" Idi Amin was no fool. Despite the numerous caricatures as a lunatic murderer he was a towering figure both in Uganda
and the African continent, and he outwitted all his opponents until his downfall. When he came into power after having engineered a military coup to overthrow President Milton Obote, the nemesis of Britain
, he was the darling of the West. He was lavishly praised for his bravery in ridding Uganda
of a dictator who had increasingly become a thorn in Britain
’s side. But when he began to make demands on Britain
to discharge its aid commitments to Uganda
, the British chose to ridicule him for his ‘buffoonery’. He turned instead to Libya
for his immediate financial needs, and that was the beginning of both the widening gulf between Britain
and Idi Amin, and also the establishment of a new dictator in Africa
He was an uneducated man, but he was deeply cunning and calculating. With his effusive charm and outward affability he was able to disarm his enemies and then catch them unawares. Though he ran his administration with the help of the elite civil servants of the country it was by his animal instincts that he kept himself in power. As internal economic problems grew, he made scapegoats of the Asians of Uganda, blaming them for all the ills of the country. In a masterstroke he succeeded in expelling the Asian community from Uganda
in 1972 without any serious repercussions from the West. He wrested away the economy of Uganda
from the hands of the Asians and put it into the lap of the Africans of his country, who loved him for this and his other exploits in a way that can only be compared to the way Germans had once loved Hitler.
About the Author
Manzoor Moghal is a well-known writer and commentator in the UK and international news media and a lecturer on a range of subjects, including Uganda, Asians in Britain, race-relations, issues of global terror, the criminal justice system, Islam and Muslim affairs. He was born in Sialkot, Pakistan and grew up in Uganda where he had his early schooling. He returned to Pakistan to complete his education studying at the Foreman Christian College, Lahore, where he graduated with a degree in Sciences from Punjab University. In Uganda he became renowned as an outstanding civic leader, a politician and a leader of the Asian community and had frequent dealings with the highest officials of the Ugandan administration, including Prime Ministers and Presidents. In his various capacities he contributed substantially to the social, community and political life of the country. He was forced to flee Uganda in September 1972 with his family and came to settle in Leicester. Beginning life again in Leicester, he built a new business for his family whilst choosing initially to stay away from civic and political life, greatly disenchanted with the prevalent racism and attitudes he found in Leicester and other British cities. In the early 1980s he began active involvement in public life. His most significant contribution was in the field of race-relations. As Chairman of the Leicestershire County Council's Race-Relations Committee, he and his colleagues changed the face of race-relations in the city and the county, and the period from 1984 to 1997 ushered in an era of harmonious race and community relations which over the years became the envy of the rest of the country. In 2001 he was awarded an M.B.E. in the Queen's Honours List. He is currently Chairman of the Muslim Forum, a think tank organisation.