President Museveni has unequivocally dismissed a proposal to establish an Idi Amin Memorial Institute, asserting that the former leader’s legacy is unfit for commemoration.
A group of Ugandans had reached out to the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) seeking guidance on licensing this institute.
In a letter dated October 5 and addressed to First Lady Janet Museveni, who serves as the Minister of Education and Sports, President Museveni outlined the reasons for his objection.
He emphasized that Idi Amin’s regime was unconstitutional, marked by numerous atrocities against Ugandans, and severely detrimental to the country’s economy.
The President’s stance has triggered a political debate, with proponents of the institute and a comprehensive review of Amin’s legacy perceiving his rejection as politically motivated.
Museveni argued that “Idi Amin’s government was clearly illegal, having no right to install itself over our country.”
He also highlighted the heinous crimes committed during Amin’s rule, including the killing of Acholi and Lango soldiers in Mbarara, the massacre of prisoners in Muukula prison, and the murders of individuals such as Ben Kiwanuka, Basil Bataringaya, and his wife, among others.
Idi Amin seized power through a coup in 1971, overthrowing President Apollo Milton Obote, and ruled until 1979.
He passed away in 2003 in exile in Saudi Arabia.
The spokesman for the team advocating for the institute, Mr. Hassan Fungaroo Kaps, questioned both the President’s reasons and the legal basis for his directive.
He pointed out that Museveni himself came to power through a military coup against an elected regime.
He further noted that killings have continued in Uganda, even after Amin’s death, some of which are attributed to security agencies.
The proposal to establish an Idi Amin Memorial Institute was envisioned as a platform to promote research, peace, reconciliation, and conflict resolution.
Mr. Fungaroo stressed that Amin’s legacy should be examined impartially, acknowledging both the good and the bad.
Mr. Fungaroo and his team intend to seek an audience with President Museveni to discuss the matter and the broader development agenda for the West Nile region, which they believe is linked to the Amin legacy.