Nyerere, was Obote’s direct backup and he soon expressed every negative thing he felt for Amin and his new regime. He detested, Amin and he did not wait to show it. In a press conference, later on, Obote and Nyerere spoke about Amin’s regime.
PART 1: Overthrow of Obote, Nyerere’s disbelief and Amin’s 24-hour ultimatum
While Amin was meeting diplomats and religious leaders here following fanfare and band music, on the other side Obote and Nyerere were busy addressing the media, spitting all tribes of venom.
“Dr. Obote is still the lawful president of Uganda,” Nyerere quipped.
Nyerere maintained that there is no proof that Amin was indeed the president of Uganda, reducing his coup to mere rejoicing within Baganda dominated Kampala.
“The rejoicing in Kampala has not surprised us, and I do not know who has been surprised by such. Kampala is in Buganda and President Obote overthrew the Kabaka of Buganda as he tried to bold the unity of Buganda by removing tribalism.”
Indeed, many people on the streets were singing songs, purely in Luganda. The commonest of the songs: “Obote twamugamba da, agende ewabye, (We told Obote before, to go back to his people.”
The song was a reiteration of a warning Obote was given by Buganda in 1966, to get his government off Buganda soil. He (Obote retaliated by overthrowing the Kabaka and imposing him to exile, in what would be termed as the Kabaka crisis.
According to Nyerere, the people who were rejoicing over Amin’s temporary take over were strictly tribal Baganda and that did not mean Obote was not the president.
“The army is divided in this matter, the people of Uganda will not accept this change, there is no basis. I think people will not be rejoicing a few moments later. Because where is the other rejoicing apart from that of Baganda in Kampala, but Uganda is not only Kampala?
Nyerere insisted he does not know Amin.
“Dr. Obote is the President of Uganda who happens to be in Tanzania now.”
Obote was himself setting up for a press briefing where he declared he is still the president of Uganda and gave Idi Amin 24 hours to stand down and hand himself in for a lenient punishment.
Obote then unleashed secrets and accused Amin of killing Brig Okoya and his Wife in January 1970.
Amin later addressed a press briefing himself in which he affirmed that “Obote would only return to Uganda as a citizen of Uganda but not the President.”
Amin refuted claims he was behind the murder of Okoya, and impulsively released all Obote’s incarcerated Ministers and government officials, some of whom he paraded at the press conference to support his denial.
“I have seven prisoners who were arrested and tortured. They are here because I am clean, my heart is very clean, they will explain to you and you are free to ask questions if you wish,” Amin said as he left the men to the media.
Amin also declared that there would not be any political activities in the country and banned such with “immediate effect” until stability returned.
Obote was out of tricks, Amin had been endorsed elsewhere except Tanzania and he went about his regime.
Indeed, at least twice, Obote’s family while escaping from Uganda to join him in Tanzania were deported by Kenya’s Vice President Daniel Arap Moi and handed back to Amin.
The writer is a private contributor to the Nile Post