Despite his infamous reputation as a ruthless leader, Idi Amin implemented policies that brought some positive changes to Uganda.

Michael MahantaBy Michael Mahanta

Idi Amin Dada is known as one of the most brutal despots in world history. He ruled as a military dictator and was the President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979. He was closely associated with Milton Obote, Uganda’s first Prime Minister and President.

In 1971, he staged a coup against Obote and ruled Uganda with an iron fist, engaging in brutal and often arbitrary actions to maintain his grip on power. In 1972, he expelled all Asians from Uganda, and as many as 300,000 deaths are attributed to Amin’s rule.


Uganda under Idi Amin

However, in 1979, the Idi Amin regime was overthrown by a force of Ugandan exiles and Tanzanian troops. Since then, there have been few opportunities for Ugandans to learn about Amin’s presidency.

The debate around his legacy is only now finding a place in Uganda’s public life. So, does the dictator, responsible for much of Uganda’s bitter memories of the past, have any positive contributions to the African nation? Let’s find out.

While older Ugandans may associate Amin’s eight-year rule with atrocities, many younger Ugandans view him more positively as a builder and nationalist.

Was Idi Amin Really A Dictator
Idi Amin Dada (Source: ThoughtCo)

Amin’s regime is credited with leading Uganda to become the world’s top coffee producer, as the country has native coffee and it remains an essential part of the nation’s export economy. The coffee industry thrived during his regime. In addition, Idi Amin promoted and elevated the sports image in Uganda.

Idi Amin also propelled the decolonization drive that swept across the African continent, and he oversaw the creation of Uganda’s first and only national flag carrier, the Uganda Airlines Corporation, as well as the Uganda Railways Corporation.

Likewise, he appointed Elizabeth Bagaya as Africa’s first female Foreign Minister in 1972, before Britain and most of Europe had female Foreign Ministers or woman Prime Ministers like Margaret Thatcher.

Was Idi Amin Really A Dictator
(Source: World Airline News)

According to a report during Idi Amin regime, Uganda had a total of 65 air force planes, including L-29 trainers, Twin Otters, MIG-17, and MiG-21. Amin is also remembered for connecting Uganda to the rest of the world by establishing earth satellite stations at Mpoma in Mukono and Ombaci in his home region of West Nile.

By the time it was set up in the 1970s, the satellite station was one of the few of its kind on the African continent, with another one located in Nigeria.

Despite his infamous reputation as a ruthless leader, Idi Amin implemented policies that brought some positive changes to Uganda.

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