Saturday, 2 January 2010
Amin Vs Jammeh,Who's worst?
I read your recent editorial on Freedom Newspaper comparing the late Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin, to Gambia's very own version of the East African tyrant, Yahya Jammeh. And I felt an irresistible rouge to chip in my thoughts.
Yes, you are right there is striking resemblance in the two characters and ways of lives and reigns. But let me hasten to say that Idi Amin is the worst. Amin Killed some 100, 000 Ugandans and exiled 500, 000 more during his eight year rule of terror. Jammeh can never ever equal that number in both categories. However, I must also add that even a single life taken is as serious a crime as killing more.
That said, I would now go ahead to highlight the similarity between the two men. Idi Amin came from a small ethnic group found mainly around Uganda's Southern Sudanese border, with the bulk of their numbers in Sudan. They are known in Uganda as the Nubians and are known to be active in the then Sudanese rebel movement. By virtue of their ethnic background, Amin naturally supported, armed and financed them in their struggle across the border in Sudan, often providing them sanctuary amongst their kinsmen in Uganda. He even recruited Nubians in to the Ugandan army when he took full control in 1971, knowing full well that they are non citizens.
Since they did not know Uganda and respected nobody, they bore allegiance to only Amin and were capable of and indeed killed any person wanted dead by Amin - no matter the victims' standing in society.
Now, let's check this across Jammeh's record. A member of the Jola ethnic group (no offense intended here my fellow Jola countrymen), which is mainly and largely located in Cassamance where they are fighting a separatist war, which by the admission of Jammeh's own former soldiers and close confidantes, (and allegations by Senegal), he supported materially and financially. It is an open secret that the Gambian army is stuffed with elements from the Jola tribe with questionable citizen qualifications, who are loyal to only one person; Jammeh. These men have been indoctrinated to support the 'Jola cause' and are even powerful than their commanders. (This is why Lang Tombong and all the dummies just appointed to replace him are useless Generals, good for nothing, to borrow a line from thegambiaecho, who could be in and out anytime it suits Jammeh.)
Jammeh's real commanders are the hard core sworn Jola defenders in the lower ranks of the Army.
Back to Amin. The man believed in superstition, acted like the Buffon he really was, moving in long convoys with bulging pockets filled with money, which he threw about as he went; a penchant for dancing in public; organizing and watching multiple festivals; stole peoples' wives and girl friends; often smuggled in tinted glass cars to satisfy his unquenchable lust for sex.
Let us check this too against Jammeh's style and see the similarities.
Jammeh is utterly superstitious and embarrassingly buffoonery, the AIDS cure saga, the witch hunting, feeding bulls and lambs with concoctions before butchering them for distribution among the people in a bid to pacify their hearts, distributing money and biscuits in the streets, enticing women with cabinet posts and appointing female state house aides to enable good and disguised access to sex! They are there everyone knows them.
Also Idi Amin terrorized the nation through the infamous State Research Bureau headed by Mose Ali, Hussein Marella and the well known Malyamugu. They killed, tortured and gave dead bodies to crocodiles in the Nile River.
Didn’t we have the NIA with its Hydaras, Nurr Seckas? Hadn't the presidential guard even killers whom Jammeh himself nicknamed Malyamugu?
Finally, it took an old man in the neighborhood, Julius Nyerere, to remove Amin. Let us hope that the similarity extends to another old man in the neighborhood, Aboulie Wade, to remove Jammeh.