Haters say Amin only brought miserly to Uganda but that’s not true

President of Uganda Idi Amin Dada poses with his new bride Sarah Kyolaba after their wedding in August1975 at Shimoni Nile Mansions Nakasero Kampala Uganda

President of Uganda Idi Amin Dada poses with his new bride Sarah Kyolaba after their wedding in August1975 at Shimoni Nile Mansions Nakasero Kampala Uganda


In early 70’s we had a very different Uganda, we never had cell phones we never had pagers and we never had International Dialing ability. So every phone call that was made out of Uganda to out of Uganda except East Africa had to be dialed by a Kampala operator who called the London operator through the Longnot station of Kenya then we would get connected. We remained into this hostage till when Amin decided to build the Ombachi satellite station to make Uganda independent in communication.

There are two reasons why that satellite was built, we needed to get off the dependence of Kenya but through the services nearer to the people, Northern Uganda had to be automated. When you throw the satellite in Ombachi you can have Arua Kitgum Gulu and probably Masindi automated, and you get a good chance of selling a service to Sudan as well. Let us remember that in as much as we had a fight with Kenya always, Amin pushed for the opening up of Sudan to be our get way than Kenya. After Ombachi was built, we realized that it would not serve the purpose of breaking off Kenya because it was not built on the Uganda dial tone line. Uganda dial tone line reads Mbale Jinja Kampala Masaka Mbarara. So to have an effective satellite in Uganda it has to be built somewhere on that line. That is why a second satellite of Mpoma, which I think should be called Iddi Amin communication center, had to be built in the dial tone line and it served the purpose of making us independent to today.

There was no building of communication value at a time as Telephone house, that is the small building on Colville street if I remember my Kampala map good, just above Kampala main post office. That building was of a greater value at a time for all communications passed through it. When you walked into the carrier room you would find a circuit feeding Uganda Television and another one feeding Radio Uganda. Again we had one radio station an AM and a Bobi probably was the name, Gook no we did not have FM stations then. At that location you would unplug the circuit of Radio of Uganda, plug in a mike and talk over the frequency directly to the people. If my memory is good The Arube takeover was announced from that same building same location, so if you managed to take that building you pretty had power over the studios of radio Uganda. But you also had the power over the international phones as they come or leave Uganda. And that is the section I need to write about this morning. A section of the carrier room in telephone house where you would use the international telephone system.

A kid or kids out of Uganda Commercial bank main {UCB}, working with a post office technician in the carrier room of telephone house, arranged to access the Bank of Uganda account in New York, sent instructions to transfer so much out of the account to an account in London. The money was authorized and ended up transferred to a UK account. Bank of Uganda was notified as it was and Bank of Uganda informed Amin of the transfer for it was illegally done. Iddi Amin called Lieutenant Jumna Ali, or Butabika who was the commander of Bombo barracks and handed him a mission. Juma there is an employee or employees of UCB main that have swindled money out of the account in New York, go to the bank and find out who transmitted it and get it back. Juma Ali knew only one thing, to command a barracks and he never knew that we had a bank account in New York, let alone why? Why not in Uganda? But this instruction was handed to him face to face by the president so he had to do it with a people with degrees that have decided to be anti-Uganda.

Juma Ali drove from State House directly to Bombo barracks and instructed his soldiers to be battle ready, for we have an enemy who wants to kill the president and he is in UCB main. They cut trees and tie branches on tanks and started to roll down Bombo road towards Kampala. Juma came south with a minimum of about 50 tanks battle ready with him, driving a jeep in front of them as any good reliable barracks commander. A word started to come from Kampala commanders of how tanks are rolling in towards Kampala and Butabika is in front of them. They don’t know where he is going and as far as concerned Bombo had no agenda that day to bring the tanks to the city. But these tanks are dressed for a battle field. Is Butabika going to blow up the city? No one knows. He drove directly to UCB main, and parked them all over the North of the building, so The Caltex gas station was closed, and they took is over, Christ the King area and all to the UEB building where it was, one wonders if it still exists. When all the fire power had been pointed to the bank building, Juma Ali drove his jeep and parked it in front of the bank on Kampala road. He pulled his SMG and walked into the building with a couple of soldiers. Juma requested to see the manager of the bank who showed up. Now on that building you have a lower part which is a basement hall, huge. Whoever showed up as a manager was handed one instruction, get everyone in the building into the basement I have an issue to talk to them. You have 5 minutes to make sure everyone is sitting in the basement. And basically what he needed was every one, managers assistant managers, customers, grand ma has come to visit his kids at work. It does not matter, every crap in the building goes in the basement.

When he walked in to address them he said only two sentences. Bank of Uganda has told the president that you have taken money out of Bank of Uganda account in New York and sent it to London, I need to go back to Entebbe to inform the president that the money has been moved from London to the Bank of Uganda account. You have two hours and good bye. Sir but I do not work in the bank. Nope I don’t hear. Juma Ali with his soldiers walked out of the building and went to Caltex and watched the clock tick. While out side he made two things, {a} He instructed the soldiers to start digging 2 feet trenches all around the building and {b} He called a company out of Kawempe called Roko construction to pull all their tippers full of sand to Kampala road just near the UCB main building. The trenches were important for he wanted to put in the bombs to blow up the building, and when he blows up the building, probably it will fall in Kubuli it would leave a huge crater on Kampala road, he needed the sand to fill up so that it remains a filled up crater till when the government decides on what to do with the plot. And never ever delude your self Juma Ali was going to blow it all up including all those inside, they built the building they had the ability to replace it.

An hour 45 minutes in the drill, a nice lady walked out of the basement with a paper with a reference number, Mr. Juma Ali go to the president and inform him that the money has been transferred from London back to the account in New York by this reference number. New York in the meantime, sent the very same number to Bank of Uganda so the confirmation was legitmet. Juma Ali escorted his tanks out of the city center towards Bombo road, when they passed through Kawempe, he handed them to his second command, and he started to drive towards State House to inform the president on how the money has been got back. What is strange is that Juma Ali never wanted to know who stole it, Juma Ali had no time of being educated about reference numbers let alone time differences, he never wanted to arrest anyone, but he sent a very clear message through, that he does not belong in banks and he does not need holding lunches with degree holders, yes it is alright for you to have a degree and work in a bank, but just don’t let Juma Ali show up to your door for you have screwed up the country. Until Iddi Amin left the government, there was never again a known record of any one transmitting money out of that account illegally. No you did not want to see Lt. Juma Ali’s face saying “Prejident amechema chacha …………….” That was a very bad start of a very terrible sentence. For some very unknown reason degree holders have been the very tragedy of Uganda that afar.

Edward Mulindwa.


One Comment so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Milo,

    Mulindwa, you tell good stories but most of what you are telling is Lies.
    How do you tell anyone that Amin was good when he slaughtered at least 300,000 Ugandans ?…How do you tell people that Mpoma was built by Amin when it was Obote ‘s govt that built it. Fact is Amin built nothing. He destroyed a lot of infrastructure and organised institutions like hospitals and clinics all built by Obote.

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