By John Kakooza
Charles Onyango Obbo in his column in the Daily Monitor last week said Idi Amin was worse, far worse than Museveni.
Obbo describes aspects of Amin’s brutal rule when murder was the order of the day. Many Ugandans, ordinary and prominent, died; amongst the most notable Archbishop Janani Luwum, Frank Kalimuzo, Ben Kiwanuka and others.
Obbo adds that the brutality taking place side by side with adverse economic circumstances (themselves a consequence of Amin’s rule) have left lasting scars on the Ugandan body politic.
I would argue that the only thing difference between Idi Amin and Museveni is that the former was an uneducated lout, uncouth and unable to grasp how harmful it was to his regime to be so openly criminal. I would further argue that Museveni is only the opposite face of the same coin as Idi Amin. Museveni is just an educated and highly refined Idi Amin, which actually makes him worse!
One can talk of the deaths of prominent people in the Museveni era: Kayiira, Mayombo, Aronda, Kazini, countless Muslim clerics, and so many others that have died either mysteriously, or been brutally murdered. Even if it were to be claimed one or two of these people “died accidentally”, how can one not see Museveni’s hand in the murders of so many Ugandans? Their killers were just more careful to cover their tracks so that it wasn’t so easy to see the guy behind the eliminations; or shall we say he is just more educated?
Also, is there any difference in the behavior of, say, Amin’s State Research Bureau and Museveni’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), or Internal Security Organisation (ISO), or the Special Force Command (SFC)?
Amin’s forces used to abduct people in broad daylight, brutally beating them while taking them to the dungeons of the State Research Bureau in Nakasero, the Makindye military police, or at the Nile Mansions, and other places of torture. That was awful.
But who can pretend that CMI goons that brutally abduct people in broad daylight on the streets of Kampala, battering them with gun butts and carting them in fake matatus with false number plates are any better than Amin’s thugs? The people that shot dead Yassin Kawuma in cold blood (mistaking him for his employer Bobi Wine), the ones that tortured Bobi Wine almost to death, the ones that beat Mityana MP Francis Zaake into coma. How are these people’s violence any better than Idi Amin’s operatives?
No Mr. Obbo, Museveni is no better than Amin, if anything it is the other way round. For Amin was a thug striking out instinctively, while Museveni is much more deliberate and cold-headed in his application of deadly violence.
Lastly, if we are to talk of the economy, was there anywhere as much corruption in the times of Idi Amin as what we see in these times of Museveni; this outright looting of Uganda’s resources, its wealth being sucked dry by one thieving clique?
Let the Ugandan public judge for itself.