There is no official biography on Idi Amin’s early life. His birth date is somewhat obscure but, its widely recognized as being 1925 and his birth place was Koboko, Uganda. He did not have much of a formal education and he worked odd jobs in his younger days. It is said that his large size and demeanor caught the eye of British Army officer who thought he would be a perfect fit for the Kings African Rifle KAR of the British Colonial Army. In 1946 he started as a cooking assistant and quickly rose through the ranks. He claims that he fought in WWII before he initially joined the KAR but, that is highly debated.
Service in the Military
The first action he saw was Somalia in 1949 against the hifta rebels. Idi was notable for his eagerness and effectiveness during the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya (1952-56). For this in 1959 he ascended to Effendi, the highest rank that could be attained in the KAR. In addition, in 1966 he attained the position of commander of the armed forces. By then he had cozied up to Milton Obote, Ugandas first prime minister after gained independence from Britain. The pair both grew the Ugandan army but, eventually there was conflict between Idi Amin and Milton Obote. On January 25, 1971 Amin staged a coupe that saw Obote ousted from power. In 1976 he declared himself as lifetime president.
Once in power his brutality came to light when he started executing tribes loyal to former prime minister Obote. He also started terrorizing the general public and crushing any dissident. In 1972 he targeted the Asian community and ordered their expulsion from the country. They had 90 days to leave or face imprisonment. Another high profile incident that occurred during Idi Amin’s rule is the hijacked Air France flight from Israel to Paris, France in 1976. Amin invited the hijackers to land in Entebbe Airport but, eventually Israeli commandos were able to raid and rescue the hostages which Amin saw as humiliation to him.
The Downfall of Idi Amin
Over the years support from within his government started to diminish. Many of his high ranking personnel defected to neighboring Tanzania. Amin saw that as provocation by the then leader of Tanzania. Amin mobilized the Ugandan forces to annex Tanzanian territory but, Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere was able to successfully repel the Ugandan army. They were even able to reach the capital Kampala, Uganda. On April 11, 1979 after sensing defeat Idi Amin fled the country to Libya where he was welcomed by Muammar Gaddafi. After a falling out with Gaddafi he took refuge in Saudi Arabia. Some say that one of the conditions that the Saudis placed on him was to stay out of politics, and the limelight. In 2003 he eventually fell into a comma and his family decided to take him off life support and eventually died leaving behind and image of a brutal dictator.
This Idi Amin album contains two coins and a banknote that from the reign of Idi Amin, 1966 to 1975. The two coins are in mint condition and the banknote is in uncirculated condition. The banknote is a 5 shilling note. It features Idi Amin in front and a woman picking coffee beans at the back. The note also has dimensions of 130 mm x 70 mm. The Idi Amin album comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from the American Numismatic Association.