Lanekatuk Memorial, Inc.
Idi Amin Dada (mid-1920s – August 16, 2003) was an officer armed forces, and President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979. His reign was characterized by human rights abuses, political repression, sectarian violence and ethnic persecution, in particular with the expulsion of Asians from Uganda, and persecution of the Acholi people and Lango ethnic groups. The death toll during Amin's regime probably will never be accurately known.An estimate from the International Commission of Jurists in 1977 is that it was not less than 80,000 and more likely around 300,000. Another estimate, compiled by exile organizations with the help of Amnesty International, put the number killed at 500,000. He styled himself His Excellency, President of Uganda, President President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji, Doctor Idi Amin, VC, Distinguished Service Order, Military Cross, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea, and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular.

When he assumed power in 1971, Uganda had experienced a series of coups and counter coups since achieving independence in 1962. He sincerely believed that his coup enjoyed popular support, while his promise to improve the economy, schools, health care and to raise the standard of living generated some enthusiasm. Cheering crowds were reported in the streets of Kampala after the coup. His charismatic personality exuded confidence in the ability of an African state, led by an African leader, to put its own house in order. Unfortunately, Amin's habit of blaming everything that was wrong in Uganda on the former colonial power wore thin as he accumulated personal wealth, ordered anyone who opposed him killed. He made no effort to establish a democratic, civilian government.

What was meant to be a short-term, caretaker government lasted eight years. Like many dictators, he argued that the measures he initially put in place were necessary to restore law and order. He never rescinded them. It is possible that the potential economic rewards of the Presidency were too attractive for a man who boasted about the poverty of his upbringing. The life he began to lead appears to have resulted in mental instability. Some allege that he suffered from syphilis. 300,000 Ugandans died as a result of his brutality. Amin, at the beginning, had Uganda's interests at heart. However, he lacked the skill to achieve the reforms he wanted and what started with a degree of hope, like dictatorial careers elsewhere, turned into a bad dream for his people. In his infamous expulsion of Ugandan Asians, 60,000 people were given 90 days to leave.

Idi Amin. (2008, April 13). New World Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:18, March 24, 2010 from
Gen. Idi Amin. (Photo: AP)