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Idi Amin played such a role in the history of Uganda that even now after over twenty years since his departure, articles are being written about him and his evil influence.
For a February 2003 article from The Monitor, concering Amin's murder of Archbiship Janani Luwum visit my Faithful Followers section.
Other sites with Idi Amin articles
An Army Divided
With Amin overthrown, the third part of our serialisation of Col Bernard Rwehururu's book, CROSS TO THE GUN, examines the divisions in the Uganda Army that, coupled with lack of support from the population, made it increasingly difficult to fight the enemy
A Tanzanian soldier celebrates after killing three Libyans who were trying to escape from Kampala
A stampede followed as soldiers fled. I lost control. I lost contact with the troops facing the enemy on the Masaka-Kampala road axis. The last time I had talked to them they were in Buwama, about 70 kilometres along Masaka road.
I knew I had to escape. But I had to plan first. We did not know what direction to go from Sembabule. Then a short radio message was sent out ordering us to assemble in Masindi to work out a plan to recapture Kampala.
We complied, but by then a big percentage of our force had come to the conclusion that we could not repulse the invaders and take over Kampala. This was driven home by the knowledge that most of the officers who had been in charge of logistics had either fled the country or crossed the Pakwach bridge for West Nile.
Two other factors also worked against us. First of all, the feeling that the war was a southern matter, which would not affect areas to the north of Karuma bridge, was prevalent among our colleagues from West Nile province. The war, they felt, had to be fought by only those from the South.
This was further complicated by the fact that soldiers from other units soon started apportioning blame, with Suicide Regiment coming under more fire for allegedly sparking off the war and failure to defend and repulse the enemy from Mutukula and Masaka. Such statements, baseless as they were, clearly portrayed the mood in our force, yet none could blame our colleagues who were making such outrageous statements, for we had by then been reduced to a bunch of angry, tired and battered men.
Even as we started making arrangements for regrouping in Masindi, the need to flee and go back home was very much evident among some of our colleagues.
Questions such as, "Ita guru weni?" (Where are you going?) became as common as the answer, "Ana guru Arua" (I am going to Arua), but that did not deter some of us from heeding the call to regroup for the recapture of Kampala.
I still had hope that if we put our act together, we would be in a position to give the Tanzanians and their Ugandan allies a good military drubbing.
This belief was further strengthened by information coming from the enemy side. It revealed that the enemy's handling of POWs was not charitable. There were grim stories of torture and death. Such stories of cruelty made some of us stronger in our resolve to die fighting.
On the afternoon of April 12, we moved out of Sembabule heading out to Masindi via Kabamba School of Infantry, but at Ntusi, the Fiat truck on which we had loaded a few bombs and some of our remaining ammunition, got stuck in a muddy section of the road. We abandoned it for the night. Early the following morning, despite opposition from numerous officers who felt that it would be better for us to abandon the lorry and hastily proceed to Masindi and join our colleagues, we were back in Ntusi to recover the lorry. The lorry was of utmost vitality to us. Having lost Mutukula to the enemy due to lack of ammunition, we realised that if we were really serious about carrying on with the fight, we could only do it with all the ammunition we could lay our hands on.
With the help of a few curious civilians, the truck was pushed out of the mud, before joining a long military convoy to Kyegegwa where we spent the night. We arrived at Masindi the following day.
The enemy's experience and accuracy in artillery was no longer a subject for debate. For that reason, we knew that any entry into the barracks would turn our force into an easy target. We would be like sitting ducks waiting to be picked up at leisure. We therefore opted to camp outside the barracks.
Most of our battle-tested units such as Chui Regiment, the Marines and the First Battalion were by then fleeing northwards via the East. It therefore meant that the only real fighting force that was in Masindi at the time was Suicide Regiment.
We beefed up Suicide Regiment with men from the Signal, Transport and Artillery units. This was by no means a good combination and it was clear that it would be hard to form a winning team out of it, but we hoped that with a good chain of command, we would cover up for the weaknesses.
Internal wrangles soon ruined our plans. For some unclear reasons, Abiriga, whom I trained in the aftermath of the rapid commissioning of non-commissioned officers that followed the 1971 coup, soon declared that he did not want Suicide Regiment troops around the area. Efforts to convince him that Suicide Regiment was the only fighting force in Masindi at the time and that splitting our force into smaller units would render us weak and ineffective fell on deaf ears. The harder we tried to convince him, the stronger he became in his resolve to force Suicide Regiment out of the area.
We ignored him for two days in the hope that he would appreciate our argument, but he remained adamant. Instead, Abiriga, who had until then not taken part in any fighting, went native and called us cowards. He went on further and publicly declared that all those who had joined the army as cadets were actually cowards and he could only equate them to women.
Naturally, the Suicide Regiment men were not amused. Though they had lost to the enemy, they had given a good account of themselves in several battles in both Mutukula and Sembabule, so their fury with Abiriga could be understood. They made arrangements to stage-manage a gunfight in which they hoped to kill the foulmouthed major.
Though I had also been angered by Abiriga's outbursts, I knew that it would be counter-productive to let my men engage other units in such a fight. I also knew that it would be far better for us to use our guns and ammunition on the enemy. To avert trouble, I moved Suicide Regiment to the Masindi Hotel compound.
Two days after we had camped at the hotel, we were informed that the Tanzanians had overrun Hoima and were advancing towards Masindi. That sent all the troops that we had left around Masindi barracks into panic.
Lorries loaded with soldiers and household property soon started passing us heading for Kigumba. We were left to guard the barracks from afar. Given the cowardly retreat that our troops were making, we realised that unless someone moved fast enough to delay the enemy's speedy advance towards Masindi, our losses would be very high.
Luckily, Suicide Regiment was itching for a fight. The unit agreed to move to Bulindi, 22 kilometres on the Masindi-Hoima Road, and set up an ambush.
The information that the enemy had got was that all our troops had evacuated the Bunyoro area. They were therefore not prepared for what they found at Bulindi. By the time the guns fell silent after a six-hour battle, the enemy forces had not only lost 40 men, but also been forced to beat a hasty retreat from the area.
Despite the success we had registered, we knew that the enemy had been forced to withdraw in order to get reinforcement from the rear. We therefore scrambled onto the few lorries at our disposal and withdrew to a location that was approximately eight kilometres outside Masindi on the Masindi-Kigumba Road.
Later the same day, we were forced to move on to Kigumba, where most of the forces had camped, but by then it had become clear that cracks within our rank and file would not permit us to build a force strong enough to send the enemy packing.
Two days after pitching camp in Kigumba, I developed terrible diarrhoea, but there were no medical facilities in the nearby Kiryandongo Hospital, so I had to be rushed to Lacor Hospital in Gulu, northern Uganda.
At the time, it was becoming increasingly difficult to find anyone who would sympathise with any member of our forces, but to my surprise, two young nurses took pity on me and attended to me so well that I was cured and discharged within two days.
The atmosphere outside the hospital was calm. It was difficult to believe that war was raging in the country. The population, including men and officers who were in the North, seemed ignorant of the ferocity with which the enemy was advancing.
The main area of action, stretching from the Uganda-Tanzania border to Kampala
The same men and officers, who had been talking in heated tones about regrouping our forces for purposes of driving the enemy off Ugandan soil, seemed to have totally changed their minds.
Instead of convening war councils to draw out a blueprint for an assault on the enemy, they worked round the clock to ensure that they held feasts on an everyday basis and served large quantities of roasted meat and drums of the local potent gin, lira lira, which they never paid for.
As I later discovered, the lira lira and the animals that provided the roasted meat and were served with abandon were violently grabbed from the local population, spawning hostility and resentment to our presence in the area.
Those who did not flee their villages, abandoning their homes and property to the marauding soldiers, decided to take up small arms such as bows and arrows to fight the soldiers. A number of soldiers were killed in the course of such battles.
Though the battles between our troops and the villagers raged on over a period of time, it took us quite long to realise that we were not wanted in the area. It was not until Lt Tom, from Suicide Regiment, who had gone to one of the villages to check on his wife was descended upon and beaten to death, that we belatedly realised that we had to leave.
Pursued by the enemy from the South and harassed by those among whom we had sought refuge, we realised that we had become an endangered lot.
The locals' show of courage to take on an enemy who had been the all-powerful master less than eight months before was very unsettling. It was further complicated by the fact that we were not in the least certain about what the following day would bring.
As if the local enemies and the enemies who were advancing from the South were not enough preoccupation, the petty rivalries that had plagued our forces before the fall of Masaka came back to haunt us.
On one hand, officers who had swiftly risen up the military ladder in the wake of the January 1971 coup ganged up against their colleagues who joined the army as cadets, while on the other hand, those who had participated in the fighting right from the start showed open contempt for those who had not taken part in the fighting.
Matters were worse for those of us whose origin was not in the West Nile region. Our colleagues became openly hostile. They held us responsible for triggering the war and made it clear that we should never have sought sanctuary in the North.
Under the circumstances, we came to the conclusion that our colleagues had something in store for us. It would not be long, we thought, before they descended upon us with guns blazing. I decided to keep away from men and officers from other units and stuck to those from Suicide Regiment, with whom we had already undergone so much pain and suffering.
And Now to the Notebook
I quote at length from the article: "He (Idi Amin) first set about weeding out the Langi and Acholi tribesmen in his army as he saw them as Obote sympathisers. Tens of thousands of soldiers were killed and replaced with men from Amin's Kakwa tribe.
"He next recruited 15 000 loyal men and entrusted them with keeping the peace. Unleashed upon the civilian population, these death squads raped and tortured at will, hunting down all those who spoke out of turn - even judges and archbishops were dealt with as political dissidents. Horribly mutilated bodies were frequently discovered. Some victims were fed to the crocodiles.
"Head of political studies at Wits University Professor Tom Lodge says: 'even three decades later, no contemporary African regime matches Amin's record of reckless brutality.'
"The workload was so taxing for Amin's men that the Ugandan president was eventually forced to commission the establishment of a torture facilty in Nakasero. He called it the State Research Bureau. The bureau treated prisoners to nails in the skull and broken or shattered limbs. They were given hammers and encouraged to bludgeon each other to death.
"By far the most chilling of Amin's eccentricities, however, was his fondness for scolding his political rivals over dinner - after their decapitated heads had been brought to him on a platter from the fridge."
Mukanya wishes to register his disagreement with the respected academic Lodge that the sheer brutal recklessness of Amin and his bunch of thieving murderers has not yet been matched.
We know of an African government not far from where Lodge lives that has reduced to rubble an economy that was 10 times larger than Uganda's and has reduced its people to oppressed beggars who have to queue for nearly every basic commodity.
Mukanya though entirely agrees with Lodge when he says: "Amin's rule would have been shorter were it not for the extent to which his behaviour was accepted by other African heads of government.
"Even today, the destructive and arbitrary actions of Robert Mugabe's administration have attracted very little censure from continental statesmen."
We hope President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, who has become infamous in Zimbabwe because of his quiet diplomacy tactics towards the government, reads this.
Talking about Mbeki and his hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil quiet diplomacy, Mukanya was rather disturbed to read in the Press that Mbeki had told South African journalists that the region would soon be looking into the deteriorating situation in Swaziland.
Mukanya's advice to the Swazis is: do not hold your breath.
It is better to seek salvation elsewhere than from this Mbeki fellow. He can't be trusted!
You can ask the Zimbabweans.
He visited Zimbabwe ostensibly to help find an African-grown solution to the country's crisis. And the next thing is he was telling the whole world that things had improved in Zimbabwe and that sanctions against Mugabe and his officials should now be lifted.
It didn't bothered him that at the time, pro-government militias were intensifying their crackdown on the opposition, with many suspected opponents of the government brutally attacked, arrested or even killed.
It's the whole army
Last week, the gov-ernment was telling us the people in army uniforms who in the past few weeks have harassed and brutalised innocent residents in Harare were in fact about 23 soldiers who had deserted from the army and were working with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
On the National Public Radio (NPR) program "Fresh Air," June 3, 2003, the Italian Journalist Riccardo Orizio was interviewed about his book, "Talk of the Devil: Encounters with Seven Dictators." Mr. Orizio wrote this book after interviewing seven dictators including Idi Amin. You can hear the program at the NPR website.
1979 War Veterans Petition Govt On Pay
VETERANS of the 1979 war that ousted Idi Amin have petitioned government over the lack of compensation since the war ended.
Andrew Lwoka, 73, told The New Vision on Wednesday that all his efforts to get money from the Government have been futile.
"I was in exile in Kenya when Ephraim Kamuntu, Akena Pajok and Ateker Ejalu requested us to join other people who were going to liberate Uganda with the help of Tanzania," Lwoka, who spoke a mixture of Luganda and Acholi said.
"We were taken to Dar-es-Salaam and then Morogoro.
"We were joined by other men and then embarked on the voyage to Uganda via Lake Victoria.
"Our group was called the Save Uganda Movement.
Lwoka said one of the boats in which 85 of their colleagues were travelling capsized and they all perished.
"The rest of us retreated and crossed to Uganda through Mutukula, Masaka and finally Mutundwe in Kampala where many of our colleagues were killed.
"It is at this place that my left eye was hit by shrapnel from a round of explosives," he said as he pointed at a scar on his left eye.
He said the war which ended on April 11, claimed many of his friends adding that no person has ever recognised the efforts of the fallen heroes.
Lwoka, who lives in Gulu said all he wanted was some money to help him get on with life adding that Kony has abducted all his children so he helpless.
Idi Amin: a byword for brutality
Kampala - Idi Amin, who is fighting for his life in a Saudi hospital, ruled Uganda in an eight-year orgy of slaughter and lunatic brutality that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.
Amin did as much as any other African despot to stain the continent with a reputation for bloodshed and backwardness, killing more than 300 000 political rivals and ordinary Ugandans and destroying the country's economy.
As armed forces chief, Amin staged a coup on January 25, 1971 when President Milton Obote was out of the country and proclaimed himself head of state.
"Big Daddy," as he became known, began by slaughtering Obote loyalists, but the killing quickly spread from the barracks to the entire country, and included an Anglican archbishop, a chief justice and several cabinet ministers.
It was one of the most appalling reigns of terror anywhere, with Amin reputed to have fed the remains of victims to the crocodiles in Lake Victoria and kept the heads of decapitated political rivals in his refrigerator.
Amin also drove out of the country about 80 000 Ugandans of Asian origin, saying God had commanded him to do so in a dream. He distributed their vast businesses to his cronies, who mismanaged them, leading to a phenomenal economic meltdown.
Because of Oboto's pro-communist leanings, many in the West, including former colonial power Britain, at first embraced Amin's putsch and suspicions about foreign involvement linger to this day.
Amin's reputation as a buffoonish butcher did not prevent him from strutting on the international stage bedecked with medals and braid. He once addressed the UN General Assembly - in the local Lugandan tongue rather than in English, which he said was the language of colonialists.
Among the many titles he conferred on himself was that of CBE - "Conqueror" rather than "Commander of the British Empire," as well as conferring on himself a doctorate of law, declaring himself a field marshal and, in 1975, life president of Uganda.
At the height of his reign, fellow African leaders overlooked his blood-drenched rule and praised his anti-imperialism. He became head of the Organisation of African Unity in 1975.
When Palestinian commandos seized a French airliner carrying Israelis and forced it to land at Entebbe in 1976, Amin sided with the hijackers and allowed them to keep their hostages at the airport. The hostages were rescued in a daring raid by an elite Israeli assault force, in which several Ugandan soldiers and all the hijackers were killed.
The one leader prepared to stand up to Amin was President Julius Nyere of neighboring Tanzania. In 1978, Amin made the mistake of invading Tanzania. Nyere counter-attacked with a force of Tanzanian troops and Ugandan exiles, culminating in the capture of Kampala after seven months, forcing Amin to flee in April 1979.
Amin was born in either 1924 or 1925 into the Muslim Kakwa tribe in Koboko in northwest Uganda, close to the borders of Zaire - now the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan.
In 1946, he joined the King's African Rifles of the British colonial army, and being both big and a good sportsman - he held the title of Ugandan heavyweight boxing champion from 1951 to 1960 - he attracted attention among his superiors.
Amin was one of only two Africans who received army commissions during colonial rule. He was notorious for brutality and torture during the suppression of the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya from 1952 to 1956, but he was rewarded with promotion rather than prosecution.
Amin was thus a member of the ruling elite that moved into positions of power when independence was declared, first as a crony of Obote, who made him chief of the army and air force, and then as his sworn rival.
Leaving his country in economic ruins, Amin first sought refuge with Moamer Kadhafi of Libya and then in Saudi Arabia, where he has lived ever since in luxury with several wives and some of his estimated 50 children among the oil sheikhs of Jeddah.
Amin's Ecomomic War Left Uganda On Crutches
The economic war that Idi Amin Dada started as a government policy, was one of the reasons that sparked off widespread international condemnation of the man who later earned himself the unenviable honour of the most brutal dictator on the African continent.
By the time the military took over power in Uganda in 1971, the gross domestic product had been rising at an average of 4.6%. The expulsion of the Asians in 1972 was the last nail in the coffin.
Already in 1969 Obote's government had declared the nationalisation of 60% of all the large foreign owned companies.
This mainly affected the British and American commercial interests. Indeed in the 1968/69 financial year, the GDP growth was an impressive 11%. By 1973 the GDP growth rate was negative 0.6%.
Surprisingly, at the time Amin took over power in the January 25, 1971 military coup, he was strongly supported by the United Kingdom, Israel and other powerful western states who described the 6ft 3-inch giant as an extremely likeable character. He was the right candidate to do business with.
He had replaced a highly controversial Milton Obote, who, together with other African statesmen, were determined to bring independence to Rhodesia and cause an end to apartheid in Southern Africa. Namibia, Angola and Mozambique were also not yet independent.
Britain was particularly uneasy about the constant attack by Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and Milton Obote of Uganda, the trio that led the vitriolic attack on Britain's support of Northern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.
It was thus a big sigh of relief when the 46 year -old commander of the army dethroned his master. Personality notes on Idi Amin Dada authoured by the British Embassy in Kampala in 1971, now available at the Public Records office in London, paint a positive picture of Amin.
"Popular and a natural leader of men, but simple and practically illiterate; a man of the people... An imposing presence, 6'3" in height; once a good heavyweight boxer and rugby player. As Head of State, has shown an engaging lack of formality and a disregard for his personal safety. Benevolent but tough. Well-disposed to Britain perhaps to an extent damaging to him in the African context. Speaks passable English. God fearing and deeply religious. A Muslim with four wives and seven children," read the notes.
These notes made a few months after the coup, prior to Amin's visit to Britain where he met none other than the Queen herself, were to prove an embarrassment to the British. Less than a year down the road, the head of state 'had a dream' while on a tour of the eastern region. In Tororo, he announced that he had been directed in a dream to rid Uganda of all Asians and foreigners, who were milking the economy with total disregard of the nationals of Uganda.
The 80,000 Asians mostly Indians and Pakistanis holding British passports were given 90 days to pack their bags and leave the country. It was the beginning of a nightmare for the Asians who left behind fortunes they had accumulated over generations.
When Amin took power, one of the first actions he took was the reduction of the government shares in the nationalised companies from 60% down to 49%. The exodus of the Asians who dominated the active commercial sector which drove the economy, sent shock waves through the national economy.
Britain, horrified by the action soon cut off aid as did, Israel who were also asked to leave the country. This was despite revealing declassified literature, now available that Israel was closely involved in supporting the coup that brought Amin to power.
One of the declarations of the economic war was a directive that all banking business including accounts of the government, companies and cooperative unions had to bank with Uganda Commercial Bank. The effect was the closure of all foreign-owned banks branches upcountry. Many of them ended up clustering in Kampala.
There was dancing and merrymaking in all the urban centres around the country as shops, factories and warehouses were handed over to nationals who applied. Soldiers and others, close to the seat of power allocated themselves a string of businesses.
"I have already warned that senior army officers, particularly provincial governors who have many businesses and houses will be dismissed at once from their services, so that they can go and do business. I have stressed that since the declaration of the economic war that no one should own more than one business.
It appears, however, that some army officers try to own a house in every town in Uganda. This is capitalism. They are spoiling Uganda's name," Amin told Drum magazine in a 1974 interview.
As the economic war progressed the nightmare extended to the ordinary people who were faced with scarcity of goods. Seemingly simple things like sugar, salt, soap, cooking oil, cloth and other everyday commodities were a preserve of the privileged few.
The GDP growth continued to post a negative with 1975 registering 2% and by 1979 it was 4.6 % . It jumped to 11.9% in 1980 mainly courtesy of the war of liberation. It is not easy to comprehend the performance of the economy as the economy literally went undeground, as black marketeering took over.
Production of sugar by 1972 was robust with the country assigned 15,075 metric tonnes to export to the European Economic Commission under the International Sugar Agreement. From a production level of 145,000 metric tonnes in 1971 the decline was by 83% by 1976 to stand at 24,650 metric tonnes.
There was a 22% decline in production of coffee by 1976, while tobacco registered a fall of 28%. However, the fall was dramatic in manufactured goods. Soap production was a mere 9% by 1978 of what it was in 1970. Cooking oil was 11% of 1970 production, while corrugated iron sheets stood at 7% of the 1970 year.
Cotton and other fabrics fell by 45 %, blankets by 86%, matches fell by 84%. A programme to try and revamp industrial production in 1977 to get back to the 1971 levels failed to take off as the machinery and equipment was too old and needed replacement.
Smuggling became the order of the day. Life in the villages turned primitive, as people had to make do with wild plants to substitute for soap and ash for salt. There was a roaring trade in crude salt from Kasese.
Those found guilty of hoarding were given weird deterrent punishments which included gobbling what they were found hoarding. It was common for the guilty to be ordered to eat up the salt they were found hoarding, beaten thoroughly and have the goods confiscated. There were stories of people being ordered to eat slippers, a punishment for appearing untidy in the city.
Amin believed that the people were far better off than before the economic war: "My aim is to revolutionalise Uganda and see that all Ugandans are very rich in future," he said.
However, it was only a few who made capital out of the misery of the majority. Thousands of people were killed on trumped up charges of attempts to topple the government. Sabotage was a common offence that could easily lead to one's death. Acts of sabotage included hoarding, smuggling, economic sabotage, corruption etc. These were all interpreted as attempts to make the government collapse.
As the vicious cycle of violence escalated, the top cream in government fled to exile. There was massive brain drain, but Amin downplayed any accusations of murder.
"We are a government of action. If we have evidence that an army officer is guilty of kidnapping and murder then he will face justice. There is no evidence to back up such serious allegations," said Amin.
Amin who was later declared life president and awarded a doctorate by Makerere University, is responsible for Uganda's economic crisis. Today, the nation is still struggling to climb out of the pit of economic decline.
Amin Can Still Be Tried - Govt
Former President Idi Amin could still be tried despite his failing health, the solicitor general has said.
Mr Lucien Tibaruha yesterday told The Monitor that Ugandan law does not exempt people from trial on account of poor health or old age.
"There is no law that says that if a person is sick then he can't be tried," Tibaruha said.
"The sickness of a person in the eyes of the public is not sickness in the eyes of the court.
It can only be the trial court to determine whether his [Amin] sickness prevents him from being charged on the basis of a medical report," he said.
Amin, who ruled Uganda between 1971 and 1979, is fighting for his life at a Saudi hospital.
Tibaruha alleged that Amin committed many crimes, which makes him a candidate to criminal prosecution.
Asked why the government has never tried to extradite Amin, Tibaruha said that Uganda does not have an extradition treaty with Saudi Arabia.
He said that Amin has also benefited from a reluctant international community, which did not set up an international tribunal like the ones now trying the former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic or Rwanda's genocide suspects.
He said that the International Court of Justice could charge Amin but that too depends on the host country.
Besides, the court only came into force on July 1, 2002.
Tibaruha said that only the Saudi government could determine Amin's fate.
A joint force of Uganda exiles and the Tanzanian army toppled Amin on April 11, 1979.
He first fled to Libya and Iraq, but moved to Saudi Arabia in December 1980.
Amin's family has asked the government to grant the former president's wish to return and "die from home".
The public generally wants Amin pardoned and his wishes to be granted, while President Yoweri Museveni has said that the former president would be arrested and charged the moment he returns to Uganda.
The president however granted that he would allow Amin's body to be brought back if the former president died in exile. Only that it would not be a state funeral.
I Love Amin, Says Nasur
Colonel Nasur Abdul Abdullah has challenged any Ugandan he forced to "eat slippers" to come out with evidence.
Nasur was the central province governor during Field Marshal Idi Amin Dada's eight-year rule from January 1971 to April 1979.
During a joint interview with The Monitor and the UK's Channel 4 Television on Thursday at his Bombo home, Nasur said that a lot of "lies" have been told about him.
The colonel was sentenced to death in 1980 for murder but was pardoned on September 11, 2001 by President Yoweri Museveni under the presidential prerogative of mercy.
He had been accused of murdering former Masaka mayor Alderman Francis Walugembe.
The colonel however insists on his innocence. He also said that he never made anyone in Kampala to eat what was then considered forbidden footwear.
"Let anyone who ate slippers on my orders come out. He should openly come with evidence. I never made anyone eat slippers. All these were lies to tarnish my name," Nasur said.
Nasur also strongly defended Amin, saying that the former president did a lot for Uganda.
"Amin started Uganda Airlines. He built Entebbe Airport, Nile Hotel and many other buildings. He even expelled Asians to empower Africans economically. Ugandans should be proud of him," the colonel said.
Amin is presently in a coma at a hospital in Jeddah where he was admitted on July 18.
Nasur first met Amin in Jinja in 1964. He was a fresh recruit while Amin was a battalion commander.
"He impressed me as a leader. He used to talk to me whenever he came for physical training. This was unique... for an officer to mix with recruits freely. I immediately saw leadership qualities in him," Nasur said.
When Channel 4 journalist Elizabeth Jones told him that Amin was brutal, even before becoming president, Nasur said: "But it was the British who made him an officer. They made him an officer on merit."
Asked to comment on the atrocities allegedly committed by Amin, and whether he should be forgiven, Nasur said: "A person is born with two angels. One records the good deeds and another misdeeds. So no one should blame Amin because we are not angels. It is the angels to decide."
Nasur said that he loves Amin and Museveni so much.
"Museveni saved me from the gallows while Amin did a lot for the country. I am not an opportunist. When you have children with a woman - even after divorce you might have love for her. There is no love in the present tense or past tense," he said.
Nasur said that if Amin were to die, his body should either be buried in Saudi Arabia or brought back.
He advised other Ugandan exiles to return home and help to rebuild their nation.
Bury Amin in Saudi Arabia, Says Mubajje
Muslim leaders want former President Id Amin buried in Saudi Arabia should he die there.
Mufti Shaban Mubajje, Makerere University Imam Ahmed Ssentongo and former Chief Kadhi Obed Kamulegeya told The Monitor in separate interviews yesterday that it is not Islamic to move bodies over long distances.
Reports from Saudi Arabia indicate that Amin is in "near-death" at a hospital in Jeddah.
"He is alive but remains in a near-death condition in a coma," a hospital source told Reuters news agency, adding that Amin was on a ventilator.
Doctors have given Amin, 80, the status of "do not resuscitate," Reuters reported. "This means that should he encounter further life threatening problems, resuscitation will not be attempted."
Mufti Mubajje dismissed reports that the Muslim leadership was organising to bury the former president at the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) headquarters at Old Kampala.
It was Amin who donated the Old Kampala land to Muslims during his reign (1971-1979).
Sources said that some members of the two UMSC top organs - General Assembly and Executive Committee - had proposed that Amin be honoured and buried at Old Kampala.
Both Mufti Mubajje and the Makerere imam cited a teaching of Prophet Muhammad, which recommends that three things must be hastened in Islam.
The three things are performing the daily prayers on time, hasten to bury dead people and hasten to marry off girls as soon as they attain puberty and there are people willing to take them.
Besides, the Muslim leaders said that the two holiest places in Islam - Mecca and Medina - are found in Saudi Arabia.
They argued that it would be better for Amin to be buried there than transporting his body back to Uganda.
Imam Ssentongo said that even if Amin were to return to Uganda when he is still alive, it would still be "un-Islamic" to bury him at the mosque compound.
He said that Muslims are discouraged from burying their dead at places of worship because the next generation might worship their graves.
He said that Amin is the most patriotic leader Uganda ever had, adding that the country might never produce his equal again.
Mufti Mubajje said that if he were to be in charge of Amin's family, he would have preferred to bury him in Saudi Arabia.
He said that due to the construction of buildings going on at Old Kampala there is even limited space for such arrangements.
Amin's health has been deteriorating since July 18. Amin is suffering from kidney, liver and respiratory failure.
"The last and probably fatal system failure would be cardiac arrest, after which there is effectively no hope," said a Reuters report quoting hospital sources.
Muslim Imam Advises On Amin
The chairman of the Uganda Muslim Youth Assembly, Imam Kasozi, has said that former President Idi Amin did a lot to develop the Muslim community and the country.
He appealed to Muslims to ignore allegations against Amin and advised them to appreciate the fact that everybody had his weaknesses.
He said that even those who killed Ugandans are now pointing fingers at Amin.
Kasozi was on Friday conducting Juma prayers at the Makerere University Mosque.
"Our attitude towards Amin must be different," he said.
He said that before Amin took power in 1971, there were less than 100 Muslim university graduates but that situation quickly improved.
Later after the Juma prayers, he conducted a short prayer for Amin.
Meanwhile, Kasozi also said that the Muslim community supports the death penalty. He told the congregation at the university mosque that the death penalty and corporal punishment are allowed in Islam.
"Islam says teach a child prayers if he fails to do so, cane him. For those who tell lies cane them," he said.
Several human rights activists are campaigning for the abolition of the death penalty.
Idi Amin's Son Meets Museveni
A son of deceased dictator Idi Amin, Mr Taban Amin, met President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday.
Mr Amin said he is ready to work under President Museveni for the good of Uganda.
He met President Museveni at State House, Nakasero, in Kampala.
The former dictator died of kidney failure in a Saudi Arabian hospital on July 17, where he had been living in exile.
According to a statement from the presidential press unit, the younger Amin returned from self- imposed exile in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan early this week.
President Museveni said there is no need for anyone to be in self-imposed exile at this stage of Uganda's development.
He assured Mr Amin that he is welcome because Uganda is his country.
Although the government did not hold any official recognition of Amin's death, the president moved to heal any wounds while meeting the younger Amin.
Mr Museveni said the struggle of the Movement government was against illegality of governance rather than personal matters.
He said the contribution of the Movement was aimed at making sure that Uganda reverted to constitutional rule.
He told Mr Amin that by 1995, the country had already got a new constitution. President Museveni promised to support Mr Amin "in any way possible". He added that Mr Amin's supporters, both in the DRC and the Sudan, would be assisted to relocate to Uganda.
Mr Amin, who at one time took over the Ugandan embassy in Kinshasa and was reportedly organizing a rebel group to attack Uganda, thanked Mr Museveni for his warm invitation and welcome at State House.
He advised the people of Uganda that there isn't much to gain by fighting, dividing and destroying the country.
Mr Amin said differences should be put aside in order to build a nation "that is a pride of future generations".