People Want Amin to Return The Monitor (Kampala) Mercy Nalugo July 22, 2003 Whether dead or alive, Ugandans want former President Idi Amin back home. According to the street survey carried out by The Monitor in Kampala yesterday, Ugandans also want the government to give him all the benefits of a former President. In case he dies, Ugandans said, Amin should be accorded a state burial at the Heroes Ground at Kololo. Amin seized power from Mr Milton Obote on January 25, 1971. He is in coma at the King Fahad Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He is suffering from high blood pressure, according to his wife, Madina. The government has indicated that Amin would never be accorded a state burial. The government would also not meet the funeral and other expenses like flying back his body in the event he died in exile. Ugandans we spoke too, however, have a different view. Many of those surveyed want the government to forget all about the past and concentrate on the future. They argue that irrespective of his past failures, Amin remains a son of the soil and a former President of Uganda. They also argue that because at 80 he is already so old and reportedly on his deathbed, he would not harm the government. The government would gain popularity if it forgave Amin, some people said. Others looked back and said Amin scored some achievements. They said that under Amin Ugandans were not so poor. "Government should forgive him and meet his hospital expenses since the Amnesty Act 2000 calls for forgiveness," some other respondents said. The Amnesty Act may not apply to Amin as it only provides for those that have rebelled against the government since 1986. The beneficiaries must in any case seek forgiveness.
'Dead Or Alive; Amin Should Return' The Monitor (Kampala) DOCUMENT July 22, 2003 Mercy Nalugo and Victor Karamagi Dead or alive, some Ugandans want ailing former President Idi Amin back. As a Ugandan and a former head of State, Amin deserves to be forgiven and accorded a decent burial if he dies, people say, as The Monitor found out in Kampala yesterday. Mr Richard Kabigumira, 26, a boda boda cyclist. Amin is a Ugandan who shouldn't die in exile. Whether dead or alive, government should sanction his return. I am sure he's not going to rule again. But I would give him my vote if he recovers and wants to run for president. Mr Ahmed Mawejje, 32, a businessman from Mulago. Government should pardon Amin and let him return, like former presidents Godfrey Binaisa and Tito Okello Lutwa. If such leaders are not allowed to return they could plot to overthrow President Museveni's government. Mr Farouk Kasajja, a trader in Kampala, says Amin has no case. In case he has any, let government charge him. Mr Badru Mulongo, 38, a shop owner on Wilson Road. Amin is a Ugandan. He is an old man now and I don't see why he should not return. He does not have any ambitions. People say he killed many people but I think there is no leader who has not killed. He should be accorded a state burial as a former president. After all he brought back the body of Kabaka Muteesa. Mr Adam Nakumusana, 78, of Mukono. Amin should be allowed to return to Uganda whether dead or alive. Amin as a person never killed. In any case, no government has a clean sheet. He gave us the land where Old Kampala Mosque is built. He constructed churches and mosques in barracks, which no other leader has done. Mr Joseph Musisi, 32, a communications service provider. Every African leader has made mistakes. Amin is powerless now. He cannot cause trouble. We should be looking at a new Uganda, not that of the Amin days. If he dies, he should be given a state burial. Mr Vinally Timbisimirwa, 27, a taxi driver. Amin should be given a chance to come back. If he dies, his body should also be brought back. I have no problem with that. After death, why can't we forget the bad things he did as president? Mr Umaru Lutwama, 27, a businessman from Kawaala. Amin should come back like former President Godfrey Binaisa. If he dies, his body should be brought back. He might have done bad things but he also achieved in certain fields. Amin brought back Kabaka Muteesa's body and gave him a state burial. Amin expelled Asians who had taken over all the businesses in Uganda. Some of his achievements are still evident todate. Haji Abdu Garanga, 50, peasant. I will be happy if Amin returns. He did much for Uganda and people had enough money. He killed rebels, even other leaders kill. In case he dies, he should be recognised by the government. Mr Twaha Kabengwa, 25,boda boda cyclist. Whether dead or alive, Amin remains a Ugandan and government should allow him back. During his regime, people would get free sugar and salt. Mr James Kalibbala, 25, a resident of Zana. All leaders have bad records. All governments have killed. Amin should be allowed back. In Amin's time people had enough money to get along. Mr Stephen Kisembo, a trader in Kisekka Market. Amin constructed schools, roads and hospitals. Okello Lutwa was buried here and Binaisa too is back. Why not Amin? Ms Margaret Nakachwa, a resident of Kasubi Amin is a Ugandan who should be allowed to return. Ms Alice Birungi, a trader in Katimba Market. Amin's body should be brought back. Ms Rose Birabwa of Nsambya. Amin should not return. From what we heard, he is a murderer, he abducted and killed people's husbands. If one was richer than him (Amin), he/she wouldn't survive. Ms Erusa Namakula, a newspaper vendor. Amin's body should not be brought back, he is a murderer. He killed all my chlldren and relatives. Hajji Mulinda, 50, a businessman in Kampala. He should be allowed to return. During his regime, I was happier as a person than I have been in subsequent regimes. Even if he committed some atrocities, government should allow him to come and die here in his country. Mr Kasule Sirimu, 37, a businessman in Bwaise. As a Movement supporter, I think President Museveni should allow Amin to come back. Let him bring Amin whether dead or alive. I have a feeling this will increase Museveni's popularity. If Museveni does not act, the government's image would be tainted. Everybody is saying we should allow him to return because he can no longer cause trouble. Mr Wilberforce Kalungi, 50, a photographer in Najjanankumbi. Amin gave Ugandans businesses after he chased Asians. No leader has done that. People say Amin killed his opponents but every ruler does the same to his opponents. He brought back Kabaka Muteesa's body. If he dies, he should be given a state burial. Ms Rehema Kabale, 40, a housewife from Lungujja. Let Amin come home. Other countries respect their former presidents. We should also do the same. He should be allowed to die in his country. He should come back dead or alive.
Uganda Govt to Assist Idi Amin Family Vanguard (Lagos) July 22, 2003 As Idi Amin, one of Africa's most infamous dictators, languished at death's door in a Saudi Arabian hospital, the Ugandan government said Monday it would help his family travel from Kampala to visit him. "We are making arrangements to help Amin's family fly to Jeddah and that we shall do," Minister for the Presidency Kirunda Kivejinja said in a telephone interview. Kivejinja declined to confirm whether Amin's body would be allowed back in the event of his death. The octogenarian former dictator slipped into a coma on Saturday. "We shall decide on all those issues as they come but we shall be doing all that on humanitarian grounds," he said without elaborating. The minister explained that in any case Amin was now too ill to be flown back to Uganda, as his family had requested. Amin's wife, Madina Amin, was preparing to fly out to Saudi Arabia to attend to her ailing husband. According to a member of her household, she had not left Kampala by early Monday afernoon. Amin, who cultivated the nickname "Big Daddy", was admitted Friday to Jeddah's King Faisal Hospital. "He is expected to die any moment," one hospital official told Arab News, an English-language daily, adding that Amin was in a "vegetative state." Hospital sources told the paper that Amin had been receiving treatment over the past three months for hypertension and "general fatigue," and was suffering continued high blood pressure and his health condition was deteriorating. A Kampala newspaper report, citing Madina Amin, mother of five of Amin's children, said Amin had refused surgery for kidney complaints. Two of his sons that have lived with him in Saudi Arabia were nursing the ailing former Ugandan ruler. The Ugandan embassy in Riyadh has said it was not following Amin's case because he is a "private citizen and we would like to respect his privacy". Idi Amin, whose 1971-79 reign in Uganda was one of the bloodiest in modern African history, has not been back to Uganda since he was ousted by joint forces of Tanzanian troops and Ugandan exiles on April 11, 1979. Up to 400,000 people are estimated to have died during his time in office or are still unaccounted for. Adopting an ultra-nationalistic policy soon after coming to power, Amin embarked on a programme to Africanise the country's economy that was then dominated by Asians, mainly Indians, whom he gave 90 days to leave the country or be flushed out. He confiscated all their property, which he distributed to his cronies, who later ran them down. The economy collapsed, triggering blackmarket trade since essential commodities such as soap, sugar and fuel became scarce. A whole generation of Ugandan intellectuals were either killed for questioning the regime's high-handedness or fled into exile, and many never returned. Uganda's Sunday Vision newspaper scored a scoop in 1999 when it secured the first interview with the so-called "Butcher of Africa" in almost 20 years. "I am leading a quiet life and committed to my religion, Islam, and Allah. I don't have problems with anyone," Amin told the newspaper's reporter in his luxury home in Jeddah.
Bury Idi Amin As Commoner New Vision (Kampala) OPINION July 23, 2003 Opiyo Oloya THE news that Uganda's former dictator Idi Amin Dada lies comatose in a Saudi Hospital has sparked a debate about what to do with the man, dead or alive. For some, Amin should be accorded all the dignity and pomp befitting the office he once held, albeit with bloody hands, from January 1971 to April 1979. The man's past notwithstanding, they argue, he was a leader who served his people for better or worse. The views of the forget-all-evils advocates were echoed by a Ugandan who wrote on the internet that "Amin should be accorded the honours of a former president. If God decides to call him up, he should be honoured with a state funeral and nothing else. The government should cover all expenses from Saudi Arabia to Uganda." On the other side is a Ugandan lawyer who spoke from Kampala and offered that Amin be rushed alive to Uganda, tried for his crimes against humanity and hanged before he dies of natural causes. For the sake of this column, it's fair to assume that Amin will not return to Uganda alive. In fact, judging from news reports, he may well be dead by the time you read this article. For that matter, the only serious discussion should is: Should he be allowed be buried in Uganda? If so, should he be given a State funeral? To the first question, the answer is affirmative-any Ugandan, dictator or not, should have the rights to be interred in the country of birth. However, the question of a state burial is best answered by looking at historical precedents. In most post World-War Two cases, with the exception of Italian fascist Benito Mussolini and Germany's Adolf Hitler, the death of a dictator barely generates interest. When the 52nd Garibaldi Brigade in the Piazza of Dongo captured Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini on Friday, April 27, 1945, as he tried to escape to Switzerland disguised as a German, he was ordered shot the following day together with his long-time lover, Claretta Petacci. Their bodies, along with those of other fascist leaders, were hung upside down at an Esso gas station in Piazza Loreto. It took several years before his widow was allowed the chance to bury his remains outside the village of Predappio in the Northeastern Italian Province of Forli. In any case, barely two days, on April 30 1945, super-dictator Adolf Hitler and his side-kick, Eva Braun, committed suicide at about 3.30 pm. Although the Fuhrer is believed to have put a pistol in his mouth and pulled the trigger while mistress Eva Braun swallowed a cyanide capsule, his remains have never been positively identified as his loyal aides reportedly burned him to a cinder. To this day, there is no agreement about what really happened to the most hated man in world history. Interestingly, on December 25 1989, almost four decades after Mussolini's horrible death, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu and his wife Elena were rushed through a kangaroo court, tied up and shot outside Bucharest. The pair's miserable demise was recorded by a quiet hand-held camcorder. By contrast, three months earlier, on September 28, 1989, former Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos died peacefully in exile in Hawaii. However, since 1993, Marcos' remains have been temporarily frozen and sealed inside a glass crypt at the family mausoleum in Batac town in the Philippines. His wife Imelda Marcos wants him to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' Cemetery), but many Filipino victims have fought the idea. Early this year, on January 12, former Argentine dictator Leopoldo Galtieri, who in 1982 led his country into a war with Britain over the Falkland Islands, and who ordered the death of many Argentines, died of heart and respiratory failure and was buried without fanfare. Meanwhile, some of Africa's colourful dictators have died equally pathetic, lonely deaths. For example, Siad Barre, former Somali dictator who fled his country in 1991, died in exile in Lagos, Nigeria, on January 2, 1995, and nobody noticed. When former Central African dictator Jean Bedel Bokassa succumbed to a heart attack on November 3, 1996, a poor convict serving a commuted death sentence, few mourned him, and he was quietly buried without ceremony. Meanwhile, a year later, Mobutu Sese Seko - Zaire's president for more than 30 years - died in exile in Morocco on September 7, 1997, and was quietly buried in Rabat. What all of these cases appear to suggest is that few are willing to honour and respect dead dictators. Though, his death, on a purely human basis, would be a sad thing, Amin was a very brutal dictator who directly or indirectly was responsible for the death of an estimated 300,000 Ugandans and left behind untold sufferings. That alone ensures that his death can neither be accorded the resources of the state nor the sympathy of the public. In other words, should the former dictator pass away, the most the family should expect is to be allowed, at its own expenses, to bring the body for burial in Uganda. Many Ugandans killed by Amin never even got that much.
Amin 'Dodges' Court New Vision (Kampala) July 23, 2003 NFormer Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, in a coma in Saudi Arabia, should have spent his final years in prison rather than comfortable exile, Human Rights Watch said on Monday. "We regret that Idi Amin is dying without meeting justice for his crimes," said Reed Brody, director of special prosecutions at the New York-based organisation. "Amin was one of the bloodiest tyrants in a bloody century. It's increasingly possible to prosecute dictators outside their home countries. "Unfortunately, the trend didn't catch up with Mr Amin in time," he said. Amin, 80, remained in critical condition days after he was admitted. Amin, whose reign was one of the bloodiest in Africa's modern history, has not been to Uganda since he was ousted on April 11, 1979.
Amin Man Arrested By CMI New Vision (Kampala) July 23, 2003 Grace Matsiko A top State Research Bureau (SRB) official under Idi Amin regime has been arrested by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), security officials have said. Capt. Abdul Yosa, who took a low profile after the overthrow of Amin in 1979, was arrested in Busia last month by CMI on treason charges, the officials said yesterday. Yosa is a said to be a relative of Amin. Security sources said Mzee Yosa, as he is popularly known, was transferred to the Central Police Station in Kampala in one of the cells jointly run by the Joint Anti-Terrorism Squad. Army spokesman Maj. Shaban Bantariza yesterday said he was not aware of Yosa's arrest.
Amin Killed My Dad, But Allow Him Burrial in Country, Says Movement Boss The Monitor (Kampala) July 24, 2003 Herbert Mugagga Uganda Young Movementists Chairman in Buikwe county, Mr Charles Ssembajwe, has appealed to government to allow former President Idi Amin to return. He said government should accord Amin a state burial, in case he dies. Ssembajwe said that Amin's soldiers killed his father in 1975 but he has long forgiven them, together with their commander-in-chief. "My humble appeal goes to our government and the president in particular, to give Amin a sendoff that befits a former head of state," Ssembajwe told The Monitor. Amin who was president of Uganda between 1971-79, is currently in coma in King Fahad Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Ssembajwe said that although Amin committed many atrocities during his reign, he should be forgiven because there are many good things he did for this country. He said one of Amin's attributes was that he liberated Ugandans from economic slavery and placed the economy into their hands. He said that since the Movement government preaches reconciliation, they should forgive Amin just as they did to Mustapha Adiris, former governor Nasuru, the late Tito okello Lutwa and many others. "There are people in this country who did worse things than Amin, but are moving freely without any one pointing a finger at them," he said.