Of the three Iddi Amins we know today, my late father had met two. The real Iddi Amin Dada “the big daddy” and the other one, his friend the Kenyan actor playing Amin in the rise and fall and Mississippi Masala movies the late Joseph Olita who died barely 24 hours after burying his mother in South Alego, Nyanza. The 3rd Amin is an American actor called Forrest Whittaker.
The real Iddi Amin Dada alias Big Daddy .
The man was 6.4 ft , unlike Mr. Olita who was 5.5 ft and Whittaker who stands at 6.2 ft. The man was as big as they can possibly come, he was a giant! Amin started his military carrier in the Kings African riffles before moving upwards under President Dr. Apollo Milton Obote whom he later overthrew to become commander in chief of the
Uganda armed forces. Dr. Apollo Milton Obote is the only man who ruled Uganda twice on separate occasions.
Amin was deployed to Somalia in 1949 to fight the Shifta rebels and later fought with the British during the suppression of the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya (1952-56). In 1959 he attained the rank of effendi—the highest position for a black African soldier within the KAR—and, by 1966, he had been appointed commander of the armed forces
Iddi Amin has remained a controversial figure to date, from the expulsion of Indian Minorities from Uganda, to giving refuge to terrorists from Palestine
. He was also blamed for the touture and deaths of thousands Ugandans and was also alleged to be a Canibal himself.
Well not everyone supports these allegations ofcos while some believe that some allegations have some truth in the name while some are just mere propaganda aimed at casting the former strongman in a negative light.
Some people love him and remember him as the man who took foreigners wealth and gifted it to his people and the man who made the Whiteman bend their knee or bow before him. It is even Said that Amin used to make the Whiteman carry him on his chair as if he was riding on a chariot.
One of his sons Mr. Jaffar Amin says that his late father was just an ordinary father like any, he was loving, caring, a good boxing Coach and ofcos carried a little bit of strictness in him. After all he, Amin had spent many years in the military. It is also in the military where Amin became the Ugandan light weight boxing champion from 1951 to 1960.
His wife Madina Amin gives her own opinion of who the real Amin was in contradiction to what he is made to be to the world today.
In her own words Madina said that Amin’s mother predicted his son’s presidency. She also told him to retain and preserve the Buganda kingdom legacy, because they had been good to them as Nubians.
Even though Amin was allegedly brutal and a rough administrator, ironically, he was a calm, loving family man.
Madina says that he loved his kids and when he came back home after a long day’s work, he used to sit down on the carpet and play with them even after a hectic long day in office.
At home, Amin was not as violent as perceived by the public and even though he was a strict disciplinarian when necessary and a very religious man, “Idi Amin was a staunch believer and staunch believer of the Muslim faith,” she says.
The fallen general’s widow justifiably describes his late husband as a free man who only found it necessary to devise strictness as his core administrative plan, given the defiant nature of Ugandans.
As observed by Madina, Amin moved with a gun; in his car, besides the bed, everywhere!
Madina says that he also equipped his wife with a pistol upon her completion of a 3 months military training.
One time as the head of state and OAU chairman, Amin survived a grenade attack on his way home. His body guard got injured in the process. Amin personally drove him to Mulago hospital for treatment. On reaching home, stained with blood, he told her to give him clean clothes, and he headed straight back to state house to work.
As a first lady, Madina with a utter sadness on her face recollects the bitter memories of the Israel rescue attack on the Ugandan at Entebbe international airport on the 4th of July, 1976.
She refers to it as an honestly very hard time to live with in the mind.
“It was a horrible experience, when they came to take their people, they left so many of our people dead,” Madina recalls.
With ample knowledge about her own husband, Madina Amin claims Idi Amin never had any money or secret bank accounts outside Uganda.
“Even when he fled the country, he took very little money and his briefcase, not bags of money most people claim. And that’s also relatively why we, his family are only living a normal life, not as luxurious as is the trend with other first families,” Madina narrates.
Madina further stresses that if there’s any time Amin appeared with sacks of cash, it was from outside to Uganda, not from Uganda.
“Like when his friend Gaddhafi offered him sacks of money from Libya, I told him to let us retain at least a sack in the house as family but he boldly said no? He told me it’s the country’s money, not ours,” narrated a rather proud Madina.
He would later the following morning pack all the sacks of money and send them to the national commercial bank.
Madina says that when her husband left for a ten days trip abroad on confidential duties, he installed her as acting President. Madina says that Amin informed his cabinet and diplomats that she was in charge until his return. In a televised interview, Madina exclaimed, “It’s hard governing a whole county. Presidents hardly ever sleep.
This I know because I officially presided over Uganda for a whole 240 hours. I am the only woman to have ever ruled Uganda.” The former first lady, admits that it’s so stressing to live powerlessly, having been in, and out of power before.
“Now I bypass my house in Kololo that my husband bought for me, and it’s an ambassador who resides in it because the government took it over,” Madina revealed.
After his ouster, Amin, a Muslim and member of the small Kakwa tribe from northwestern Uganda, went into exile first in Libya, then Iraq before finally settling in Saudi Arabia on the condition that he stay out of politics.
“Amin was good man. I do not think Amin was a killer,″ said Henry Kigozi, a 40-year-old shoe shiner working the streets of Kampala, who added if the former dictator ran for Uganda’s presidency he would win.
But Peter Matovu, a 43-year-old used clothes seller in a Kampala market, said Amin deserved to die.
Amin was rarely interviewed by the Saudi press, but in an interview a few years ago with Uganda’s Sunday Vision, Amin said he was at peace with himself and that his only passion was Islam. Amin claimed that, “unlike some African heads of state”, he did not flee Uganda with state funds.
“But I am satisfied with what I am getting and even paying school fees for a number of my orphaned relatives in Uganda, and helping needy people,” he said. His pastimes included reciting Quranic verses, swimming, fishing in the Red Sea, reading and watching television, particularly news programmes, he said.
“I am leading a quiet life and committed to my religion, Islam, and Allah. I don’t have problems with anyone,” Mr Amin told the newspaper.
on April 11, 1979, Amin was forced to flee when Kampala was captured. Although he originally sought refuge in Libya, Iraq and he later moved to Jeddah Saudi Arabia, where he lived comfortably until his death of multiple organ failure in 2003.
Insert are rare pictures of Al Hajj iddi Amin Dada.
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