His childhood real names were Idi Awo-Ongo Angoo.
was born on May 17, 1928 at about 4.00 a.m. in
a police barracks at the present International
Conference Centre in Kampala.
was of the Adibu clan of the Kakwa ethnic group.
His father was initially Andreas Nyabire, a Catholic
who converted to Islam in 1910 and became Amin
Nyabire Amin Dada was born in 1889 and died in
1976. He was a Kakwa from Adida in Southern Sudan.
mother of Idi Amin was called Assa Aatte.
Born in 1904, she died in 1970.
was daughter of a Lugbara Sultan (Chief) at Leiko
Iruna in the present day Democratic Republic of
was a traditional herbalist dealing with pregnancy
and fertility complications. Aatte had among her
patients in 1924-1929, Lady Irene Druscilla Namaganda,
the Nabagereka of Buganda and the Kabaka Sir Daudi
parents married in 1921 in Arua, produced their
first son in 1922, a daughter in 1925 and Ango
(Amin) in 1928.
Amin’s father served in the 4th King’s
African Rifles (KAR) from 1915 to 1920 and joined
the Uganda Police in 1921. His job in the Uganda
Police was to administer corporal punishments
called kibooko to natives.
Amin’s parents separated in 1931 while living
at a new police barracks at Kololo. Apparently,
the separation resulted from suspicion that Idi
Amin, the baby, had been fathered by Daudi Chwa
rather than by Dada.
Amin’s mother got money from the Kabaka
and built a house at Kitubulu near Entebbe. Amin’s
father, Dada, rejected him.
grew up with his maternal family. His brother
and sister died in 1932.
decades later, in 1964, Amin’s father accepted
1933 Idi Amin lived with his mother’s relatives
at Mawale near Semuto in the present Luwero district.
There he reared goats from 1936 to 1938. He then
moved to the home of Sheikh Ahmed Hussein in the
present Semuto town from 1938 to 1940 where he
started reciting the Koran.
1940 he came to Bombo to live with his marternal
uncle Yusuf Tanaboo. He tried to register for
the equivalent of Primary One but Nubians were
not admitted in schools.
a twelve-year-old Amin participated in the Nubian
riots against discrimination and was injured by
Makerere College students at Wandegeya.
1941 Amin joined Garaya Islamic school at Bombo,
and again excelled in reciting the Koran under
Mohammed Al Rajab from 1941 –1944.
and Abdul Kadir Aliga won honours in reciting
the Koran in 1943.
the end of 1944 Amin and fifteen other students
at the Bombo Garaya were taken for conscription
into the army. Amin and five others were released
for being underage.
then went to the present Kiyindi zone at Kalerwe
near Bwaise and started doing odd jobs in 1945.
He got a job as a door hat and coat attendant
at the Imperial Hotel at the end of 1945.
in 1946 a British army officer was impressed and
offered to recruit Idi Amin in the army.
served at Magamaga Barracks in Jinja as a laundry
and kitchen army staff as he trained until 1947
when he transferred to Kenya for real military
served in the 21st KAR infantry brigade at Gilgil,
until 1949 when his unit moved to Somalia at Belet
Uen to fight the Shifta animal raiders.
1950, Amin’s unit returned to Fort Hall
in Kenya. There he trained in the Scottish military
In 1951 he returned to Jinja but went back to
Kenya the same year.
1952 his battalion was deployed against the Mau
Mau. Amin became corporal the same year.
1953 he became a sergeant for his role in starting
the mobile foot patrols in the forests occupied
by the Mau Mau.
fighting the Mau Mau, Amin had a son and a daughter
with two Kikuyu women.
name appeared on the list of those soldiers who
performed best against the Mau Mau. He was also
nominated for promotion to the new rank of efendi
(that is, warrant officer equivalent).
returned to Jinja, Uganda in 1954 where he was
selected best in the parade for Queen Elizabeth.
In 1955 Sgt Amin again led the guard or honour
to welcome Kabaka Edward Mutesa from exile.
moved to Lango district in 1956 and successfully
defended the Langi from the Karimojong raids as
head of a platoon.
got a child with a Langi woman.
same year 1955, Amin’s unit was deployed
to quell a military mutiny in southern Sudan.
He again performed well by the standards of the
1957 Amin led requests for salary increment. It
was denied. Amin also failed the intellectual
(written and oral) tests for promotion. He was
posted to the KAR band.
1958 Amin again failed promotional exams but passed
field exercises in 1959 and was promoted in December
of that year.
July 1960 a British officer called Ronald Cedric
Weeding was defeated and killed by the Turkana
was sent to Karamoja. The army spokesman described
Amin as having “restored the prestige of
the forces of law and order in the region of Karamoja”.
Amin was commissioned to Lieutenant in July 1961
by Sir Frederick Crawford.
same year Amin and Daudi Ochieng were assigned
the duty of negotiating with Sir Edward Mutesa
for a political compromise.
convinced Mutesa that the Uganda army in which
Amin was part, would never move against the Kingdom.
The mission was a success.
Amin then moved against the Turkana in 1962 with
two convoys of the 4th KAR. Using the threat to
cut off their penis, Amin disarmed the Turkana
without a fight.
was again part of the initiative to placate the
unhappy Mutesa when in 1963, he proposed that
the Kabaka becomes Major General and Commander-in-Chief
of the army.
the same year, Amin prevented the recruitment
of Kabaka Yekka and Uganda People’s Congress
youths into the army. He instigated complaints
about the drive for educated people to take over
in 1964 Idi Amin complained that the army was
doing all the heavy work of the independence government
of the Rwanda where it was helping to keep law
and order. He said that they were also working
in the Rwenzoris and on the Sudan border but had
not benefited from Uhuru like the civil servants
and the politicians.
British army commander Lt.-Colonel W.W. Cheyne
blocked Idi Amin’s request for a salary
increment. Idi Amin instigated the February-March
Amin was proposed for the role of mediator between
the mutineers and the UPC-KY government for the
mutiny he had started.
end of the mutiny saw the British officers lose
their jobs to Amin. He also got a salary increment,
the promotion to Major and the command of the
Amin who in 1962 had been discontinued from a
platoon commander course at Wiltshire in the U.K
and who in 1963 failed to complete a paratrooper
course nevertheless became a deputy Army Commander
1965 Idi Amin was given the task of supporting
the Congo nationalists to resist the foreign supported
government of Mobutu Sese Seko.
Amin benefited financially and invested in a bus
company called Trans-Nile.
the end of 1965 the Congo mercenaries defeated
the Idi Amin-backed rebels in the Congo.
Uganda Amin was identified with Prime Minister
Obote who was being pressured to leave office.
Idi Amin on February 22, 1966 resisted the military
coup to oust Obote and helped execute a counter-coup
to give Obote absolute power.
Amin proceeded to Makindye and convinced Mutesa
to order the soldiers under Brigadier Shaban Opolot
not to fight. Amin promised to mediate between
Obote and Mutesa.
Amin was promoted to Colonel and became the Army
Commander replacing Brigadier Opolot in 1966.
led the assault on the Lubiri but contrary to
orders from Obote seized only one side instead
of encircling the Lubiri.
February 1967 Idi Amin started attending English
lessons under the adult studies programme at Makerere
University Continuing Education Department.
the same month Idi Amin was given powers to increase
the size of the army by two more battalions. Idi
Amin used the powers to recruit from West Nile
and southern Sudan.
April 1968, Obote promoted Amin to Major General
– a reward for his loyalty during the Republican
1968 as Army Commander Idi Amin involved Israeli-sponsored
operations to support the rebellion in southern
1969 Idi Amin was challenged over his capacity
to lead the army during a revolutionary Socialist
UPC Move-to-the-left period.
lost control of the army units under Acholi and
Langi command. He joined UPC and attended lessons
in Socialism in 1969.
the end of 1969 Idi Amin was accused of cowardice
in the incident of Obote’s attempted assassination.
January 1970 Idi Amin organised through a man
called Christopher Luutu the assassination of
Brigadier Okoya who had accused him.
in 1970 the assassins of Okoya while hiding for
fear of Amin eliminating were arrested and revealed
their role in the assassination through Luutu,
a brother to Captain Smart Guweddeko.
Amin was also found to be linked with the loss
of Shs 40m from the Military Operation Fund. Obote
removed Amin from direct command of the army at
the end of 1970.
January 1971 Obote ordered for a prosecution file
on Idi Amin to be prepared.
January 24, 1971 Idi Amin fled Kampala to avoid
arrest. Soldiers led by Sergeant-Major Moses Ali
received a misinterpreted message from a signaller
and they resisted preparations to arrest Idi Amin.
was seized in Kampala and Idi Amin was sought
to take over.
Amin appeared just as Captain Charles Arube was
volunteering to become president. Amin accepted
to become president on January 25, 1971.
April 1971 Acholi soldiers who survived the coup
started fleeing to southern Sudan fearing for
July 1971 Idi Amin visited the UK where his speechwriter
James Namakajo caused embarrassment by failing
to provide a speech at one of the functions.
demanded commitment from Idi Amin without them
promising to meet his needs on weapons and drilling
the Lake Albert Basin oil.
August 1971 Idi Amin re-engaged John Bikobo as
Presidential Advisor. Bikobo had been working
under Obote and was responsible for the Move-to-the-left,
the Common Man’s Charter, and the
Bikobo at his side, Amin took similar an even
more radical political stand than Obote. He turned
on the Israelis, British, and all other imperialists
and even changed from the promoted 18 months caretaker
period to five years so as “to put the country’s
politics in order.”
Amin showed clemency to former Obote government
ministers and operatives. He allowed them to stay
and live as private citizens. In November 1971
and February 1972 he released Obote’s former
July 1972 Idi Amin received a petition from Augustine
Kamya to place the economy of Uganda into the
hands of the indigenous people.
August 1, 1972 Idi Amin declared the economic
that day Asians were to start leaving Uganda.
The country was attacked by Obote and Museveni
troops with the intention of engaging Idi Amin’s
troops as the British landed to prevent the Asian
October 1972 Idi Amin started eliminating all
the people linked or suspected of working with
the British, Obote, and Museveni against his government.
Amin established the State Research Bureau into
a killing machine targeted at his opponents and
those with links to imperialists.
July 1973 Obote gave up fighting Idi Amin. In
August 1974 Museveni also gave up fighting to
start an internal guerrilla war against Amin.
British government however continued undermining
the economy under Idi Amin in Uganda.
March 1974 Idi Amin eliminated Tanzanians seeking
assistance from him to topple the government of
Nyerere. Their crime was to claim that they had
the support of Britain to fight an African country.
July 1974 Amin rejected a budget increasing taxes
by very high percentages. He said that he would
never allow the overtaxing of the people at a
time when they were involved with his government
in a war against poverty.
August 1974 Amin admitted that an economic war
was probably much more difficult than a military
declared a double production campaign and signed
a decree to punish by death people sabotaging
the economic war.
also declared on behalf of all African countries
war for the total liberation of South Africa from
Apartheid. He offered himself as the first volunteer
in the war to uproot Israel from Palestine.
1975 Amin became OAU chairman and immediately
sought to use his position to rid Africa of all
kind of imperialism from both capitalist and communist
countries. During the OAU conference, General
Gowon of Nigeria who had promised to support Amin
Amin sought and won the title Doctor of Laws (PhD)
from Makerere University. He sought to use this
title to wear the intellectual authority necessary
to advise the rest of Africa on policy vis-à-vis
the unliberated regions of the continent.
1976 Uganda suffered from very poor economic conditions.
Amin became more impatient dismissing ministers
and civil servants by the day. Insecurity both
real and imagined increased in the population
as the SRB ensured the disappearance of more people.
in 1977 the UPC moved to take advantage of the
pathetic situation in Uganda and cause an uprising
with arms smuggled under the cover of the Church
of Uganda Centenary (1877-1977). Amin learnt of
the plot from the SRB and killed the people involved.
March 1977 Amin became increasingly suspicious
of the people around him including those from
the Nubian ethnic groups.
in the army and temporary appointments became
so common that by the end of 1977 more than 50
percent of ministerial and military posts were
either vacant or occupied on a temporary basis.
mitigate the economic crisis, Amin allowed imports
to enter free. He started providing for the army
directly through goods ferried by a chartered
aircraft. To finance these ad hoc transactions
Amin started selling coffee on cash basis –
with money paid directly to him.
the end of 1978 Amin launched a military exercise
called Operation Magurugur on the Uganda-Tanzania
border. The untrusted army units were not provided
with planes and communications equipment.
the artillery shells started falling the troops
without communications fled to Tanzania. This
triggered off the war that brought Amin’s
mercurial regime to an end.
fled to Libya in April 1979. While there he failed
to maintain his leadership over his followers
in Zaire and Sudan who accused him of causing
their ejection from Uganda. His host Col. Gadhafi
resolved to work through Brig. Moses Ali in alliance
with Museveni’s NRM to restore the losses
of Islam in Uganda.
Amin fell out totally with Col. Gadhafi and had
to find sanctuary in Saudi Arabia in 1981. In
1989 he however, did try to return through Kinshasa
to lead an armed group organised by Col. Juma
attempt was a failure. Idi Amin remained in Saudi
Arabia sending financial assistance to his brother
Ramathan (RIP) and six other relatives and friends.
Until his deatg from a combination of hypertension
and kidney complications.
up to his death, Amin believed in the mission
of his leadership that problems of Africa are
caused by imperialist interest particularly US
and Britain with “their local agents”
calling themselves politicians.