The Ugandan government has lent its support to President Museveni’s objection to the establishment of a memorial institute in the name of former Ugandan leader Idi Amin. According to Information Minister Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) is firmly against associating with what they view as Amin’s “unconstitutional regime.”
Baryomunsi clarified the government’s stance, stating, “The President is only saying that government cannot participate in glorifying the heinous acts committed by Idi Amin. But he didn’t stop anybody from putting up an institute and naming it after Amin. But as a government, we cannot sanitize Amin’s regime through this kind of institute.”
In what can only be described as a surprising move, President Museveni sent a letter dated October 5 to Education Minister and First Lady Janet Museveni, vehemently rejecting a request by former Obongi County MP Hassan Kaps Fungaroo. Fungaroo had sought the government’s license and guidance for the establishment of Amin’s institute.
The President’s stance has triggered spirited debate among Ugandans, with some drawing parallels between Museveni and Amin. Information Minister Baryomunsi had a response to those who dare to draw such comparisons: “People are premising their arguments on the fact that both President Museveni and Amin captured power by the use of guns, but Museveni later sanitized and allowed people to vote for their leaders through elections.”
Bobi Wine, the Leader of the Opposition National Unity Platform (NUP), couldn’t resist the opportunity to comment, labeling Museveni’s letter as ironic and highlighting the common thread of “impunity in both regimes.” However, Dr. Baryomunsi fired back, declaring, “Comparing the current constitutional and democratic regime to that of President Amin, who suspended parliament and led by decrees, is like comparing heaven and hell.”
In the midst of this controversy, Hassan Kaps Fungaroo, the original proponent of the Amin memorial institute, has expressed his intention to seek an audience with President Museveni. He hopes to discuss the memorial and its connection to the broader West Nile development agenda, which he believes is intertwined with Amin’s legacy.