Idi Amin Dada was the military dictator of Uganda from 1971 until 1979. He was a soldier in the King’s African Rifles and came to power through a military coup, deposing Milton Obote. Amin gave himself the rank of Field Marshall.
“By 1978, the number of Amin’s close associates had shrunk significantly, and he faced increasing dissent from within Uganda. After the killings of Luwum and ministers Oryema and Oboth Ofumbi in 1977, several of Amin’s ministers defected or fled to exile.
Later that year, after Amin’s vice president, General Mustafa Adrisi, was injured in a car accident, troops loyal to him mutinied. Amin sent troops against the mutineers, some of whom had fled across the Tanzanian border. Amin accused Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere of waging war against Uganda, ordered the invasion of Tanzanian territory, and formally annexed a section of the Kagera Region across the boundary.
Nyerere mobilised the Tanzania People’s Defence Force and counter-attacked, joined by several groups of Ugandan exiles who had united as the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA). Amin’s army retreated steadily, and despite military help from Libya’s Muammar al-Gaddafi, he was forced to flee on 11 April 1979 when Kampala was captured. He escaped first to Libya and ultimately settled in Saudi Arabia where the Saudi royal family paid him a generous subsidy in return for his staying out of politics.”
Amin died in 2003.
There have been numerous comparisons of Mugabe’s rule to that of Adolf Hitler, not helped by Mugabe’s own comment, “if I am a Hitler, let me be a Hitler tenfold“.
His is paranoid to the point that, having likened himself to Hitler, had his judiciary prosecute, convict and jail a woman for agreeing with him, and calling him “Hitler“…
Mugabe believes that the West is intent on deposing him and stealing Zimbabwe’s mineral wealth. Almost every time that he is near a microphone, he will makes all manner of allegations that the West is conspiring against him and his party and often accuses the Movement for Democratic Change as being sponsored by the West.
Mugabe’s hands are drenched in blood. He first came to power having fought the Rhodesian security forces in a bloody bush war in the 1970s and then with the aid of the West who assisted in the beginning of black rule in the new Zimbabwe.
It didn’t take long for Mugabe to start to change things in an independent Zimbabwe, and within two years, the Gukurahundi began. Until 1987, the Ndebele tribe were the target of the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade who committed some heinous atrocities, leaving between 20 and 30 thousand people dead. Mugabe refuses to apologise for the operation, saying that it was a ‘moment of madness’.
In the last thirty years since Mugabe took power in Zimbabwe, there have been numerous unexplained deaths on Zimbabwe’s roads and elsewhere, which effectively took some of Mugabe’s fiercest critics out of play, and put an end to many a person who had developed a taste for power.
Christopher Ushowekunzwe (road accident), Maurice Nyagumbo (drowning), Peter Pamire (road accident) – just to name three.
In 2000, enraged by the public rejection of a new constitution, Mugabe ordered the war veterans to begin the land grab. Even as I type, ten years later, that operation continues. White commercial farmers have been murdered together with numerous farm workers. In many cases, the killer is known, but Mugabe refuses to have the person tried in criminal courts for their deeds.
Land, ostensibly seized to be handed to the landless blacks, is now in the hands of Mugabe’s ZANU PF loyalists. And the majority of that land lies fallow.
The country’s population relies on aid to feed the 4 million that are starving.
In 2005, in an attempt to break what he perceived as a building MDC enclave, Mugabe ordered the destruction of the homes of well over one million people.
Those people today still live with inadequate shelter – and many have lost their jobs as a direct result.
Unemployment runs into the 95th percentile and the economy barely works.
Since 1980, Mugabe has systematically rigged all and every election and without his interference in the 2008 Presidential election, he would have lost – soundly – to the MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai. Mugabe had himself sworn back into office with surprising alacrity.
Entering into a power-sharing coalition with the MDC, Mugabe has done whatever he wants, whenever he wants, to whoever he wants, and he refuses to hand any significant power to the MDC despite losing the parliamentary election.
Is Mugabe the new Idi Amin?
No – he is worse. Worse insofar as his reign is much longer, worse insofar as resistance to his rule is minimal, worse insofar as his rule seems without end.
Many people have died because of Mugabe’s rule, and instead of doing an Amin and running for shelter elsewhere in the world, he is content to remain in Zimbabwe and continue with his ruinous, violent reign.
Idi Amin was just a curtain raiser to what Mugabe has become.
Robb WJ Ellis
The Bearded Man