Arua’s Unwanted Guest: Idi Amin Memorial Lecture – No One Wants to Host
In a move that can only be described as “Amin-sly” amusing, the inaugural memorial lecture for former President Idi Amin in Arua City on Friday did a disappearing act worthy of its namesake.
It all started when a group of local leaders and stakeholders, who were apparently suffering from a severe case of historical amnesia, decided to organize the first-ever memorial lecture and prayers to honor the illustrious contribution of the late President Idi Amin to Uganda and the entire African continent. Clearly, they overlooked the minor detail that Amin was responsible for one of the darkest chapters in Ugandan history.
Trouble began brewing when the ever-so-wise management of Muni University, perhaps realizing the absurdity of hosting a lecture celebrating a dictator’s legacy, declined to be part of this surreal event.
During a meeting that must have been a rollercoaster of hilarity, the organizers and Muni University’s top brass met on August 23, 2023. Associate Professor Simon Anguma Katrini, the acting Vice-Chancellor, delivered a masterclass in trolling by demanding a letter of authorization from the Minister of Education and Sports. One can only imagine the amusement on his face as he pondered the implications of hosting such an event.
Kaps Fungaroo Hassan, the Public Relations Officer of the Central Organizing Committee for the Idi Amin Dada Memorial Lecture and Prayers, confirmed that they had penned a letter to Dr. Chrysostom Muyingo, the Minister of Education in charge of higher education, but alas, they were left hanging like a bad punchline. He expressed their “difficulty” with the venue and urged the public to remain “focused.” Yes, because nothing says “focus” like honoring a dictator.
However, in a surprising twist of common sense, Dr. Denis Mugimba, the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Education and Sports, claimed ignorance about the supposed letter. He also revealed that universities like Muni have the freedom to decide whether to host events, especially when those events involve commemorating oppressive regimes. How refreshing, a glimmer of sanity.
Meanwhile, Fahil Lemeriga, the Spokesperson of the Democratic Party in Northern Uganda, probably couldn’t believe his luck as he suggested relocating the spectacle to Arua Primary School playground. His logic? Well, since General Idi Amin was once a pupil there, it’s only fitting to host the memorial lecture in a place that once harbored the great mind of this tyrant.
In case you’ve forgotten (and who could blame you for trying), General Idi Amin, hailing from the present-day Koboko district, came to power in 1971. He graciously overthrew the elected government of Dr. Milton Obote and generously declared himself president of Uganda. He continued his reign of laughter and hilarity until April 11, 1979, when he was forced to flee, probably to find more appreciative audiences. Initially seeking refuge in Libya, he later moved to Saudi Arabia, where he presumably continued his stand-up comedy routine until his death in 2003. Rest in laughter, General Amin.