Monday, 25 January 2016

TODAY IN HISTORY: Idi Amin overthrows Obote January 25 1971

‎Today In History - January 25 ‪

  • ‎Uganda‬ Jan 25,1971 - Military coup in Uganda. Army boss Gen Idi Amin overthrows Milton Obote 
  • Jan 25,1986 - 1st High Command meeting at Lubiri chaired by NRA guerrilla leader Museveni, then based at Bulange, after Gen. Tito Okello's govt flees
  • 1959 - Pope John XXIII proclaims 2nd Vatican council
  • 1961 - 1st live, nationally televised presidential news conf (JFK)

General Idi Amin has seized power from President Milton Obote, the man who led Uganda to independence in 1962.
The general led a military coup while the president was out of the country attending the Commonwealth conference in Singapore.

Ugandan troops have sealed off Entebbe airport and there are reports of tanks and soldiers on the streets of the capital, Kampala. The president's residence is said to have been surrounded and major road links have been blocked.

Dr Obote became the country's first prime minister in 1962 at the head of an uneasy coalition between his own Uganda People's Congress and the Kabaka Yekka or King's party representing the Baganda tribe from the largest and richest province of the country.

Sir Edward Mutesa, better known as "King Freddie", became president.

Four years later Obote ousted the king and revised the constitution to make himself president.

Boxing champion

General Amin, for seven years heavyweight boxing champion of Uganda, spent most of his army career as a sergeant, but once Dr Obote became president was rapidly promoted to chief of the armed forces.

A broadcast on Uganda radio accused the Obote government of corruption and said that ministers and senior civil servants owned cars, fleets of buses and even aeroplanes.

The broadcast said the army believed President Obote's policies would lead to bloodshed, accusing him of giving preferential treatment to the Lango region in the north of the country.

Cheering crowds were reported in the streets of Kampala after the radio broadcast.

The army has imposed a night-time curfew.

Dr Obote arrived at Nairobi airport in Kenya tonight and was taken immediately to a hotel where he is holding talks with the Kenyan vice president, Arap Moi and the attorney general and foreign minister.

Amin was Obote's right hand man for many years before the coup

I recall the date vividly. I was an 18 year old A-level student at old Kampala secondary school.

The Radio Uganda announcement of the coup was read by Warrant Officer II, Sam Wilfred Aswa, followed by Major General Idi Amin himself, who gave his reasons for the coup, in halting English.

Amin's statement was followed by one from the inspector general of police, Erinayo Wilson Oryema, who informed us that he had "sincerely agreed before the major general, that the military had taken over the government"!

In the meantime, the slaughter of Acholi and Langi officers and men had started on a large scale in the army barracks. For the rest of uganda, the nightmare was only beginning!
Simon Mugerwa, USA

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