Uganda; key historical events
Page last modified 10/2/2019
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16/8/2003. Idi Amin, former (mad) dictator of Uganda, died. He was born in January 1925 into a Nubian tribe in the West Nile region. In 1946 he joined the Kingís Africa Rifles as a cook. At 6í 4íítall, weighing 16 stone, he was a good boxer, and was Ugandan heavyweight champion for nine years. He was also a good marksman, but missed out on army promotion when he was found in bed with a colleagueís wife and had to flee naked down the street.
His ruthless nature emerged during the Mau-Mau rebellions of the 1950s, when he would line the tribesmen up with their penises on a table and threaten to chop them off with a machete unless they revealed their hidden weapons caches. He was never court-martialled, despite torturing to death three Kenyan tribesmen. He was a sergeant-major at Ugandaís independence in 1962, and was a close aide of President Milton Obote until Obote began to ask questions about arms spending.
On 25/1/1971, whilst Obote was abroad, Amin, by now a general, sent tanks into the capital, Kampala, and declared Uganda to be under his military rule. He first purged the ranks of the military; 32 senior officers were killed in one go when their barracks was blown up. Other officers were shot, hanged, or beheaded. Amin set up the State Research Bureau, whose 3,000 officers could intern people on mere suspicion of sedition. Survivors of these internment camps told of being forced to smash other prisonerís heads with sledgehammers, or even being forced to butcher, cook, and eat them, in order to be spared themselves. Many victims were thrown to the crocodiles in the Nile at Karume Falls Bridge.
During his eight year rule of Uganda, over 300,000 Ugandans were killed by his administration, sometimes publicly, on television. He was reputed to have kept the heads of his more powerful opponents in a fridge, so he could carry on berating them; he admitted to occasional cannibalism, disliking not the act itself but the taste of human flesh Ė he found it too salty. He murdered his first wifeís uncle, who was also his Foreign Minister; soon after divorcing his second wife her dismembered body was found in a car boot. He divorced another two wives over the radio. On 10/8/1972 Amin denounced Ugandaís 70,000 Asians as crooks, racketeers, and racists who prevented their daughters from marrying Africans and gave them 90 days to leave the country, minus all their assets; they were permitted one suitcase each. This effectively stripped Uganda of all its civil servants, administrators, and business leaders. Some 80% of Ugandaís businesses were left leaderless, and British businesses were nationalised the following year.
Amin claimed Scotland had offered him its crown if he helped it separate from Britain, and he took to wearing a kilt. He proposed to patch up Anglo-Ugandan relation by marrying Princess Anne. Idi Amin advised Nixon to jail the opposition during the Watergate scandal. Amin sent a message of support to Kurt Waldheim, former Nazi who became Secretary general at the UN, after Waldheim was accused of war crimes; Amin said Hitlerís only mistake was to .lose the war. In Uganda, Amin forbade facial hair, shorts for men and trousers and mini-skirts for women; he banned flip-flops and forced two offenders to eat theirs.
The Entebbe crisis of 1976 was the beginning of the end of Aminís rule. In revenge for an Israeli raid on the airport to free hostages held by Palestinian guerrillas, the Ugandan army killed an elderly British woman, Dora Bloch. By 1978 every non-Arab nation had severed relations with Uganda, which was in ruins economically. Amin then invaded Tanzania. He sent President Julius Nyere a telegram saying ĎI love you so much if you were a woman I would marry youí, even as Ugandan troops were slaughtering Tanzanians and their livestock over 700 square miles of Tanzania. Ugandan rebel forces joined with the Tanzanian army and Aminís regime fell on 10/4/1979.
Amin managed to escape, first to Libya, then Iraq and finally Saudi Arabia. He gave up his flamboyant uniform for Muslim robes and a skull-cap, and appeared to be a devout Muslim, living in a luxurious villa in Jeddah. Giving up alcohol, he was said to eat 40 oranges a day Ďto keep up his sex driveí. Amin drove a white range-rover, switching to a blue Cadillac on his birthday.
On 18/7/2003 he was admitted to a Saudi hospital with kidney problems, having suffered for years with high blood pressure. He fell into a coma and died on 16/8/2003.
12/1/1989, Former Ugandan President Idi Amin was expelled from Zaire; he sought refuge in Senegal.
27/7/1985, Ugandan President Milton Obote, who regained power in 1980 after being deposed by Idi Amin in 1971, was overthrown in a military coup. He was replaced by General Tito Okello.
10/12/1980. In the first elections in Uganda for 18 years, Dr Milton Obote was declared the winner.
11/4/1979. Kampala, capital of Uganda, was captured by Tanzanian forces who deposed General Idi Amin. Fighting continued in Uganda, and on 22/4/1979 Tanzanian forces captured Jinja, 50 miles from Kampala. Idi Amin fled to Libya as troops closed in on his capital.
22/3/1979. Ugandan Army troops surrounded the home of General Idi Amin but he slipped away undetected. Under Aminís rule some 300,000 Ugandans were killed. Amin became President in 1972, overthrowing Milton Obote; his downfall came when he invaded northern Tanzania in 1971. President Nyerere retaliated, assisting Ugandan rebels to depose Amin.
8/11/1978, Uganda dropped its territorial claim on Tanzania.
12/10/1978, Border clashes between Uganda and Tanzania, caused by Idi Aminís expansionist claims on Tanzanian territory.
17/6/1977. Britain recalled its last two ambassadors from Uganda after threats against them from President Idi Amin.
16/2/1977, The Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Reverend Janani Luwum, was murdered by Idi Aminís troops.
27/7/1976, The UK broke off diplomatic relations with Uganda.
25/6/1976. In Uganda, Idi Amin declared himself President for life.
13/7/1975. President Idi Amin of Uganda was promoted from General to Field Marshall.
25/3/1974. Fifty army officers were killed after a failed coup attempt against President Idi Amin of Uganda.
30/11/1972, The UK Government cancelled a planned £10 million loan to Uganda because of Aminís treatment of the Asians there.
22/9/1972, Idi Amin gave the remaining 80,000 Ugandan Asians 48 hours to leave Uganda.
6/8/1972. Idi Amin† began expelling 50,000 British Asians from Uganda. He gave all Ugandan Asians who were not citizens of Uganda 90 days in which to leave the country.
2/2/1971, Idi Amin dissolved the Ugandan Parliament and formed a Defence Council with himself as Chairman. Idi Aminís rule favoured the Muslims of northern Uganda, amongst whom he had originated.
25/1/1971. Major General Idi Amin (born 1926 of the northern Muslim Kakwa tribe) seized power in Uganda, deposing President Milton Obote whilst he was abroad at the Singaporean meeting of the Commonwealth.† In March 1979 Uganda was invaded by Tanzanian and dissident Ugandan forces, deposing† Idi Amin. Amin fled to Libya.
8/9/1967, Uganda became a republic, with Milton Obote as the first President. The former Ugandan Constitution was abolished, and Obote now enjoyed wide-ranging powers.
1966, Milton Obote accused Freddie of trying to overthrow the central government. Federal troops under a young colonel called Idi Amin stormed the Royal Baganda Palace, forcing Freddie into exile.
9/10/1962. Uganda became independent, after 62 years of British rule. The state was set up as a Federation of Buganda and three other kingdons. Milton Obote from the northern Lango tribe was the first Prime Minister. Freddie, King of the southern Buganda Kingdom became President of Uganda in 1963.
1/3/1962, Uganda achieved full self-government, with Benedicto Kiwanuka as Prime Minister.
29/4/1954, Queen Elizabeth II opened the Owen Falls hydroelectric dam at Owen Falls, Uganda.
28/12/1924, Milton Obote, President of Uganda, was born.
11/4/1894. Britain established a protectorate over Buganda. It then incorporated other regions to form the present country of Uganda.