amin Can Still Be Tried - Govt The Monitor (Kampala) August 2, 2003 Mwanguhya Charles Mpagi Former President Idi Amin could still be tried despite his failing health, the solicitor general has said. Mr Lucien Tibaruha yesterday told The |Monitor that Ugandan law does not exempt people from trial on account of poor health or old age. "There is no law that says that if a person is sick then he can't be tried," Tibaruha said. "The sickness of a person in the eyes of the public is not sickness in the eyes of the court. It can only be the trial court to determine whether his [Amin] sickness prevents him from being charged on the basis of a medical report," he said. Amin, who ruled Uganda between 1971 and 1979, is fighting for his life at a Saudi hospital. Tibaruha alleged that Amin committed many crimes, which makes him a candidate to criminal prosecution. Asked why the government has never tried to extradite Amin, Tibaruha said that Uganda does not have an extradition treaty with Saudi Arabia. He said that Amin has also benefited from a reluctant international community, which did not set up an international tribunal like the ones now trying the former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic or Rwanda's genocide suspects. He said that the International Court of Justice could charge Amin but that too depends on the host country. Besides, the court only came into force on July 1, 2002. Tibaruha said that only the Saudi government could determine Amin's fate. A joint force of Uganda exiles and the Tanzanian army toppled Amin on April 11, 1979. He first fled to Libya and Iraq, but moved to Saudi Arabia in December 1980. Amin's family has asked the government to grant the former president's wish to return and "die from home". The public generally wants Amin pardoned and his wishes to be granted, while President Yoweri Museveni has said that the former president would be arrested and charged the moment he returns to Uganda. The president however granted that he would allow Amin's body to be brought back if the former president died in exile. Only that it would not be a state funeral.
Doctors Give Up On Idi Amin New Vision (Kampala) August 4, 2003 Alfred Wasike DOCTORS have finally given ailing former President Idi Amin the status of "do not resuscitate". This is the first time that Amin's hitherto tight-lipped doctors have come out explicitly about his failing health. Medical sources at King Faisal Specialist Hospital, a top Saudi medical centre in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, told Reuters and Sky News yesterday that "should he encounter further life threatening problems, resuscitation will not be attempted." Amin, in his late 70s and liable for the murders of tens of thousands of Ugandans in the 1970s, has now been declared by doctors at the posh hospital to be in "near-death condition". "He is alive but remains in a near-death condition in a coma," the medical sources told news agencies, adding that Amin was on a ventilator. Amin has been in exile, chiefly in Saudi Arabia, since being ousted from from Uganda in 1979. Under his despotic 1971-79 rule, estimates blame the deaths of more than 400,000 on him. A large and imposing figure, who enjoyed publicity, Amin came to power in 1971 after overthrowing President Milton Obote in a coup. His rule was characterised by eccentric behaviour and violent purges. Driven from Uganda by Tanzanian forces and Ugandan exiles, Amin, a Muslim, was given sanctuary by Saudi Arabia in the name of Islamic charity. His health deteriorated for some time but he came out of a coma last week although was still said to be in serious condition. The medical source said the former leader suffered from kidney, liver and respiratory failure. "The last and probably fatal system failure would be cardiac arrest, after which there is effectively no hope," the source said. A former boxing champion who once expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler, Amin has lived quietly in Jeddah on a government stipend with his four wives. President Yoweri Museveni recently warned that he would arrest Amin for crimes against humanity should he try to return home alive but said that his relatives were free to return his body for burial in Uganda. Amnesty commission chairperson Justice Peter Onega last week said Amin does not qualify for amnesty but Joseph Kony, whose Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is terrorising northern and north-eastern Uganda qualifies for forgiveness if he gave up rebellion and applied for amnesty.
Bury Amin in Saudi Arabia, Says Mubajje The Monitor (Kampala) August 4, 2003 Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda Muslim leaders want former President Id Amin buried in Saudi Arabia should he die there. Mufti Shaban Mubajje, Makerere University Imam Ahmed Ssentongo and former Chief Kadhi Obed Kamulegeya told The Monitor in separate interviews yesterday that it is not Islamic to move bodies over long distances. Reports from Saudi Arabia indicate that Amin is in "near-death" at a hospital in Jeddah. "He is alive but remains in a near-death condition in a coma," a hospital source told Reuters news agency, adding that Amin was on a ventilator. Doctors have given Amin, 80, the status of "do not resuscitate," Reuters reported. "This means that should he encounter further life threatening problems, resuscitation will not be attempted." Mufti Mubajje dismissed reports that the Muslim leadership was organising to bury the former president at the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) headquarters at Old Kampala. It was Amin who donated the Old Kampala land to Muslims during his reign (1971-1979). Sources said that some members of the two UMSC top organs - General Assembly and Executive Committee - had proposed that Amin be honoured and buried at Old Kampala. Both Mufti Mubajje and the Makerere imam cited a teaching of Prophet Muhammad, which recommends that three things must be hastened in Islam. The three things are performing the daily prayers on time, hasten to bury dead people and hasten to marry off girls as soon as they attain puberty and there are people willing to take them. Besides, the Muslim leaders said that the two holiest places in Islam - Mecca and Medina - are found in Saudi Arabia. They argued that it would be better for Amin to be buried there than transporting his body back to Uganda. Imam Ssentongo said that even if Amin were to return to Uganda when he is still alive, it would still be "un-Islamic" to bury him at the mosque compound. He said that Muslims are discouraged from burying their dead at places of worship because the next generation might worship their graves. He said that Amin is the most patriotic leader Uganda ever had, adding that the country might never produce his equal again. Mufti Mubajje said that if he were to be in charge of Amin's family, he would have preferred to bury him in Saudi Arabia. He said that due to the construction of buildings going on at Old Kampala there is even limited space for such arrangements. Amin's health has been deteriorating since July 18. Amin is suffering from kidney, liver and respiratory failure. "The last and probably fatal system failure would be cardiac arrest, after which there is effectively no hope," said a Reuters report quoting hospital sources.
Muslims Advised On Amin The Monitor (Kampala) August 4, 2003 Halima Abdallah The chairman of the Uganda Muslim Youth Assembly, Imam Kasozi, has said that former President Idi Amin did a lot to develop the Muslim community and the country. He appealed to Muslims to ignore allegations against Amin and advised them to appreciate the fact that everybody had his weaknesses. He said that even those who killed Ugandans are now pointing fingers at Amin. Kasozi was on Friday conducting Juma prayers at the Makerere University Mosque. "Our attitude towards Amin must be different," he said. He said that before Amin took power in 1971, there were less than 100 Muslim university graduates but that situation quickly improved. Later after the Juma prayers, he conducted a short prayer for Amin. Meanwhile, Kasozi also said that the Muslim community supports the death penalty. He told the congregation at the university mosque that the death penalty and corporal punishment are allowed in Islam. "Islam says teach a child prayers if he fails to do so, cane him. For those who tell lies cane them," he said. Several human rights activists are campaigning for the abolition of the death penalty.
Remember Wrong of Amin's Rule The Monitor (Kampala) OPINION August 13, 2003 Magode Ikuya Much media time has been occupied with the discussion of what should be the suitable fate of the ailing ex-president Idi Amin. There have been suggestions that the dreaded brute should be forgiven for his crimes and accorded a descent burial back home. Others have stoutly rejected even any notion of returning his body for burial. Amongst the Ikarwok clan, of which I am a member, it is a taboo to engage in consideration of a funeral arrangement for someone who is yet alive, however sick such a person might be. Uganda lives with terrible scars inflicted on the country by Amin. If the various attitudes towards the man should be pronounced, this cannot wait only for the time when he is dying. Whether to forgive or to punish him should have been developed as a principled stand of politics, all the time that he has been alive. To purport that Amin now be forgiven, as is being advocated by exiled former president Dr Apollo Milton Obote and others, without insisting on amnesty for all who committed similar crimes in the service of Amin, including posthumous reprieve of Cassim Obua who was hanged, is self-serving hypocrisy. Obote should have made this pledge in 1980 instead of organising wanton massacres in West Nile. President Yoweri Museveni has announced his readiness to prosecute Idi Amin if he ever set foot on Uganda soil alive. If there was any interest on pressing the prosecution of Amin, then this, too, should have been pursued by the government consistently in all fora of the world, including in Saudi Arabia, so as to enlist international support for this cause. It is even questionable, given the ad-hoc manner in which our institutions operate, whether there exists a single filed complaint or drawn charge sheet to warrant an arrest. In all probability, our learned courts would find no difficulty in discharging Amin of any accusations for lack of evidence to the utter dismay of our expectant public. Ugandans should be thinking of the larger issues of taking stock, and learning the true lessons of, Amin's criminal life with a view of preventing the recurrence of such misdeeds. It is only by eliminating the possibility of a recurrence of Amin's mischief that permanent and durable punishment to him may be meted. One particular lesson from Amin's illness has drawn my attention. He was a bloodletting brute. He was also a miscreant who destroyed any effort of creating national institutions. He spread dishonour and humiliation of our country. While he is calmly exhausting his life-span in the splendour of a Saudi Arabia hospital, our people are struggling in the attempt to salvage some life out of the debris of his destruction. We should note that most countries of the world have an attachment to their national image. In terms of their health, they rush to their national hospitals for their last sacraments. Invariably, Italians are flown to Rome, the British, Russians, Japanese, Israelis to their respective capitals. It is unthinkable that a French ex-President can be flown to a London hospital for treatment. On the contrary, if Amin's failing health had occurred in Itojo hospital of Ntungamo District, Tororo hospital or even at Mulago National Referral Hospital, there would certainly have been clamours for him to be flown to Johannesburg, London, or Frankfurt for treatment. It is quite obvious that while Uganda-trained medics are acknowledged worldwide for their excellent quality, our national institutions do not enjoy the same reputation. There are many reason for this. Although the remuneration of our medical workers is, like in many other sectors generally dismal, thanks to the destruction wrought on the economy during Amin's rule, their performance is commendable. To keep our hospitals open at all under the circumstances of such inhibiting pay is itself an act of resilience and self-sacrifice. But in addition to the poor pay, the medical people are hampered by lack of specialized equipment to carry out their work successfully. It is mentioned that a department in Mulago, which sourced for a donation of equipment that government had failed to procure, was halted by officials of the Ministry of Finance from accepting the donation on grounds that it would be inflationary. The government happily accepts International Monetary Fund balance of payments' support to import into the country toys, expired biscuits, black lip-sticks, wigs for dogs, etc. It is extremely strange that tools of work, which necessarily increase production of goods and services, should be considered hostile to the economy. The situation for the medical workers is further aggravated by poor working environment to wit poor lighting, broken furniture, leaking roofs, no cafeteria, lack of transport or accommodation. This leaves both the medical staff and the recipients of medical services sulking, demoralized and dissatisfied, mutually and against each other, at the same time. One medical officer at Mulago once explained to me that the prospects for the hospital are made worse by the very fact that the country's top decision-makers hardly go there for treatment. He said as a result the decision-makers cannot understand the frustrations of those who work in the health sub-sector. A Movement critic, who was eavesdropping on our conversation, added, rather exuberantly, that Movement officials, could not depend on Mulago services because we have refined the art of corruption from where we have made enough money to escape to overseas clinics. Party politicking aside, there is indeed a freak-reality. Those who are moneyed, be they expatriate corps, successful businessmen and the nouveau riche prefer to go abroad to treat even minor ailments like common colds, indigestion and obesity. They are proud to die overseas. But the peasants always plead to be taken to die in their wretched homes. The writer is the Director for Mass Mobilisation at the Movement Secretariat
Idi Amin Hunts for Kidney New Vision (Kampala) August 15, 2003 Former president Idi Amin Dada is searching for a kidney to stay alive at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The military strongman, whose regime saw up to 400,000 deaths and disappearances, has been hospitalised since July. The ailing dictator's son, Hashim Amin, has said that two kidneys donated by anonymous donors were found to be incompatible with those his father Idi Amin. Hashim added that two more people have offered kidney donations. Kirunda Kivejinja, the minister in charge of the presidency, has said the government would not prevent any Ugandan from donating their kidneys to Amin.