Drum: February 1975
Top international mannequin, barrister, actress and then diplomat. That was the impressive background of the Ugandan beauty that Gen. Idi Amin selected to be Uganda’s Foreign Minister. But after barely eight months in her jet-set job, Princess Elizabeth of Tooro was sacked and humiliated by her one time patron.
Top international hotels of New York, Paris, London, Rome and Nairobi were ‘home’ to Uganda’s famous, intelligent and beautiful; she graced the covers of Harper’s Bazaar, then the top American society magazine, focal point of international high fashion.
In Britain, where she studied, she mixed with royalty and was a guest at the 21st birthday party of the Queen’s cousin. High society craved her attendance at important functions in whatever capital she was passing through. Ambassadors invited her to parties.
Then came the downfall. She was dismissed by Amin and placed under house arrest. Now her whereabouts are a mystery. It was rumored that she had her hair shaved off and has been imprisoned, but Uganda’s Bonn Ambassador, Miss Benedicta Olowo gave an assurance that the Princess was free to come and go as she pleased.
However sources close to Uganda believe that she may still be in prison. The body of her predecessor, Micheal Ondoga was found severely mutilated in the Nile a few days after his dismissal.
Princess Elizabeth, the daughter of Omukama George Rukidi III of Tooro, was at the summit of her chekered career when Amin sacked her. Educate in England, the princess mixed with royalty. Prince William of Gloucester, a cousin of the Queen invited her to his 21st birthday party at St. James Palace. After living in London for eight years, she returned to Uganda in 1965 on being called to the bar, becoming the first woman barrister in East Africa.
Many people believed that she was the power behind the throne of her brother, Patrick Olimi, now 31. Who was deposed as King of Tooro in 1967 by ex-President Militon Obote. After Obote’s fall, Princess Elizabeth left Uganda to live in America where she became a model. Acting parts in the film “Bullfrog in the Sun”, shot in Nigeria, and “Cotton Comes to Harlem.”
The Princess calling herself Elizabeth Bagaya as her title had been abolished returned to Uganda in 1971, after the overthrow of Militon Obote. She was appointed Uganda’s roving ambassador and delegate to the Unite Nations, where she made her first speech wearing a stunning golden robe. Then in February 1974, Amin appointed her Uganda’s foreign minister.
Her dismissal however came eight months later on November 28, 1974, and the Princess was placed under closed house arrest. Two days later General Amin assumed the post of foreign minister.