1971 Ugandan coup d'état

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1971 Ugandan coup d'état
Part of the Cold War
Date 25 January 1971
Location  Uganda
Result Overthrow of Milton Obote
Establishment of regime of Idi Amin
Uganda Ugandan Government Uganda Ugandan Military
Supported by:
 United Kingdom
Commanders and leaders
Uganda Milton Obote Uganda Idi Amin

The 1971 Ugandan coup d'état was a military coup d'état executed by the Ugandan military, led by general Idi Amin, against the government of President Milton Obote on January 25, 1971. The seizure of power took place while Obote was abroad attending the Commonwealth Heads of State conference in Singapore.[1] Amin was afraid that Obote might dismiss him.

The 1971 coup is often cited as an example of "class action by the military", wherein the Ugandan armed forces acted against "an increasingly socialist régime whose equalitarian domestic politics posed more and more of a threat to the military's economic privileges".[2]

Amin was largely supported by the British before and after the coup because the previous President, Milton Obote, was attempting to nationalise UK businesses.[citation needed]

Portrayal in media[edit]

  • The film Rise and Fall of Idi Amin opens with the coup occurring while Dr. Michael Oloya (Thomas Baptiste) is performing surgery, and is portrayed as violent. Despite the gunfire happening outside, Oloya continues the operation, saying, "This patient will not be his first casualty!" Immediately afterward, Amin (Joseph Olita) is shown in a military parade, cheered on by the Ugandan people. British and French diplomats show their open support for him, stating there is "more than enough socialist nonsense running around the rest of the world."
  • In the film Last King of Scotland, the coup is portrayed as popular, with Amin as being "for the people". The coup is supported by the British. Opponents of Amin are described as being "Obote's men"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hebditch, David; Ken Connor (2005). How to Stage a Military Coup: From Planning to Execution. London: Greenhill Books. p. 128. ISBN 1-85367-640-3. 
  2. ^ Lofchie, Michael F. (May 1972). "The Uganda Coup—Class Action by the Military". The Journal of Modern African Studies. 10 (1): 19–35. JSTOR 159819. doi:10.1017/S0022278X00022072.