I am spending a moment to publicly defend a president that lead uganda through his non educated brain but as a man that loved the country and as a man that knew that Uganda can do better than what it was in 1962. I am tired of mainly two of my friends in UAH, George Okello and Pakide Ponyura that use Iddi Amin as a point of reference of Uganda’s deterioration today. I have made it a point to go after every one that uses Amin as a reference to what we have in Uganda, and the last one was Tendo Kaluma who stated and I directly quote “This erosion of dutifulness has been growing for quite sometime -they were weakened during Idi Amin’s times, where their hands were tied while folks were killed with little or no investigations taking place. “ End quote. I stood up and questioned Tembo if Uganda police today behaves as The Uganda Police we had under Iddi Amin. He still has not responded to that question, which they all do. They do not want to get into Amin’s details but to preach the old story of there is a Boogie man out there and he is going to eat you tonight, to them that was Iddi Amin.
When presidents Milton Obote and Sir Edward Mutesa prepared Uganda for independence, they received it in 1962, I am challenging all those that stand up to praise that day to directly inform me what changed in their lives as Ugandans. To you as a Ugandan what changed in your life in 1963 which you never had in 1961? The independence we got was a change of the flag from the Union Jerk to a Crane in Kololo but colonialism was so embedded into Uganda and in our continent that to today in 2014 we still use Police barracks which is a true symbolism of a colonial plan in Uganda. You see they get special Ugandans and separate them from the rest of us as society, for we are all bad people, they camp them behind a barracks for now they are working for the master to come among us and pick the bad ones, to take them to the white master to be charged. They turned around and used Community policing in all Western countries I have visited to today, and trust me when you see a Ugandan visiting New Zealand you know I have visited all of them. How did we become independent in 1962 yet still to 2014 we still camp Police Officers? Why don’t we turn around shut down these barracks that are a symbol of colonialism and we embrace community Policing now that we are 52 years independent !!!!!!
As I have state way many times, I used to work with EAPTC which turned into Uganda Posts and telecommunications, I am therefore going to line you up on the problems we had in the department till 1971, that is almost 10 years of very stable independent UPC government. The telephone system we had in Uganda was installed by the British, mainly by the British Telecoms. As young technicians we were trained to work with that sole supplier for even a fuse going into the system was only imported from UK or from its dealer in Nairobi. Kampala telephone exchange had numbers starting with 30/1/2/3 and 304. We had a series of 42/3/5. Because of the growth of Kampala as an example, we needed to start cutting off the suburbs, so the British installed exchange trailers in Kyambogo under a series of 51 numbers, Kawempe with a 67 series, Mengo with 68 series and a Nsambya series I have forgotten. Because these exchanges were British installed they were able to talk to the Kampala exchange and vice versa. Don’t worry it will all end up making sense as we go. This tragedy of a uniform structure was installed in all automated areas of Masaka Mbarara Kampala and Mbale.
When Amin came to power in 1971 UPTC had a very ambitious program to develop, Kampala and other cities were growing and Ugandans wanted the phone services, faxes had come in, but the British used the monopoly they had to sell their equipments dirty expensive. We were their victims that we were trained in some parts and never trained in some parts. There are faults where we needed a technician to fly in from UK to solve a problem, my God they were too expensive. This is where I admired Iddi Amin from, when you build a communication system it becomes a national asset, you never build it in a trailer. Iddi Amin approved all proposals we threw at him to turn all trailers into permanent structures. The buildings we proposed are the current telephone exchanges you see running Kyambogo exchange, Kawempe exchange, Mbuya exchange, Mengo exchange, and actually Entebbe and Bombo exchange to mention but a few. In my memory all proposals we had in Uganda Posts and telecoms were to be sent to state house and all were approved and paid in cash, to even small Post Offices like Wobulenzi to be put in the building on Gulu Road. And Wobulenzi is a very important factor for it got that phone system due to Bamunanika palace so it I one of the very old Post Offices that were held at the back of the town on The Old Wobulenzi road with one line to Kampala. Iddi Amin changed that gave tehm a new premise with a board with 5 lines to Kampala, even though at a time Bamunanika palace was closed and the Kingdom screwed up.
As these exchanges got built, we expanded their services for now we have the space, but we came back to the original problem that all major exchanges were installed by the British so whatever we do on the suburbs was to conform with the standards of the British Telecoms. A number in Mengo starting with 68 worked only by calling another 68 number because the Kampala exchange refuses to talk with it, or we need the British to come in expand Kampala and install Mengo exchange to make it work. We were not independent 10 years after 1962 people. A simple demonstration was made to Amin to understand the problem, we gave him a number in Mengo to call and it failed to go through, we told him that the British monopoly is the problem. Amin approved all the money we needed and we imported everything we needed from Japan mainly to make the Uganda system marriable. From that time, every system you throw on the Kampala system worked. There are companies like Alcatel of France, there are companies like India’s Telecommunication network, and many I cannot mention/remember today, had cheaper products but those products were not working in Uganda till when Amin broke the camel’s back. The money you would use to buy a head set out of London BT would buy you 15 head sets out of Arab countries, but those form Arab countries were never accepted by Uganda system before Amin came to power. Because we were way forward focused, we were allowed to install fiber optic which in 1973/4 did not make a whole lot of sense to many in Uganda but that was the technology many countries were embracing at a time, and by the time I stopped to follow Uganda communication, we had a fiber optic connecting Kampala to Entebbe to Mukono and Bombo. We had finished to put many places like Mityana Wobulenzi Iganga Soroti Lira and a whole whack of towns on radio wave. Small towns like Apach Kalisizo Kasawo Kangulumira Ombaci Rakai my God I can list endlessly, all got phone connections thanks to Iddi Amin. Yes Iddi Amin connected Luwero town as well as Nakasongola and Nakaseke. Record must show that the UPC government even during Obote two government were being sold army boots from UK at a cost that would buy 10 pairs of the very same boots if only the government bought them from Kenya. That is what Iddi Amin refused to do in his government.
Although I have pinpointed this piece on communication and postal services, but Amin changed UEB a great deal, many of those smaller transformers out of Yugoslavia were able to work on our system for Amin cut out that British monopoly, we stopped to drive Anglia’s and Opel’s and Zephyrs, the Citron silliness and became opened to the world. Major constructions that you see today as a massive power line to Nakasongola thanks to Amin, opening up agriculture to become mixed farming was done by Ssebi a very good minister of animal resources. I must indicate that The UPC government worked on animals for example they started the cross breeding in cows but those were government projects, but to open it up from being a government project to become a Nusu Bulaya that EM can own was Ssebbi and Galandi under Amin. Many of these successful projects were done for they were brought to Amin as suggestions, a kid wanted to know why we cannot own a C130, and it was bought, x-ray machines came in the same way. Trust me we had the line of purchasing these things out of the Edward Pojims that sit with degrees in government purchase and ministry of works to buy these things, they wanted samples and price checks and what have you, it would take you 5 years to buy that equipment.
If you had done your homework well and you had the numbers and figures to show the man, the number you needed was as simple as Entebbe 20241, can I speak to the president. He would direct you to an embassy in the country where you want to go and purchase these things, for he had got the money from The Arab friends. Libya Kuwait Saudis Jordan and so on. Iddi Amin managed to do all these things when he had borrowed not a penny out of world bank let alone IMF. Although the system worked it was abused too, born thieves like Kibedi, and punks like Stephen Malinga got such money and never came back, but those should never be used to go after people that worked for the interest of Uganda. Iddi Amin died in Saudi Arabia, did he wrong? Yes he did, but I think it is very naïve to judge him with one standard of he killed Jonan Luwum, when he never even killed, and by the way had Luwum done what he did today in today’s Uganda he would have been rightly put on a firing squad and in day light or you stand up and explain to me where Dr Kelly is today. It is thus a duty of every Ugandan to let Iddi Amin rest in peace for most of you will never reach a firkin half of what he did for that country.
There is no man that educated me to nationalism as Iddi Amin, when you walked to those very tinny places in Uganda for you have trailers with the switching equipment to put a phone service to them they had a glee. And some of these places were as small s Rakai Kyotera Mutukula, who really knew that a phone will ever cross the Masaka boarder to Kyotera? But it did for Amin said so. Under services to the people Kyotera qualifies to get a phone system if you have a problem installing it, call Entebbe 20241 and ask for Iddi Amin. And my God help you to find 10 people that wanted to call that number to oppose a presidential project. Just try calling and see how fast he will enter scene and if youa rent careful he will go back with your God damn skin in the trunk.
And what happened to Ondoga the small kid that used to filter these calls? One can ponder !!!!!
I thus stand today to defend President Iddi Amin The VC DSO MC And the first African Conqueror of the British Empire.