, KAMPALA, Feb 11 – A top challenger in next week’s Ugandan presidential election has promised to repatriate the remains of dictator Idi Amin and build a museum in his honour, his spokeswoman said Wednesday.
Amama Mbabazi, a former prime minister and ex-ruling party stalwart now challenging veteran President Yoweri Museveni in the February 18 polls, made the pledge while visiting Amin’s ancestral home in northwest Uganda, where he was welcomed by the former dictator’s uncle.
Josephine Mayanja-Nkangi, Mbabazi’s spokeswoman, said “one of the critical building blocks” of the party was “reconciliation” to help “the process of forgiveness for any real or perceived wrongs in the past” that once divided Uganda.
“The issue of Idi Amin is one of them,” she told AFP.
Amin died in exile in Saudi Arabia in 2003 where he is buried and had lived since being overthrown in 1979. His eccentric eight-year rule was characterised by buffoonery and brutality, helping his name become a shorthand for African dictatorship and violent misrule.
Museveni, believed to be at least 71, and who took power in 1986 after Milton Obote and Tito Okello were toppled, is eyeing a fifth term in the elections.
“We must bring an end to the labelling of Ugandans that those are Amin’s people, those are Obote’s people and those are Museveni’s people,” Mbabazi said, according to the state-owned New Vision newspaper.
Mbabazi is the second presidential candidate to vow to repatriate Amin’s remains and erect a museum in his honour if he wins.
Abed Bwanika, a three-time election loser who garnered less than one percent of the vote in 2006 and 2011, made the same declaration during a campaign visit to Amin’s homeland.
“Amin is very good for our tourism in Uganda,” Bwanika told AFP. “Let’s have his remains here, so tourists who just hear about him can actually come and see where he was born and bred.”
Amin had multiple children, and some of them are believed to be running as parliamentary candidates.