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Idi Amin

General Idi Amin Dada (born ca. 1925) was the military ruler of Uganda from February 2, 1971 to 1979.

Idi Amin Dada

He was a sergeant in the British colonial army, and after independence rose to commander-in-chief of the Ugandan army. He seized power with a coup deposing Milton Obote on January 25, 1971, after which he established a dictatorial regime.

Following his seizure of the Presidency, Amin had military leaders who had not supported the coup executed, mostly by beheading and firing squad. According to rumour, he kept some of the severed heads, in his freezer, and would place them on his dining table when guests came over.

Though brutal and oppressive, Amin could also be quite charming, and delighted western reporters with his many eccentricities. His dark black skin, routund apperance and ridiculously over-decorated military uniforms made him seem clownish and amusing to much of the world, and to the racist regimes in South Africa and Rhodesia a clear example that native Africans were incapable of governing themselves.

In the morning of August 5th, 1972 Idi Amin had a dream in which he claimed God told him to expel the Indian/Asian community of Uganda. On August 9th, he gave the Indian community (around 40,000) 90 days to leave the country. When they refused, Amin's forces went on a widespread campaign of genocide.

As the years went on, Amin's eccentricities slowly descended into childlike madness. He began wearing so many medals his shirts would often tear from the weight. As his ego swelled, he granted himself a series of increasingly grand titles, including president for life, "Conqueror of the British Empire," and even "King of Scotland."

By 1978, with 300,000 citizens executed, and no other nation maintaining diplomatic ties with his country, Amin ordered the invasion of Tanzania. By 1979 Tanzania, with the help of Ugandan guerillas had driven out Amin, taking the capital Kampala and restoring Obote. Amin fled to exile in Saudi Arabia, where he lives to this day.

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