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|Uganda: What do Ugandans think about Idi Amin? by Kenyans247(m): Thu Jan 2020 08:28am|
That depends on which generation of Ugandans you ask.
As of 2019, 80% or so of Uganda’s population is below the age of 35 (incl. me, as I was born in 2004) and the younger of this group seem to view Amin as one of the better presidents we had because many of them have only known Museveni (sometimes mockingly refered to as “Bosco”) as president, and his administration has been pretty corrupt, not to mention that getting jobs is pretty hard, the education system is basically what the U.K. used in the 1960s and our version of universal education is very mediocre to say the least, the public health system is bullshit (I should know, my mother works as a government nurse) and so many other things that I’d need a seperate answer for them. In their eyes, Amin was better than Museveni, and I can’t blame them for thinking that way. But not all of them view the 1970s with rose coloured glasses, myself included.
Those who lived through Amin’s regime. The majority still loath him, but for different reasons;
The Asians still detest him to this day because he kicked them out en masse in 1972, but in my opinion, it’s their exploitative and arrogant tendencies that contributed considerably to this at the time (not to say that all Asians are bad, I had a Gujarati girl for a best friend through most of my ‘O’ level and we still talk on social media).
The mainstream Christian churches don’t have a positive opinion of him. He tried to turn Uganda into an Islamic country (a legacy of this is that we’re still part of the Organisation of Islamic Charity even though less than 15% of the population identifies as Muslim) and favoured his fellow Muslims when it came to the civil service and high ranking government positions. Also, he killed the Archbishop of the Anglican Church, Janan Luwum, and tried to frame it as a car accident in 1977.
But in general, group 2 despised Amin for several reasons. When he took over, everyone expected change. And what did they get? Expulsion of the most influential minorities from the country, widespread lawlessness, hyper inflation towards the end of the regime, courtesy of the expulsion, because the people put in charge of the business afterwards were pretty incompetent, though in Amin’s defense it could be said the ’70s weren’t a good time economically across the world. Corruption increased. In fact, it got so bad that you couldn’t trust the security forces with your life, and lack of trust in the security forses among civilians is still high, becuase the corruption got worse. He sent us into war with Tanzania, and we only finished paying reparations in 2007. And his reputation as a womaniser who didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. For instance, one of his wives, Sara, was already engaged when he married and she was pregnant with her boyfriend’s baby. When Amin claimed the baby as his, the boyfriend objected, and it’s implied that Amin had him killed. Sara was so traumatised that she didn’t give Amin any children, because she knew what he did. Another instance had something to do with wanting to marry a rich Indian woman who refused and then he decided to expel Asians as a result, but I’m somewhat skeptical of that, though given Amin’s irrational tendencies, it might be true.
Personally, I used to be in the hater crowd, but as I found out more, I developed a more nuanced opinion about the matter. Personally, I think he had his heart in the right place but didn’t have the right methods (he was illiterate). But some of his decrees have some positive gains, such as the Asian expulsion, which cleared the way for African entrepreneurs, hence succeeding in trying to empower Africans, but it was a reckless idea overall, and this country is still an economic basket case nearly 47 years later.
So in general, Idi Amin is viewed positively by a majority of the youth, who show ignorance concerning his negative deeds, and those who were alive at the time who, understandably, still loath him to this day.
I hope that in the future, he will be seen from a more nuanced view
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