why Idi Amin is (not) the greatest Ugandan

Dennis Matanda recently engaged in a search for heroes and came to the conclusion that Idi Amin is the greatest Ugandan.

To me, this is kind of like saying George W. Bush is the greatest American: resolve and dedication to a cause, no matter who dies. He promises a Part II, which I await eagerly, but I can’t hold in my skepticism regarding his ten points that “prove” Idi’s greatness. Here’s my rebuttal:

i) He was able to build the International Conference Center from Government Resources
Okay, this isn’t exactly a strong start (on my part) because I don’t know enough about the International Conference Center. Has it been used much since then? Has it brought in a lot of International Conferences? (Knowing my luck, this is probably the reason CHOGM is being held in Uganda.) But moving on:

ii) He had the balls to make unpopular decisions in terms of the Indians in 1972
This, as I understand, was a fantastic move for Uganda’s economy.

iii) He gave Uganda a bad name in the International Press
Which is exactly what this country needed — bad press.

iv) He went against Israel and lost [French Jet – Hijacked Passengers]
And more bad press.

v) He made the Scottish Skirt Look Good!
Not as good as Ewan Macgregor.

vi) He did not eat any of his kids
I’d venture a guess that this goes for the vast majority of humankind.

vii) He took French TV around his country on a tourism drive
This is cool, and something I didn’t know, but I think it qualifies Amin more for the “random trivia” category of hero than the “all time greatest” category.

viii) Yoweri Museveni, about 20 years later, did exactly the same thing
I fail to see the logic here.

ix) He did not actually kill over 500,000 Ugandans in those 8 years
ix) Maybe not 500,000. But a bunch. Enough that I wouldn’t put him in charge of my country, or in the same room as any of my family members, friends, coworkers or chance acquaintances. Or the guy who served me coffee this morning. Or my boda driver. Or…you know…anyone.

x) He was the star of the film: The Last King of Scotland
Really? ‘Cause I totally thought that was Forest Whitaker.

As always, I admire your willingness — nay, your unwavering, stubborn resolve — to play the devil’s advocate in the Ugandan blogosphere. But wow, man…curious to see where you end up with this.

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