Historical facts about Africa’s craziest despot Idi Amin

Idi Amin, who died on 16 August, 2003 is best known as a debauchee.

The late Ugandan military president is regarded as Africa’s worst despots. His harem was full of women during his Presidency and he sired hundreds of children purposefully., having thought of living behind him a whole tribe known by his name.

Officially Idi Amin had only four wives. The first, Sarah, known as “Mama Maliam”, was married to him in 1958. The second, Kay, was the daughter of a Protestant priest. The third was Norah and the fourth Medina. He would keep all his children with him in the presidential palace.

Idi Amin misused the Muslim law on divorce on March 26, 1974, when all of a sudden in a public function he divorced his first three wives- Maliam, Kay and Norah, by repeating the word “talaq” three times.

Idi Amin was so engrossed with his fourth wife, Medina, that he neglected the other three who established illegal relationship with other men. Kay was so full of venom that in order to take revenge upon her husband, she became pregnant by her lover. Idi Amin was so incensed that he put them behind bars and killed their lovers.

Maliam and Kay escaped and fled from Uganda and Norah was murdered by him. She was dismembered and her breasts were spitted from her body while alive. Then he got her corpse stitched, covered it by a sheet up to neck called her children and told them that their mother was a whore.

Medina also met the same fate. She was beaten by him in 1977 so severely that she had a deep cut at her temple and a miscarriage. It was the time when he forcibly married the famous Ugandan danseuse, Sarah, who was already married to another man and had a child from her husband. Idi Amin ordered Sarah brought to him, announced that he had sired Sarah’s child and married her according to Islamic rites. He got Sarah’s former husband “finished”.

Sarah was so terrified of Idi Amin that she would begin to tremble at Idi Amin’s sight.

Hardly and Ugandan young woman could boast that she had not fallen a prey to the lust of Idi Amin or his men vultures.

In February 1974, the illiterate Idi Amin was invited to deliver the convocation address at the Makerere University. All of a sudden, his eyes fell on Elizabeth Bagaya, a senior officer in the Uganda Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Elizabeth was young and beautiful. He called her to the stage, announced that Michael Ongoga who had replaced Wanume Kibedi as his Foreign Affairs Minister was thenceforth dismissed and Elizabeth Bagaya was the new serving personnel to hold the prestigious office.

After few hours, Michael Ongoga was done to death by Idi Amin’s gangsters. Idi Amin made advances to Elizabeth but she resisted. In order to win her over, he deputed her to lead a delegation to the U.N. General Assembly. When she was in New York, Idi Amin conferred the nation’s highest honor upon her. Upon her return to Kampala, she visited Idi Amin and as she came out of his office, he proclaimed her dismissed on the charge that while returning from New York she was seen in a compromising position in a toilet at Charles D’Gaule Airport of Paris. Elizabeth knew what this could mean. She fled from Uganda and thus saved her life and honor.

Out but Alive

President Dr. Milton Obote (1966-71 and 1980-85) had gone to Singapore to attend the Commonwealth Conference when on January 25, 1971, Radio Uganda played martial music throughout the morning. Then at 3:45 pm (East African time) there was an announcement that the Army had taken over the reins of the government in its hands and the civilian government of Dr. Milton Obote had been superseded. In this broadcast, it was announced that Idi Amin had been asked by the armed forces to take over the administration of the country.

This led to the establishment of one of the most diabolical, unscrupulous and insane despotisms in the annals of world history under a man who was not only uneducated, uncivilized and mentally a crack but also a cannibal and a brute savage capable of playing rough jokes at the cost of others’ lives. Idi Amin was an honorable idiot whose idiosyncrasies did not end even with the end of his power.

Ultimately, Dr. Milton Obote succeeded in toppling Idi Amin in 1979 but the despot escaped arrest and fled to Saudi Arabia in a transport plane with some of his children. He had pumped huge amounts of money and other valuables into his account with foreign banks. He treated the Bank of Uganda as his personal cashier and large parts of foreign exchange were appropriated by him and invested in Arab nations during his more than seven-year rule. On the basis of those financial resources, Idi Amin lived like a king in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, first in a suite at the luxury Sands Hotel and then in a guarded remote villa outside the city.

On January 3, 1989, Idi Amin arrived in Zaire on a fake Zairian passport. There he was apprehended by Zairian officials, who questioned him about his activities in Zaire. Media reports show that he claimed to be on his way back to Uganda via Kinshasa. Later, he was expelled from Zaire via Dakar in Senegal where Saudi Arabian officials were reported to have refused to let him board a plane to Saudi Arabia. Thus, Idi Amin was sent back to Zaire accompanied by one of his sons.

Meanwhile, the Uganda government wanted him extradited to Kampala where he could be questioned for massacres and human rights abuse. The Zaire government ruled out that possibility, admitting that Idi Amin’s presence in Kinshasa was an embarrassment to Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko, who had close links with him when Idi Amin was the President of Uganda.

Towards the end of the month, Saudi Arabia was reported to have allowed Idi Amin to return in response to requests by African leaders made on telephone to King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia.

President Mobutu of Zaire is reported to be one of the African leaders to have made such a request, including King Hasan II of Morocco.

King Khalid bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia had granted him political asylum on the condition that he would not meddle in African politics. Idi Amin’s eventual violation of this condition irked King, Fahd bin Abdul Aziz.

Idi Amin is a crazy and freaky man. In 1981, one fine morning, he rang up a London daily demanding to see the Queen of Great Britain. After that, he tried to enter the Western Nile province of Uganda, where he hails from–the suspected purpose was to raise a loyal army and once again capture power in Kampala.

Idi Amin died of renal failure in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.