How I remember Idi Amin in my primary school days


President Siad Barre of Somalia cuts a tape to change the name of Coryndon Street to Said Barre Avenue. At the back is president Idi Amin Dada, while on the extreme right is the minister of foreign affairs, mr. Wanume-Kibedi

President Siad Barre of Somalia cuts a tape to change the name of Coryndon Street to Said Barre Avenue. At the back is president Idi Amin Dada, while on the extreme right is the minister of foreign affairs, mr. Wanume-Kibedi

Hi guys and ladies,

Here is my beautiful encounter with Idi Amin (RIP). In the late 70’s on our way from the pre-primary school (which by the way had no name and was located in someone’s garage) this big bird we then called “olcopter” flew over our heads. Me and my friend quickly decided that going home could wait. We quickly ran to the field where this “olcopter” would land. The field was just behind our flat in the centre of Masaka Town. Guess it was not a proper airfield or air strip. But helicopters landed there several times. In the house where I lived we were never allowed to venture downstairs and out for even a second. On this God given day, I got an opportunity to follow the big bird. Although the noise was ear wracking, the rotating thing on top of the bird was most exciting. The big bird was hovering in the air for some time. I don’t know whether the pilot was just worried that the two kids were in the way of the copter or he was still enjoying the air. Possibly his fears were unfounded, because the more the bird lowered the more we ran farther away from that terrible noise. Soon the noise reduced in intensity and we drew nearer to see this magnificent “olcopter”.

A small door was flung open and a very tall, heavy set military man climbed out. He came towards us smiling and laughing. He lifted us in turns and threw us high in the air. But even after this exhilarating throw in the air our eyes remained on the “olcopter”. So beautiful and attractive was this machine but also very scaring to approach. We did not even pay attention to the jeeps and other cars that came and picked the man who was already happily walking towards the town centre. All our attention was on the “olcopter”.

Don’t ask what time we left for home. All I remember is that we remained at the field untill the “olcopter” took off. It lifted off without the tall man it had brought. When it disappeared we also decided to go home. I didn’t know what was waiting for me at home. It now dawned on me that we had spent half the day at the field and they had looked all over the place for me. The only place they had not checked was the field where the big bird had landed.

What followed needs no explanation to an African. I never like to remember how many strokes of the cane I got on my body that day. The canes were followed with the mentoring to repeat the “words never to go near the President ever again”. What started as an exciting experience with the big bird ended in tears and mentoring not go near a person called President. From that day and the years of my life that followed, I thought the word “President” was that tall man’s name. I learnt my lesson well. Up today I don’t like being near people they call Presidents. Presidents are supposed to be bad people. If Presidents were good people why then was I punished for having taken the honour of receiving the President of Uganda at that field in Masaka town on that beautiful sunny day???? Hahaha! Later on in life l came to learn that the man who gave me that exciting throw into the air was by then the President of the Republic of Uganda. Despite that realization I still do not associate with green cars, green copters and people who were green uniform; because if I do that would mean that the sticks I got as kid were not enough (emigo tegyanoga). Presidents are to be avoided. They cause one problems. May the ALMIGHTY ALLAH forgive our brother and parent, Idi Amin for his shortcomings and grant him Jana in the life after death.

Dr.Ibra Ssendagire.
USA

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