story of Amin and his women is one that turns
bizarre, comic and brutal."
Amin's fourth wife was a dancer when he met
her (AFP Photo)
That is how Henry Kyemba begins a chapter in his
book, The State of Blood. In the book, which he
wrote from exile in London in 1977, Kyemba talks
of the field Marshal's five wives and the thirty
mistresses and the thirty-four children he had with
like anything else involving Uganda's self-declared
life president, the story of Amin's women is not
without controversy and horror.
of his wives died in the most mysterious circumstances,
with some fingers still pointing at Amin.
first wife was Malyamu, a sister of former foreign
minister Wanume Kibedi. Kyemba describes Malyamu
as a "statuesque six-footer.... And physically
a match for the powerful young boxing champion."
was reportedly self-possessed, proud and mature,
even in her early 20s, when Amin first courted
her in the early 1950s.
at that time a 28 year-old sergeant in the King's
African Rifles, was not an attractive son in law
for the Kibedi family. But like a teenager madly
in love, Malyamu risked her family's disapproval
and went ahead to live with him.
Kakwa soldier did not formally marry Malyamu until
1966 and by then had "several children"
reportedly paid bride price to the Kibedi family
and the marriage was thus formalised.
beautiful, intelligent Makerere University student
and daughter of a clergyman, Kay was Amin's second
wife. He started seeing her even before he formalised
his relationship with Malyamu.
to Kyemba, who attended the reception of Amin's
civil marriage to Adroa in Arua, she was a dignified,
quiet and self-possessed girl.
her wedding, she turned out in a white bridal
gown and Amin in a full army uniform, with Erinayo
Oryema as the best man.
reveals that the romance between Amin and Kay
had blossomed shortly before when, in February
1966, Parliament implicated Amin over allegations
of stealing gold from Congo. Amin responded to
the allegations by going into hiding with Kay.
a year later, Amin was acquiring his third wife.
this time, Amin had risen to national stature
and this marriage was awash with political innuendo.
had become suspicious of his Kakwa hitman's intentions.
Nora was from Obote's tribe, the Langi, and the
marriage was a political statement to the effect
that Amin had no hostile intentions toward Obote.
was a dancer with the Heart of Africa troupe.
By her own admission, it was during a concert
when Amin spotted her dancing and requested to
have a word with her. Kyemba narrates that Amin
noticed Madina from the first days of the coup
in January 1971.
Kyemba: "Indeed it would have been impossible
not to notice her. Madina was, quite simply, stunning.
Although she has now put on a few pounds, she
had a figure then that was dramatically sexy by
any standards...She was slim-hipped, with well-formed
breasts and was a ferociously agile dancer."
time, on a trip to Moyo, Amin undressed in the
presence of Kyemba and jumped into his bed. As
Kyemba walked out, a bodyguard ushered Madina
into the room.Interestingly, although Madina was
such hot property, Amin enjoyed teasing his ministers
saying that they could take Madina if they wanted.
One minister who tried was later transferred to
another ministry and eventually dismissed.
September 1972, as Obote made a daring raid from
Tanzania, Amin announced his marriage to Madina.
He unwittingly said the Baganda had offered Madina
to him for all he had done for them since the
Amin served three of his wives - Malyamu, Nora
and Kay - with letters of divorce. He accused
Malyamu and Nora of being involved in business
while Kay was dismissed ostensibly because she
was a cousin of his.
Kyemba reveals that Amin's womanising had not
allowed him enough time with his first three wives.
Left to themselves, the wives had acquired lovers.
On the eve of their dismissal, the women held
a joint party for their lovers and told Amin off
- they told him to stay with his Madina.
faced a difficult time outside Amin's household.
Malyamu was arrested in Tororo, had her car was
rammed into by Amin's bodyguards and she was hospitalised.
Idi Amin insulted her on her hospital bed before
she fled to London and Amin had the shop he had
given her upon the expulsion of Asians shop looted
is suspected to have died as her lover Mbalu Mukasa
attempted a surgical abortion. Her body was however
mysteriously dismembered although Amin showed
neither surprise nor contrition at her death.
Instead he had her young children aged between
four and eight brought before the body and shouted
at them, telling them how bad their mother was.
Nora, the Langi, simply continued running the
business for which she was divorced and Amin made
no attempt to disgrace her.
Kyolaba, was a dancer in the jazz band of the
Masaka-based Mechanised Unit when Amin became
interested in her. She was barely 18 and was living
with a young man.
says that around Christmas Day of 1974, Sarah
delivered a baby at Namirembe (Mengo) Hospital
but Amin had her transferred to Mulago's VIP ward.
On the orders of Amin, Kyemba issued a statement
that a baby had been born to the President. The
name of the mother was not mentioned. Amin then
had Sarah returned to her boyfriend's house but
she would be regularly driven to Amin's residence
on the field marshal's orders.
around April 1975,Sarah's boyfriend, who was the
father of the child, refused her to be taken to
Amin for pleasure. He vanished and was never heard
Kyemba: "Sarah was brought to Kampala. She
of course knew perfectly well Amin had killed
her lover but there was nothing she could do about
married Sarah during the OAU summit in August
1975 and held two successive receptions because
of what he called "public demand". But
he was later to be perturbed by Sarah's failure
to bear him a child.