IDI AMIN: Death-Light of Africa by David Gwyn

IDI AMIN: Death-Light of Africa

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KIRKUS REVIEW

British officers found Amin's sadism useful, so he rose through Uganda army ranks. After independence, President Milton Obote let the economy slide, allowed disorder and disaffection to grow, and delayed elections, until Amin--now, in 1971, army commander--became a plausible, popular alternative. In pointed detail, ""David Gwyn,"" pseudonym for a twenty-year technical adviser to Uganda, chronicles Amin's rise and rule, transforming him from an aberration into a ghastly mistake. ""By October 1972,"" a Ugandan whose ""disappearance"" was announced on TV--while he watched--could do nothing but wait to ""disappear."" At a modest estimate of 2 killings per day, Amin's first 750 days yielded 30 thousand dead. But the horror stories are not the whole story. The author--expelled in 1973, in close touch since--describes Amin's vendetta against the Ugandan Asians (who not only prospered, but refused to intermarry with Africans); the effect of his terrorism in driving advanced Ugandans back to their tribes, clans, and extended families for refuge--and, perhaps, ritual magic; the British (ir)responsibility in teaching respect for law but not how to maintain order, leaving Ugandans with no way to handle Amin; his erratic, bombastic foreign policy; and today's total disarray. ""The cure to Uganda's problems is no longer in any doubt--the death of the dictator and the leaders of his entourage."" A reasonable proposal, it comes to seem--given the watertight case that Gwyn, loving Uganda, builds against him.

Pub Date: Nov. 29th, 1977
Publisher: Little, Brown