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nation should not be defined by its leader, but by its people and yet everyone always looks at a leader to represent their nation. Idi Amin Dada is quite a character throughout history. He has put Uganda through the grimmest period since its formation and has killed thousands of his own men just because it was his way or no way. What is interesting, is the way he reached that power and the unorganized and gruesome dictatorship he had taken upon Uganda.

Coming to Power

Idi Amin was born in 1924 in Uganda which at the time was under the control of the British Empire. He had been blessed with great genes, being taller and bigger than most other kids, something that helped him throughout life by imposing his big stature onto persuading others. Upon becoming of age, he had the same dream every boy in Uganda had, to be enrolled into the British army. This was the highest regarded profession for men in Uganda at the time, even better than a doctor or lawyer.

With the efforts of his mother, he ended up being enrolled in the British army. His military career, as you would be expected started from cleaning toilets. Due to his nationality, he wasn’t treated very well amongst his other colleagues, but he never let his guard down, and his size was 6.5 feet tall and weighing 100 Kg, you would not want to mess with him.

In a short time, he had been promoted to private and started fighting on different fronts across the world. After a year of military service, he had been promoted to Corporal, after four more years to Sergent, and after eight years of military service to Lieutenant. His pristine military service had built him a good reputation with the British Empire.

In 1962, Uganda had proclaimed its independence, freeing itself from the dominance of the British Empire. Idi Amin returned to his home country as he wanted to fight for power, to become the president of Uganda. During his time in the British army, he had learned a lot about politics from his commanding officers and the ways in which the British Empire imposed itself to colonize other countries.

Brutal Reign like no other

Idi Amin these political strategies to fight for power between the tribes of Uganda. On the 2nd of February, 1971, he organized a coup to become the President of Uganda. His regime is still remembered to be the most brutal in history, even worst than Joseph Stalin.

Amin shortly before addressing the United Nations General Assembly, 1975 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Power wasn’t enough for him, he wanted to secure that power and his place by getting rid of anyone who opposed his political ideology. His reign had been made significant through his severe neglect of human rights, violent political repression, ethnic and racial prosecutions, and one of the highest corruptions seen to date.

His relationship with the British Empire had deteriorated and he lost his respect for them, blaming them for always taking advantage of all Uganda had to offer, which is not entirely a false statement. Idi Amin was so upset with the British Empire, that he even sent Queen Elisabeth II a letter in which he said “if you want to see a real man, you can come to Uganda”. He even exiled 50,000 Asians from Uganda because he wanted a more traditional population.

One of the most noticeable actions he had taken as President was arresting people for almost anything. So many people were against the political ideology that he managed in less than a year to fill up all the prisons within Uganda. At the rate of how many arrests were being made, the government would have had to cut half of its economy to build prisons. This was not a viable solution.

Therefore, Idi Amin decided to ban prisons and throw those that were arrested down the Nile river which in Uganda hosted a lot of crocodiles. There isn’t an exact record to state how many people had died eaten by crocodiles, but elders claimed to be thousands. During his reign, over 500,000 people had been killed, most of which were innocent as they were arrested going against his oppression.

In 1979 he was forced into exile by a coalition of Ugandan exiles and Tanzanian troops. In the eight years, he had ruled Uganda, it had made the country dysfunctional and the population feels even more miserable than under the dominance of the British Empire. When the western world looked or heard about Uganda, they would judge the country based on Idi Amin’s actions, not based on the people and beautiful culture within the country.

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