Big Daddy and his women - Daily Monitor

Big Daddy and his women

Wednesday August 20 2003

"The story of Amin and his women is one that turns bizarre, comic and brutal."

That is how Henry Kyemba begins a chapter in his book, The State of Blood. In the book, which he wrote from exile in London in 1977, Kyemba talks of the field Marshal's five wives and the thirty mistresses and the thirty-four children he had with them.

But like anything else involving Uganda's self-declared life president, the story of Amin's women is not without controversy and horror.

One of his wives died in the most mysterious circumstances, with some fingers still pointing at Amin.

Malyamu

Amin's first wife was Malyamu, a sister of former foreign minister Wanume Kibedi. Kyemba describes Malyamu as a "statuesque six-footer.... And physically a match for the powerful young boxing champion."

Malyamu was reportedly self-possessed, proud and mature, even in her early 20s, when Amin first courted her in the early 1950s.

Amin at that time a 28 year-old sergeant in the King's African Rifles, was not an attractive son in law for the Kibedi family. But like a teenager madly in love, Malyamu risked her family's disapproval and went ahead to live with him.

The Kakwa soldier did not formally marry Malyamu until 1966 and by then had "several children" with her.

He reportedly paid bride price to the Kibedi family and the marriage was thus formalised.

Kay Adroa

A beautiful, intelligent Makerere University student and daughter of a clergyman, Kay was Amin's second wife. He started seeing her even before he formalised his relationship with Malyamu.

According to Kyemba, who attended the reception of Amin's civil marriage to Adroa in Arua, she was a dignified, quiet and self-possessed girl.

For her wedding, she turned out in a white bridal gown and Amin in a full army uniform, with Erinayo Oryema as the best man.

Kyemba reveals that the romance between Amin and Kay had blossomed shortly before when, in February 1966, Parliament implicated Amin over allegations of stealing gold from Congo. Amin responded to the allegations by going into hiding with Kay.

Nora

Barely a year later, Amin was acquiring his third wife.

By this time, Amin had risen to national stature and this marriage was awash with political innuendo.

Obote had become suspicious of his Kakwa hitman's intentions. Nora was from Obote's tribe, the Langi, and the marriage was a political statement to the effect that Amin had no hostile intentions toward Obote.

Madina

Madina was a dancer with the Heart of Africa troupe. By her own admission, it was during a concert when Amin spotted her dancing and requested to have a word with her. Kyemba narrates that Amin noticed Madina from the first days of the coup in January 1971.

Writes Kyemba: "Indeed it would have been impossible not to notice her. Madina was, quite simply, stunning. Although she has now put on a few pounds, she had a figure then that was dramatically sexy by any standards...She was slim-hipped, with well-formed breasts and was a ferociously agile dancer."

One time, on a trip to Moyo, Amin undressed in the presence of Kyemba and jumped into his bed. As Kyemba walked out, a bodyguard ushered Madina into the room.Interestingly, although Madina was such hot property, Amin enjoyed teasing his ministers saying that they could take Madina if they wanted. One minister who tried was later transferred to another ministry and eventually dismissed.

In September 1972, as Obote made a daring raid from Tanzania, Amin announced his marriage to Madina. He unwittingly said the Baganda had offered Madina to him for all he had done for them since the take over.

Later, Amin served three of his wives - Malyamu, Nora and Kay - with letters of divorce. He accused Malyamu and Nora of being involved in business while Kay was dismissed ostensibly because she was a cousin of his.

However Kyemba reveals that Amin's womanising had not allowed him enough time with his first three wives. Left to themselves, the wives had acquired lovers. On the eve of their dismissal, the women held a joint party for their lovers and told Amin off - they told him to stay with his Madina.

They faced a difficult time outside Amin's household. Malyamu was arrested in Tororo, had her car was rammed into by Amin's bodyguards and she was hospitalised. Idi Amin insulted her on her hospital bed before she fled to London and Amin had the shop he had given her upon the expulsion of Asians shop looted bare.

Kay is suspected to have died as her lover Mbalu Mukasa attempted a surgical abortion. Her body was however mysteriously dismembered although Amin showed neither surprise nor contrition at her death. Instead he had her young children aged between four and eight brought before the body and shouted at them, telling them how bad their mother was. Nora, the Langi, simply continued running the business for which she was divorced and Amin made no attempt to disgrace her.

Sarah

Sarah Kyolaba, was a dancer in the jazz band of the Masaka-based Mechanised Unit when Amin became interested in her. She was barely 18 and was living with a young man.

Kyemba says that around Christmas Day of 1974, Sarah delivered a baby at Namirembe (Mengo) Hospital but Amin had her transferred to Mulago's VIP ward. On the orders of Amin, Kyemba issued a statement that a baby had been born to the President. The name of the mother was not mentioned. Amin then had Sarah returned to her boyfriend's house but she would be regularly driven to Amin's residence on the field marshal's orders.

Later, around April 1975,Sarah's boyfriend, who was the father of the child, refused her to be taken to Amin for pleasure. He vanished and was never heard of again.

Writes Kyemba: "Sarah was brought to Kampala. She of course knew perfectly well Amin had killed her lover but there was nothing she could do about it."

Amin married Sarah during the OAU summit in August 1975 and held two successive receptions because of what he called "public demand". But he was later to be perturbed by Sarah's failure to bear him a child.

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