Idi Amin in a discussion with Nigerian Head of State General Yakubu Gowon at Lagos International Airport in 1973.
|3rd President of Uganda|
25 January 1971 – 11 April 1979
|Vice President||Mustafa Adrisi|
|Preceded by||Milton Obote|
|Succeeded by||Yusufu Lule|
Koboko, Uganda Protectorate
|Died||16 August 2003
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
|Unit||King's African Rifles (1946–62)|
|Commands||Commander-in-Chief of the Ugandan armed forces|
Idi Amin Dada (/ /; c. 1923–28 – 16 August 2003) was the third President of Uganda, ruling from 1971 to 1979. Amin joined the British colonial regiment the King's African Rifles in 1946, serving in Kenya and Uganda. Eventually, Amin held the rank of major general in the post-colonial Ugandan Army, and became its commander before seizing power in the military coup of January 1971, deposing Milton Obote. He later promoted himself to field marshal while he was the head of state.
Amin's rule was characterized by human rights abuses, political repression, ethnic persecution, extrajudicial killings, nepotism, corruption, and gross economic mismanagement. The number of people killed as a result of his regime is estimated by international observers and human rights groups to range from 100,000 to 500,000.
During his years in power, Amin shifted in allegiance from being a pro-Western ruler enjoying considerable Israeli support to being backed by Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, Zaire's Mobutu Sese Seko, the Soviet Union, and East Germany. In 1975, Amin became the chairman of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), a Pan-Africanist group designed to promote solidarity of the African states. During the 1977–1979 period, Uganda was a member of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Amin did however enjoy the support of the American CIA, which helped deliver bombs and other military equipment to Amin's Army and helped take part in military operations with Amin's forces in Uganda. In 1977, when Britain broke diplomatic relations with Uganda, Amin declared he had defeated the British and added "CBE", for "Conqueror of the British Empire", to his title. Radio Uganda then announced his entire title: "His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Alhaji Dr. Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, CBE".
Dissent within Uganda and Amin's attempt to annex the Kagera province of Tanzania in 1978, led to the Uganda–Tanzania War and the demise of his eight-year regime, leading Amin to flee into exile to Libya and then Saudi Arabia, where he lived until his death on 16 August 2003.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Family and associates
- 3 Erratic behaviour, self-bestowed titles, and media portrayal
- 4 Portrayal in media and literature
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
- 8 Sources
- 9 External links
Amin never wrote an autobiography nor did he authorize any official written account of his life, so there are discrepancies regarding when and where he was born. Most biographical sources hold that he was born in either Koboko or Kampala around 1925.[a] Other unconfirmed sources state Amin's year of birth from as early as 1923 to as late as 1928. Amin's son Hussein has stated that his father was born in Kampala in 1928. According to Fred Guweddeko, a researcher at Makerere University, Idi Amin was the son of Andreas Nyabire (1889–1976). Nyabire, a member of the Kakwa ethnic group, converted from Roman Catholicism to Islam in 1910, and changed his name to Amin Dada. He named his first-born son after himself. Abandoned by his father at a young age, Idi Amin grew up with his mother's family in a rural farming town in northwestern Uganda. Guweddeko states that Amin's mother was Assa Aatte (1904–1970), an ethnic Lugbara and a traditional herbalist who treated members of Buganda royalty, among others. Amin joined an Islamic school in Bombo in 1941. After a few years, he left school with only a fourth-grade English-language education, and did odd jobs before being recruited to the army by a British colonial army officer.
Colonial British Army
|King's African Rifles|
|1946||Joined the King's African Rifles|
|1958||Sergeant major (acting as platoon commander)|
|1959||Effendi (warrant officer)|
|1961||Lieutenant (one of the first two Ugandan officers)|
|1964||Deputy Commander of the Army|
|1965||Colonel, Commander of the Army|
|1971||Head of state
Chairman of the Defence Council
Commander-in-chief of the armed forces
Army Chief of Staff and Chief of Air Staff
Amin joined the King's African Rifles (KAR) of the British Colonial Army in 1946, as an assistant cook. In later life he falsely claimed he was forced to join the Army during World War II and that he served in the Burma Campaign. He was transferred to Kenya for infantry service as a private in 1947, and served in the 21st KAR infantry battalion in Gilgil, Kenya until 1949. That year his unit was deployed to Northern Kenya to fight against Somali rebels in the Shifta War. In 1952, his brigade was deployed against the Mau Mau rebels in Kenya. He was promoted to corporal the same year, then to sergeant in 1953.
In 1959, Amin was made Afande (warrant officer), the highest rank possible for a Black African in the colonial British Army of that time. Amin returned to Uganda the same year and, in 1961, he was promoted to lieutenant, becoming one of the first two Ugandans to become commissioned officers. He was assigned to quell the cattle rustling between Uganda's Karamojong and Kenya's Turkana nomads. In 1962, following Uganda's independence from the United Kingdom, Amin was promoted to captain and then, in 1963, to major. He was appointed Deputy Commander of the Army in 1964 and, the following year, to Commander of the Army. In 1970, he was promoted to commander of all the armed forces.
Amin was an athlete during his time in both the British and Ugandan army. At 193 cm (6 ft 4 in) tall and powerfully built, he was the Ugandan light heavyweight boxing champion from 1951 to 1960, as well as a swimmer. Idi Amin was also a formidable rugby forward, although one officer said of him: "Idi Amin is a splendid type and a good (rugby) player, but virtually bone from the neck up, and needs things explained in words of one letter". In the 1950s, he played for Nile RFC. There is a frequently repeated urban myth that he was selected as a replacement by East Africa for their match against the 1955 British Lions. Amin, however, does not appear on the team photograph or on the official team list. Following conversations with a colleague in the British Army, Amin became a keen fan of Hayes Football Club – an affection that would remain for the rest of his life.
Commander of the Army
In 1965, Prime Minister Milton Obote and Amin were implicated in a deal to smuggle ivory and gold into Uganda from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The deal, as later alleged by General Nicholas Olenga, an associate of the former Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba, was part of an arrangement to help troops opposed to the Congolese government trade ivory and gold for arms supplies secretly smuggled to them by Amin. In 1966, the Ugandan Parliament demanded an investigation. Obote imposed a new constitution abolishing the ceremonial presidency held by Kabaka (King) Mutesa II of Buganda, and declared himself executive president. He promoted Amin to colonel and army commander. Amin led an attack on the Kabaka's palace and forced Mutesa into exile to the United Kingdom, where he remained until his death in 1969.
Amin began recruiting members of Kakwa, Lugbara, South Sudanese, and other ethnic groups from the West Nile area bordering South Sudan. The South Sudanese had been residents in Uganda since the early 20th century, having come from South Sudan to serve the colonial army. Many African ethnic groups in northern Uganda inhabit both Uganda and South Sudan; allegations persist that Amin's army consisted mainly of South Sudanese soldiers.
Seizure of power
Eventually a rift developed between Amin and Obote, exacerbated by the support Amin had built within the army by recruiting from the West Nile region, his involvement in operations to support the rebellion in southern Sudan and an attempt on Obote's life in 1969. In October 1970, Obote took control of the armed forces, reducing Amin from his months-old post of commander of all the armed forces to that of commander of the army.
Having learned that Obote was planning to arrest him for misappropriating army funds, Amin seized power in a military coup on 25 January 1971, while Obote was attending a Commonwealth summit meeting in Singapore. Troops loyal to Amin sealed off Entebbe International Airport and took Kampala. Soldiers surrounded Obote's residence and blocked major roads. A broadcast on Radio Uganda accused Obote's government of corruption and preferential treatment of the Lango region. Cheering crowds were reported in the streets of Kampala after the radio broadcast. Amin announced that he was a soldier, not a politician, and that the military government would remain only as a caretaker regime until new elections, which would be announced when the situation was normalised. He promised to release all political prisoners.
Amin gave former King (Kabaka) of Buganda and President, Sir Edward Mutesa (who had died in exile), a state funeral in April 1971, freed many political prisoners, and reiterated his promise to hold free and fair elections to return the country to democratic rule in the shortest period possible.
Establishment of military rule
On 2 February 1971, one week after the coup, Amin declared himself President of Uganda, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Army Chief of Staff, and Chief of Air Staff. He announced that he was suspending certain provisions of the Ugandan constitution, and soon instituted an Advisory Defence Council composed of military officers with himself as the chairman. Amin placed military tribunals above the system of civil law, appointed soldiers to top government posts and parastatal agencies, and informed the newly inducted civilian cabinet ministers that they would be subject to military discipline. Amin renamed the presidential lodge in Kampala from Government House to "The Command Post". He disbanded the General Service Unit (GSU), an intelligence agency created by the previous government, and replaced it with the State Research Bureau (SRB). SRB headquarters at the Kampala suburb of Nakasero became the scene of torture and executions over the next few years. Other agencies used to persecute dissenters included the military police and the Public Safety Unit (PSU).
Obote took refuge in Tanzania, having been offered sanctuary there by the Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere. Obote was soon joined by 20,000 Ugandan refugees fleeing Amin. The exiles attempted but failed to regain Uganda in 1972, through a poorly organised coup attempt.
Persecution of ethnic and political groups
Amin retaliated against the attempted invasion by Ugandan exiles in 1972, by purging the army of Obote supporters, predominantly those from the Acholi and Lango ethnic groups. In July 1971, Lango and Acholi soldiers were massacred in the Jinja and Mbarara barracks, and, by early 1972, some 5,000 Acholi and Lango soldiers, and at least twice as many civilians, had disappeared. The victims soon came to include members of other ethnic groups, religious leaders, journalists, artists, senior bureaucrats, judges, lawyers, students and intellectuals, criminal suspects, and foreign nationals. In this atmosphere of violence, many other people were killed for criminal motives or simply at will. Bodies were often dumped into the River Nile.
The killings, motivated by ethnic, political, and financial factors, continued throughout Amin's eight-year reign. The exact number of people killed is unknown. The International Commission of Jurists estimated the death toll at no fewer than 80,000 and more likely around 300,000. An estimate compiled by exile organizations with the help of Amnesty International puts the number killed at 500,000. Among the most prominent people killed were Benedicto Kiwanuka, a former prime minister and chief justice; Janani Luwum, the Anglican archbishop; Joseph Mubiru, the former governor of the central bank of Uganda; Frank Kalimuzo, the vice chancellor of Makerere University; Byron Kawadwa, a prominent playwright; and two of Amin's own cabinet ministers, Erinayo Wilson Oryema and Charles Oboth Ofumbi.
Amin recruited his followers from his own tribe, the Kakwas, along with South Sudanese. By 1977, these three groups formed 60 percent of the 22 top generals and 75 percent of the cabinet. Similarly, Muslims formed 80 percent and 87.5 percent of these groups even though they were only 5 percent of the population. This helps explain why Amin survived eight attempted coups. The army grew from 10,000 to 25,000 by 1978. Amin's army was largely a mercenary force. Half the soldiers were South Sudanese and 26 percent Congolese, with only 24 percent being Ugandan, mostly Muslim and Kakwa.
We are determined to make the ordinary Ugandan master of his own destiny and, above all, to see that he enjoys the wealth of his country. Our deliberate policy is to transfer the economic control of Uganda into the hands of Ugandans, for the first time in our country's history.— Idi Amin on the persecution of minorities
In August 1972, Amin declared what he called an "economic war", a set of policies that included the expropriation of properties owned by Asians and Europeans. Uganda's 80,000 Asians were mostly from the Indian subcontinent and born in the country, their ancestors having come to Uganda in search of prosperity when India was still a British colony. Many owned businesses, including large-scale enterprises, which formed the backbone of the Ugandan economy. On 4 August 1972, Amin issued a decree ordering the expulsion of the 60,000 Asians who were not Ugandan citizens (most of them held British passports). This was later amended to include all 80,000 Asians, except for professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, and teachers. A plurality of the Asians (mostly from India) with British passports, around 30,000, emigrated to the UK. Others went to Commonwealth countries such as Australia, South Africa, Canada, and Fiji, or to India, Kenya, Pakistan, Sweden, Tanzania, and the United States. Amin expropriated businesses and properties belonging to the Asians and the Europeans and handed them over to his supporters. The businesses were mismanaged, and industries collapsed from lack of maintenance. This proved disastrous for the already declining economy.
In 1977, Henry Kyemba, Amin's health minister and a former official of the first Obote regime, defected and resettled in the UK. Kyemba wrote and published A State of Blood, the first insider exposé of Amin's rule.
Initially, Amin was supported by Western powers such as Israel, West Germany and, in particular, Great Britain. During the late 1960s, Obote's move to the left, which included his Common Man's Charter and the nationalisation of 80 British companies, had made the West worried that he would pose a threat to Western capitalist interests in Africa and make Uganda an ally of the Soviet Union. Amin, who had served with the King's African Rifles and taken part in Britain's suppression of the Mau Mau uprising prior to Ugandan independence was known by the British as "intensely loyal to Britain"; this made him an obvious choice as Obote's successor. Although some have claimed that Amin was being groomed for power as early as 1966, the plotting by the British and other Western powers began in earnest in 1969, after Obote had begun his nationalisation programme.
Following the expulsion of Ugandan Asians in 1972, most of whom were of Indian descent, India severed diplomatic relations with Uganda. The same year, as part of his "economic war", Amin broke diplomatic ties with the UK and nationalised eighty-five British-owned businesses.
That year, relations with Israel soured. Although Israel had previously supplied Uganda with arms, in 1972 Amin expelled Israeli military advisers and turned to Muammar Gaddafi of Libya and the Soviet Union for support. Amin became an outspoken critic of Israel. In return, Gaddafi gave financial aid to Amin. In the 1974 French-produced documentary film General Idi Amin Dada: A Self Portrait, Amin discussed his plans for war against Israel, using paratroops, bombers, and suicide squadrons.
The Soviet Union became Amin's largest arms supplier. East Germany was involved in the General Service Unit and the State Research Bureau, the two agencies which were most notorious for terror. Later during the Ugandan invasion of Tanzania in 1979, East Germany attempted to remove evidence of its involvement with these agencies.
In 1973, U.S. Ambassador Thomas Patrick Melady recommended that the United States reduce its presence in Uganda. Melady described Amin's regime as "racist, erratic and unpredictable, brutal, inept, bellicose, irrational, ridiculous, and militaristic". Accordingly, the United States closed its embassy in Kampala.
In June 1976, Amin allowed an Air France airliner from Tel Aviv to Paris hijacked by two members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – External Operations (PFLP-EO) and two members of the German Revolutionäre Zellen to land at Entebbe Airport. There the hijackers were joined by three more. Soon after, 156 non-Jewish hostages who did not hold Israeli passports were released and flown to safety, while 83 Jews and Israeli citizens, as well as 20 others who refused to abandon them (among whom were the captain and crew of the hijacked Air France jet), continued to be held hostage. In the subsequent Israeli rescue operation, codenamed Operation Thunderbolt (popularly known as Operation Entebbe), on the night of 3–4 July 1976, a group of Israeli commandos were flown in from Israel and seized control of Entebbe Airport, freeing nearly all the hostages. Three hostages died during the operation and 10 were wounded; 7 hijackers, about 45 Ugandan soldiers, and 1 Israeli soldier, Yoni Netanyahu, were killed. A fourth hostage, 75-year-old Dora Bloch, an elderly Jewish Englishwoman who had been taken to Mulago Hospital in Kampala before the rescue operation, was subsequently murdered in reprisal. The incident further soured Uganda's international relations, leading the United Kingdom to close its High Commission in Uganda.
Uganda under Amin embarked on a large military build-up, which raised concerns in Kenya. Early in June 1975, Kenyan officials impounded a large convoy of Soviet-made arms en route to Uganda at the port of Mombasa. Tension between Uganda and Kenya reached its climax in February 1976, when Amin announced that he would investigate the possibility that parts of southern Sudan and western and central Kenya, up to within 32 kilometres (20 mi) of Nairobi, were historically a part of colonial Uganda. The Kenyan Government responded with a stern statement that Kenya would not part with "a single inch of territory". Amin backed down after the Kenyan army deployed troops and armored personnel carriers along the Kenya–Uganda border.
Deposition and exile
By 1978, the number of Amin's supporters and close associates had shrunk significantly, and he faced increasing dissent from the populace within Uganda as the economy and infrastructure collapsed as a result of the years of neglect and abuse. After the killings of Bishop Luwum and ministers Oryema and Oboth Ofumbi in 1977, several of Amin's ministers defected or fled into exile. In November 1978, after Amin's vice president, General Mustafa Adrisi, was injured in a car accident, troops loyal to him mutinied. Amin sent troops against the mutineers, some of whom had fled across the Tanzanian border. Amin accused Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere of waging war against Uganda, ordered the invasion of Tanzanian territory, and formally annexed a section of the Kagera Region across the boundary.
In January 1979, Nyerere mobilised the Tanzania People's Defence Force and counterattacked, joined by several groups of Ugandan exiles who had united as the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA). Amin's army retreated steadily, and, despite military help from Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, Amin was forced to flee into exile by helicopter on 11 April 1979, when Kampala was captured. He escaped first to Libya, where he stayed until 1980, and ultimately settled in Saudi Arabia, where the Saudi royal family allowed him sanctuary and paid him a generous subsidy in return for his staying out of politics. Amin lived for a number of years on the top two floors of the Novotel Hotel on Palestine Road in Jeddah. Brian Barron, who covered the Uganda–Tanzania war for the BBC as chief Africa correspondent, together with cameraman Mohamed Amin of Visnews in Nairobi, located Amin in 1980, and secured the first interview with him since his deposition.
During interviews he gave during his exile in Saudi Arabia, Amin held that Uganda needed him, and never expressed remorse for the nature of his regime. In 1989, he attempted to return to Uganda, apparently to lead an armed group organised by Colonel Juma Oris. He reached Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), before Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko forced him to return to Saudi Arabia.
On 19 July 2003, one of Amin's wives, Madina, reported that he was in a coma and near death at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from kidney failure. She pleaded with the Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, to allow him to return to Uganda for the remainder of his life. Museveni replied that Amin would have to "answer for his sins the moment he was brought back". Amin's family decided to disconnect life support and Amin died at the hospital in Jeddah on 16 August 2003. He was buried in Ruwais Cemetery in Jeddah in a simple grave without any fanfare. After Amin's death, David Owen revealed that when he was the British Foreign Secretary, he had proposed having Amin assassinated. He has defended this, arguing: "I'm not ashamed of considering it, because his regime goes down in the scale of Pol Pot as one of the worst of all African regimes".
Family and associates
A polygamist, Idi Amin married at least six women, three of whom he divorced. He married his first and second wives, Malyamu and Kay, in 1966. In 1967, he married Nora, and then married Nalongo Madina in 1972. On 26 March 1974, he announced on Radio Uganda that he had divorced Malyamu, Nora, and Kay. Malyamu was arrested in Tororo on the Kenyan border in April 1974 and accused of attempting to smuggle a bolt of fabric into Kenya. She later moved to London where she operates a restaurant in East London. In 1974, Kay Amin died under mysterious circumstances, with her body found dismembered. Nora fled to Zaire in 1979; her current whereabouts are unknown.
In July 1975, Amin staged a £2 Million wedding to 19 year old Sarah Kyolaba, a go-go dancer with the Revolutionary Suicide Mechanised Regiment Band, nicknamed "Suicide Sarah."  The wedding was held during the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit meeting in Kampala, and the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Yasser Arafat served as Amin’s best man. The couple had four children, and enjoyed rally race driving Amin's Citroën SM, with Sarah as navigator. Sarah was a hairdresser in Tottenham when she died in 2015. Before she met Amin, she was living with a boyfriend, Jesse Gitta; he vanished and it is not clear if he was beheaded, or detained after fleeing to Kenya.
By 1993, Amin was living with the last nine of his children and one wife, Mama a Chumaru (who appears to be his sixth and newest wife), the mother of the youngest four of his children. His last known child, daughter Iman, was born in 1992. According to The Monitor, Amin married a few months before his death in 2003.
Sources differ widely on the number of children Amin fathered; most say that he had 30 to 45.[b] Until 2003, Taban Amin (born 1955), Idi Amin's eldest son, was the leader of West Nile Bank Front (WNBF), a rebel group opposed to the government of Yoweri Museveni. In 2005, he was offered amnesty by Museveni, and in 2006, he was appointed Deputy Director General of the Internal Security Organisation. Another of Amin's sons, Haji Ali Amin, ran for election as Chairman (i.e. mayor) of Njeru Town Council in 2002 but was not elected. In early 2007, the award-winning film The Last King of Scotland prompted one of his sons, Jaffar Amin (born in 1967), to speak out in his father's defence. Jaffar Amin said he was writing a book to rehabilitate his father's reputation. Jaffar is the tenth of Amin's 40 official children by seven official wives.
Among Amin's closest associates was the British-born Bob Astles, who is considered by many to have been a malignant influence and by others as having been a moderating presence. Isaac Malyamungu was an instrumental affiliate and one of the more feared officers in Amin's army.
Erratic behaviour, self-bestowed titles, and media portrayal
Amin's egotistical behaviour and mental health have been the subjects of much speculation throughout his reign and life. He was described as having a quick-change and violent short temper; being charming, happy, and charismatic one minute and then suddenly angry, violent, and brutal the next, with little or no warning. Many have speculated that his behaviour was either the result of long-term syphilis of the brain or possibly undiagnosed and untreated bipolar disorder. As the years progressed, Amin's behaviour became more erratic, unpredictable, and outspoken. After the United Kingdom broke off all diplomatic relations with his regime in 1977, Amin declared he had defeated the British, and conferred on himself the decoration of CBE (Conqueror of the British Empire). His full self-bestowed title ultimately became: "His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular", in addition to his officially-stated claim of being the uncrowned King of Scotland. He never received the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) or the Military Cross (MC). He conferred a doctorate of law on himself from Makerere University as well as the Victorious Cross (VC), a medal made to emulate the British Victoria Cross.
Amin became the subject of rumours and myths, including a widespread belief that he was a cannibal. Some of the unsubstantiated rumours, such as the mutilation of one of his wives, were spread and popularised by the 1980 film Rise and Fall of Idi Amin and alluded to in the film The Last King of Scotland in 2006, a movie which earned actor Forest Whitaker an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Amin.
During Amin's time in power, popular media outside of Uganda often portrayed him as an essentially comic and eccentric figure. In a 1977 assessment typical of the time, a Time magazine article described him as a "killer and clown, big-hearted buffoon and strutting martinet". The comedy-variety series Saturday Night Live aired four Amin sketches between 1976–79, including one in which he was an ill-behaved houseguest in exile, and another in which he was a spokesman against venereal disease. In a Benny Hill show transmitted in January 1977, Hill portrayed Amin sitting behind a desk that featured a placard reading "ME TARZAN, U GANDA".
The foreign media were often criticised by Ugandan exiles and defectors for emphasizing Amin's self-aggrandizing eccentricities and taste for excess while downplaying or excusing his murderous behavior. Other commentators even suggested that Amin had deliberately cultivated his eccentric reputation in the foreign media as an easily parodied buffoon in order to defuse international concern over his administration of Uganda.
Portrayal in media and literature
Film and television dramatisations
- Victory at Entebbe (1976), a TV film about Operation Entebbe. Julius Harris plays Amin. Godfrey Cambridge was originally cast as Amin, but died of a heart attack on the set. Amin commented on Cambridge's death, saying that it was "punishment from God".
- Raid on Entebbe (1977), a film depicting the events of Operation Entebbe. Yaphet Kotto portrays Amin as a charismatic, but short-tempered political and military leader.
- In Mivtsa Yonatan (1977; also known as Operation Thunderbolt), an Israeli film about Operation Entebbe, Jamaican-born British actor Mark Heath portrays Amin, who in this film is first angered by the Palestinian terrorists whom he later comes to support.
- Comedian Richard Pryor portrayed a parodied version of Amin in his namesake show in 1977.
- Rise and Fall of Idi Amin (1981), a film recreating Idi Amin's atrocities. Amin is played by Kenyan actor Joseph Olita.
- The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988), a comedy film in which Amin, portrayed by Prince Hughes in a cameo appearance, is one of the real-life figures in the Beirut meeting where he helps plan to attack the United States at the beginning of the movie. Frank Drebin injures Amin's hand after blocking a punch with a spittoon, and uses it to knock Amin out a window.
- Mississippi Masala (1991), a film depicting the resettlement of an Indian family after the expulsion of Asians from Uganda by Idi Amin. Joseph Olita again plays Amin in a cameo.
- The Last King of Scotland (2006), a film adaptation of Giles Foden's 1998 novel of the same name. For his portrayal of Idi Amin, Forest Whitaker won the Academy Award, British Academy Film Award, Broadcast Film Critics Association Award, Golden Globe Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award, thus becoming the fourth black actor to win the Oscar for Best Actor.
- General Idi Amin Dada: A Self Portrait (1974), directed by French filmmaker Barbet Schroeder.
- Idi Amin: Monster in Disguise (1997), a television documentary directed by Greg Baker.
- The Man Who Ate His Archbishop's Liver? (2004), a television documentary written, produced, and directed by Elizabeth C. Jones for Associated-Rediffusion and Channel 4.
- The Man Who Stole Uganda (1971), World In Action first broadcast 5 April 1971.
- Inside Idi Amin's Terror Machine (1979), World In Action first broadcast 13 June 1979.
- A Day in the Life of a Dictator (2013), directed by Hendrick Dusollier
- On the Spot (2014), a television documentary series featuring an interview with Amin's son Jaffar
- State of Blood: The Inside Story of Idi Amin (1977) by Henry Kyemba
- The General Is Up by Peter Nazareth
- Ghosts of Kampala: The Rise and Fall of Idi Amin (1980) by George Ivan Smith
- The Last King of Scotland (1998) by Giles Foden (fictional)
- Idi Amin Dada: Hitler in Africa (1977) by Thomas Patrick Melady
- General Amin (1975) by David Martin
- I Love Idi Amin: The Story of Triumph under Fire in the Midst of Suffering and Persecution in Uganda (1977) by Festo Kivengere
- Impassioned for Freedom: Uganda, Struggle Against Idi Amin (2006) by Eriya Kategaya
- Confessions of Idi Amin: The chilling, explosive expose of Africa's most evil man – in his own words (1977) compiled by Trevor Donald
- "Kahawa" by Donald Westlake; a thriller in which Amin is a minor character, but Amin's Uganda is portrayed in detail.
- Culture of the Sepulchre (2012) by Madanjeet Singh (former Indian Ambassador to Uganda), ISBN 0-670-08573-1
Music and audio
- "Idi Amin – the Amazin' Man song" (1975) by John Bird
- "Idi Amin" (1978) by Mighty Sparrow
- "Idi Amin" (1978) by Black Randy and the Metrosquad
- "Springtime in Uganda" (2004) by Blaze Foley (posthumous release)
- The Collected Broadcasts of Idi Amin (1975) based on The Collected Bulletins of President Idi Amin (1974) and Further Bulletins of President Idi Amin (1975) by Alan Coren, portraying Amin as an amiable, if murderous, buffoon in charge of a tin-pot dictatorship. It was a British comedy album parodying Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, released in 1975 on Transatlantic Records. Performed by John Bird and written by Alan Coren, it was based on columns he wrote for Punch magazine
- Many sources, like Encyclopædia Britannica, Encarta, and the Columbia Encyclopedia, hold that Amin was born in Koboko or Kampala c.1925, and that the exact date of his birth is unknown. Researcher Fred Guweddeko claimed that Amin was born on 17 May 1928, but that is disputed. The only certainty is that Amin was born some time during the mid-1920s.
- According to Henry Kyema and the African Studies Review, Idi Amin had 34 children. Some sources say Amin claimed to have fathered 32 children. A report in The Monitor says he was survived by 45 children, while another in the BBC gives the figure of 54.
- Nakajubi, Gloria (15 July 2015). "Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's widow Sarah Kyolaba dies in the UK aged 59". The Independent. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
- Ullman, Richard H. (April 1978). "Human Rights and Economic Power: The United States Versus Idi Amin". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 26 March 2009.
The most conservative estimates by informed observers hold that President Idi Amin Dada and the terror squads operating under his loose direction have killed 100,000 Ugandans in the seven years he has held power.
- Keatley, Patrick (18 August 2003). "Obituary: Idi Amin". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 18 March 2008.
- Roland Anthony Oliver, Anthony Atmore. Africa Since 1800. p. 272.
- Dale C. Tatum. Who influenced whom?. p. 177.
- Gareth M. Winrow. The Foreign Policy of the GDR in Africa, p. 141.
- "Idi Amin: A Byword for Brutality". News24. 21 July 2003. Archived from the original on 5 June 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
- Gershowitz, Suzanne (20 March 2007). "The Last King of Scotland, Idi Amin, and the United Nations". Archived from the original on 6 June 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
- New York Times, Dec. 17, 1986; Paper Cites CIA Aid to Amin's Army in 70s
- Guweddeko, Fred (12 June 2007). "Rejected then taken in by dad; a timeline". The Monitor. Archived from the original on 12 June 2007. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
- O'Kadameri, Billie (1 September 2003). "Separate fact from fiction in Amin stories". Originally published in The Monitor. Retrieved 8 May 2010.
- Elliott, Chris (30 November 2014). "Idi Amin's son complains about the Guardian's obituary notice". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
- "Idi Amin". Encyclopædia Britannica. 19 December 2008. Archived from the original on 14 March 2007. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
- General Idi Amin Dada: A Self Portrait. Le Figaro Films. 1974. ISBN 0-7800-2507-5.
- Bay, Austin (20 August 2003). "Why Didn't Amin Rot and Die in Jail?". Strategy Page. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
- "General Idi Amin overthrows Ugandan government". British Council. 2 February 1971. Archived from the original on 25 February 2007. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
- Bridgland, Fred (16 August 2003). "Idi Amin". Scotsman. Edinburgh. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Idi Amin.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Idi Amin|
- The Idi Amin I knew, Brian Barron, BBC, 16 August 2003. Includes a video of Brian Barron interviewing Idi Amin in exile in 1980. The Atlantic – 1 April 2001 Memo and Quincy LS the series
- Luck, Adam (13 January 2007). "Mad Ugandan dictator's son reveals all about his 'Big Daddy'". Daily Mail. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
- General Idi Amin Dada: A Self Portrait on Google Videos (Flash Video)
- idiamindada.com, a website devoted to Idi Amin's legacy created by his son Jaffar Amin
- Idi Amin at the Internet Movie Database
- Idi Amin (Character) at the Internet Movie Database
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