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Working with Idi Amin : A tale of two Ministers


Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A former Minister in Idi Amin’s government says Uganda’s third President has at times been harshly judged for the military brutality during  his eight-year rule.

Professor Edward Rugumayo who served as the Minister of Education under Amin says was not foreign to Uganda but his actions were a product of the colonial army then characterized by brutality.

He says the way Dr. Apollo Milton Obote handled the army caused what he calls confusion leading to his over throw by Amin in 1971.

Rugumayo says the conduct of Amin’s army is a lesson to leaders elsewhere that they must handle the army with care and balance and that soldiers should made to know that they are protectors of the civilian and not to terrorize them.

Amin according to Rugumayo successfully brought in the army in the running of the government because he had discovered distrust in the civilians.

Rugumayo was one of the former Ministers at the launch of the “Unseen archive of Idi Amin’s photographs”. The archive has over 7000 were extracted from films formerly kept by Uganda Television now Uganda Broadcasting Corporation.

Rugumayo like his colleague Henry Kyemba says while Idi Amin had his bad side, he had some positives too.  Amin’s expulsion of the Asians from Uganda earned him condemnation but Professor Rugumayo says it allowed Ugandans or Africans into business.

Rugumayo later abandoned his ministerial job and fled to exile protesting the killings under Amin. He says while they constantly lived in fear of Amin and the military, Amin ensured that professionals.

Henry Kyemba,  was the the Minister of Culture and later Minister of of Health under Idi Amin. He says Amin initially would appoint professionals in his cabinet as part of his positive side.

Kyemba was the Minister of culture and later Minister of Health under Amin before he fled to exile in 1977.

He says key sectors like Uganda Airlines, the Railways among other were being ran by respective ministries without interference from the President.

Kyemba reveals that cabinet had little discussion about security because Amin thought his Ministers were not competent on it.

Kyemba in his State of Blood details some of the atrocities under Idi Amin. But he says Amin’s good side should not be swept under the carpet.

The Unseen Archive of  Amin’s photographs exhibition was opened by Deputy Premier, Ali Kirunda Kivejinja at Uganda Museum in Kampala. The exhibition  with over 200 of the 7000 pictures runs until end of November.

One of the curators Dr. Derek Peterson, a Professor of History and African Studies at the University says the exhibition gives a timeline of Amin’s leadership and lifestyle from 1971-1979. “

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