The BBC in its Saturday broadcast announcing the death of former
president Idi Amin Dada reported that he kept
the heads of seven of his victims in a fridge
in his kitchen.
The report said that Amin would
display the heads every time he hosted visitors
at the State House in Entebbe.
Researcher Fredrick Guweddeko
of Makerere University says that this is just
one of the myths that the Western media has propagated
about the former president, especially after his
fall-out with the British government.
Some of the myths about the dictator's
eight-year reign were propagated in the movie,
The Rise and Fall of Idi Amin, a biography of
the former president acted by Joseph Olita, a
Kenyan who was chosen for his striking resemblance
to the dictator.
Says Guweddeko: "People should
know that the creators of the film barred it from
being shown publicly in Uganda. They knew that
people here would corroborate the information
and the film would lose its credibility."
The Rise and Fall was instrumental
in propagating myths about the fallen dictator.
In one scene, the film features
Amin opening a fridge and showing his visitors
two heads of his former victims with a rather
Another scene shows Amin dismissing
the coroner doing the autopsy, he picks up a scalpel,
cuts a piece of his victim's flesh, mumbles some
incomprehensible words and eats the flesh.
The Rise and Fall also portrays
Amin as a playboy and a sex maniac. It features
Amin having sex simultaneously with two women,
one black the other Caucasian.
The dictator who was married to
four wives during his reign was known for keeping
a keen eye on skirts.
Guwedekko admits that Amin contracted
a venereal disease in 1976.
Many young people whose only knowledge
of the former dictator have formed their impressions
around the negative things written about him or
portrayed in the movie.
In this movie once more, Amin
is depicted seeking the counsel of a witch doctor
on how he can retain his grip on power. Amin was
told to sacrifice one of his sons, three-year-old
Moses, in order to achieve this.
Guweddeko disputes this.
"Amin never went to ordinary
witchdoctors," he says. "Among the Islamic
faith are authorities who use the Koran to foretell
He says that these are the people
that Amin contacted rather than the native healers.
"The son they say was sacrificed
went to France and read a university degree. He
was even at his dad's bedside at the time of his
death," adds Guweddeko.
In the memoirs that Idi Amin sent
to Fred Guweddeko earlier this month, he denied
all these allegations.
Many people have often said that
Idi Amin killed his wife Kay Adroa, the sister
of his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Michael Ondoga.
He is said to have killed her after suspecting
her of committing adultery.
Henry Kyemba's book The State
of Blood also says as much.
But Guwedekko absolves Amin. According
to him, Idi Amin had divorced Kay and she moved
on. She had an affair with a one Mbalu Mukasa,
a medical doctor with whom she got pregnant.
However, Amin and Kay later made
up. All the while she was afraid of what he would
do if he discovered that she was pregnant. So
she asked Dr Mbalu Mukasa to help her terminate
The doctor was hesitant because
the pregnancy was at an advanced stage - seven
months and three weeks. But Kay insisted.
She died from heavy bleeding during
the abortion. The doctor panicked.
He figured that if he made her
death look like a typical Amin handiwork, he could
get the fingers to point in that direction.
So he cut off her limbs put her
torso and severed limbs in the boot of his car
and then tried to dispose off the body. After
failing to do so, Mbalu tried to kill his family
with a drug overdose and committed suicide.