Amin: Showy man-about-town and father of 60 children

Praised. His children describe Idi Amin (left) as a family man who lavished love on his children. FILE PHOTO

What you need to know:

  • Family. April 11, this year, marked 40 years since a combined force of Tanzanian military and Ugandan exiles ousted president Idi Amin Dada. He fled, first to Libya, and onward to Saudi Arabia where he died on August 16, 2003. In this 12th instalment of our series, Idi Amin: A Polarising Legacy, Franklin Draku takes a look at Amin’s family tree.

It is 40 years since former president Idi Amin Dada was overthrown by a combined force of Tanzania soldiers and Ugandan exiles on April 11, 1979.
But eight eventful years of Amin at the helm of State power still invoke fresh memories, prominent among them being the public glimpses into the private life of Amin, a flamboyant man-about-town, who sired more than half a century kids, with different wives.
But not much is unwrapped about the exact number of his children. While official figures put the number at between 42 and 45, family members say they number nearly 60 children.

A quarter of these children are thought to be living in Uganda, while majority live abroad, mostly in the United Kingdom (UK), France and Canada.
Mr Jafar Amin Remo, the 10th child of Amin, describes his late dad as a family man who lavished love on his children and catered to their happiness.
Born of different mothers simultaneously, Jafar says many of his siblings would be within same age bracket and their father would lull them to sleep with lullabies.

“My father was a family man who loved singing lullaby to the children. He had a handful of children of closer age bracket and would sing traditional lullaby to them whenever they were crying, and gently rock them to silence,” Mr Jafar recalls.
“He would also teach us how to swim. What he did was he would just get you and throw you into the swimming pool and would dive to rescue you as you swim,” he adds.

The family
Amin is said to have married at least six women, three of whom he divorced. He married his first and second wives, Malyamu and Kay, in 1966.
In 1967, he married another –Nora, and again Nalongo Madina in 1972.
But the unpredictable man he was, Amin made a public announcement on Radio Uganda on March 26, 1974, that he had divorced Malyamu, Nora, and Kay after they reportedly threw a party without showy man’s knowledge.
A few years after, Malyamu was arrested in Tororo on the Uganda-Kenyan border in April 1974 and accused of attempting to smuggle rolls of fabric into Kenya.

Several accounts say Kay Amin died under mysterious circumstances in 1974, with her body found dismembered. Nora fled to Zaire in 1979; her current whereabouts are unknown.
But Amin, a man devoted to the pursuit of pleasure, In July 1975, staged a £2 million (about Shs9.7b) wedding to 19-year-old Sarah Kyolaba, a go-go dancer with the military Revolutionary Suicide Mechanised Regiment Band. His wife was to be nicknamed Suicide Sarah.

The wedding was held during the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit meeting in Kampala, and the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), Yasser Arafat served as Amin’s best man. The couple had four children, and enjoyed rally race, driving Amin’s Citroën SM, with Sarah as navigator.
Sarah was to become a hairdresser and restaurateur in Tottenham in the UK and died there in 2015.
In exile in Saudi Arabia, latest available record in 1993 showed Amin was living with the last nine of his children and wife, Mama Chumaru, the mother of the youngest four of his children. His last known child, daughter Iman, was born in 1992.

Sources say Amin married one more wife a few months before his death in 2003.
Overall, there’s no definitive figure of the number of children Amin fathered; with most sources saying he had 30 to 45. But Jaffar says his father loved family live so much that he would devout all his free time to them, teaching them family values and how to swim.
But Amin in his Will listed up to 46 children, although Jaffar maintains they are a total of 60 children, most of them staying abroad.
“We are only 15 children staying in the country and the rest are living outside in Canada, France, the UK, Australia, and other parts of the world,” Jaffar says.

Taban Amin
Taban Amin is the eldest son of Idi Amin. Born in 1955, he together with his sister Maimuna Amin are the administrators of Amin’s estates. Until 2003, Taban was the leader of West Nile Bank Front (WNBF), a rebel group opposed to the government of President Museveni.
In 2005, he was offered amnesty by Museveni, and in 2006, he was appointed deputy director General of Internal Security Organisation (ISO), a position he still holds to date.
Another of Amin’s sons, Ali Amin, ran for election as chairman of Njeru Town Council in 2002 but was unsuccessful.

On August 3, 2007, Amin’s son (with Sarah), Faisal Wangita (born in 1981), was convicted for playing a role in a murder in London.
Moses Amin, whom many people claimed he had been eaten by his own dad Amin, to date is still alive, dispelling the lies that Amin was a cannibal.

Some of Amin’s children
Taban Amin, son
Moses Amin, son
Jaffar Amin, son
Khadija Abria Amin, daughter
Mwanga Amin, son
Faisal Wangita, son
Ali Amin, son
Iman Aminu, daughter
Wasswa Amin, son
Kato Amin, son
Maimuna Amin, daughter
Hussein Lumumba Amin, son
Ali Amin, son
Salama S. Anite, daughter (RIP)
Mariam, daughter
Faridah, daughter