Former president Idi Amin made several public appearances in the last six months before his fall. This was from October 9, 1978, when the incident that sparked the war between Uganda and Tanzania happened and April 11, 1979, when Kampala fell to the Tanzanian and the Kikosi-Maalum forces.
Between January and March, Amin rarely appeared in public, but often appeared on Radio Uganda and television. Here are some of his memorable last appearances:
Independence motor rally
On October 8, 1978, Amin appeared in public at a sports function. On that day in Kampala, Amin, accompanied by his wife Sarah, flagged off the Uganda independence motor rally at City Square.
Amin also participated in the rally with his wife Sarah as the co-driver on the second leg which went to Busoga in eastern region. But when he reached Namagunga, he branched off to the school to visit his daughters before proceeding to Busoga.
Independence Day at Nakivubo
October 9, 1978, Amin presided over Uganda’s 16th independence anniversary celebrations. The occasion was hosted at Nakivubo Stadium in Kampala. He asked citizens to work hard in their various professions in order to build a modern Uganda. He also reminded his audience that they should always be patriotic.
Makerere University graduation
On October 10, 1978, Amin -- the chancellor of Makerere University -- was the chief guest at the graduation ceremony at the sole university in the country at the time. A total of 840 graduates received degrees and diplomas. During his speech, Amin said in 1971 when he first presided over the function as chancellor only five Ugandans graduated as medical doctors. Amin also called upon Ugandans to be patriotic.
Blood donation in Entebbe
October 18, 1978, Amin appeared at Botanical Gardens in Entebbe as chief guest at a blood donation drive. Having donated blood, Amin that day launched a nationwide campaign which was later popularised as “Operation donate blood” where he appealed to every healthy Ugandan to donate blood to save life.
Others who donated blood at the function were cabinet ministers, permanent secretaries, members of the armed forces, civil servants as well as foreign dignitaries.
Operation Kagera cerebrations
On November 3, 1978, after the Uganda Army blew off the Kagera Bridge at the Uganda-Tanzania border, Amin flew to the frontline to assess the situation and boost the morale of the soldiers.
On his way back, he addressed public gatherings in Mbarara and Masaka towns. When he reached Kampala, he attended Juma prayers at Nakasero Mosque and later made a city tour and visited Nakasero Market as well.
Earlier, he had visited soldiers who were injured at Mulago Hospital and Mbuya Military Hospital to comfort them.
Juma prayers at old Kampala mosque
On November 10, 1978, Amin attended Juma prayers at the old Kampala mosque. During the prayers, he announced that the next year’s Idd al Adhuha prayers would be conducted at the national mosque at the headquarters of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council in Old Kampala to the excitement of the worshippers. The mosque was still under construction.
Meeting locals in Ntungamo
On December 24 to 26, 1978, Amin toured his home area of West Nile. Before that, he had visited the troops at the frontline near the Tanzania-Uganda border, now Isingiro District. While there, he addressed public rallies at Kaberebere in Birere Sub-county, then Isingiro County in East Ankole District.
On the same day, he addressed another rally at Ruhaama County, now Ntungamo District. He was accompanied by the brigade commander of the Western Command Brigadier, Yorokamu Tizihwayo and commanding officer of the Mountain of the Moon Regiment, Lt Col Francis Itabuka.