The Democratic Party (DP) has called on President Museveni to diminish his personal animosity towards his predecessors, with a specific focus on former President Idi Amin.
This request comes in response to Museveni’s strong rejection of a proposal made by former Obongi West MP, Kaps Fungaroo, who had urged the Minister of Education, Janet Kataha Museveni, to consider establishing an institute to honor the memory of Idi Amin Dada.
President Museveni, however, wasted no time in expressing his disapproval of this request, going so far as to urge his wife, the Minister of Education, to deny it outright. Museveni stated, “This request is inappropriate, and it should be denied.”
Museveni’s argument against the proposal revolves around his belief that Idi Amin’s government was illegitimate and that Amin himself was an unconstitutional leader. He pointed out the numerous atrocities committed during Amin’s rule, including the killing of Acholi and Lango soldiers in Mbarara, prisoners in Mutukula prison, as well as prominent figures like Ben Kiwanuka and Basil Bataringaya. Furthermore, Museveni highlighted Amin’s expulsion of Indian entrepreneurs, which, in his view, led to their enrichment in Canada and the United Kingdom. As a result, Museveni deemed it unacceptable to license an institute to promote or study Amin’s work and decreed that this part of history should be forgotten.
The DP’s acting spokesperson, Ismail Kiirya, countered Museveni’s stance in a statement, arguing that Museveni’s personal animosity should not be projected onto the entire country. Kiirya acknowledged Amin’s issues with fundamental human rights, the rule of law, and constitutionalism, but he emphasized that Amin had been Uganda’s former president. Kiirya suggested that if Museveni truly wanted to move on from Amin’s legacy, he should consider stripping Amin of his status as a former president. However, if this wasn’t possible, Kiirya warned that Uganda would continue to recognize Amin as a former president.
Kiirya also pointed out that despite Amin’s perceived shortcomings during his leadership, he had managed to revitalize Uganda’s economy, develop Uganda’s satellite in Mpoma, and establish oil reserves, among other achievements. He cautioned that by sowing the seeds of animosity towards former presidents, Museveni could potentially face scrutiny for any atrocities committed during his own time in leadership. Kiirya contended, “President Idi Amin accomplished more for Uganda in his eight-year rule than could have been achieved in 40 years.” He suggested that the country was currently working toward reconciliation with former presidents and warned that failing to embrace this path could lead to a challenging transition when Museveni eventually left power, as some might view him as worse than President Idi Amin.