How Amin got rid of the Disabled; Eye witness account –Published from pages of the DRUM

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Former President Idi Amin Dada; File

According to Odhiambo Ogutu, in 1975 under Amin’s orders, physically handicapped people were rounded up in lorry loads and dumped into the Crocodile infested Nile River at Owen Fall Dam.

One morning around 10 am, Idi Amin drove into Kampala’s main car park in his Citroen. He was accompanied by some of his ministers and bodyguards. He got out of his car and started walking around the car park. He entered one of the shops that surrounded the car park and found a group of men playing Ajua. Amin requested that he join in the game and one of the players relinquished his position for the president.

The game resumed and word went around that the president was playing. A crowd gathered to watch. It was soon apparent that Amin was a good player.He was cheered by the crowd as he beat one man after the other.

In the middle of jubilation, there came into the crowd a crippled man by the names of Wandera Maskini. He was very well known in Kampala. Wandera pushed his way through the crowd with his crutches and went and collapsed in front of Amin.

He glared at Amin and started insulting him. He called the president names and told him that he shouldn’t have sent away the Asians because the common man was now suffering. “We don’t have commodities in shops yet you call yourself a president. Son of a bit**! Kill me if you want.” Said Wandera Maskini.

One of Amin’s bodyguard raised his hand to strike Wandera , but Amin restrained him.  “Shoot me! I hear you are a murderer and shoot people with your gun. Shoot me now” provoked Wandera.

Amin quietly got to his feet and left the crowd, followed by his ministers and bodyguards. Three days later Wandera was seen being hauled into a military vehicle. Up until today, nobody knows what happened to him, but your guess is as good as mine.

The same evening, Radio Uganda announced that anybody who was lame, blind, had no hands, and anybody who felt that he is so poor and disabled that he needed help, should report to the nearest police station. The government claimed the announcement would offer them jobs, free accommodation and free food in Jinja.

The following morning, thousands of crippled people and other disabled turned up in Kampala Police Stations. They were loaded onto military trucks and driven to Jinja. At Jinja, they were unloaded as sand into the Nile River. Those who had hands and held on, they were shot and they too fell into the river.

From The Bloodstained Pearl of Africa and its Struggle for Peace; Pages of the DRUM January 1987

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