There is something amusing about one of the last titles Idi Amin Dada bestowed upon himself before he was deposed as the President of Uganda. To the West it was probably one of the strongest indication that this leader who they initially championed and tacitly helped to establish as the ruler of Uganda after Obote was losing his marbles, but to me and I suspect some Africans, his many title provoked a chuckle.
Without a doubt Idi Amin was a ruthless and eccentric dictator. However the shear effrontery of his declaration to be the King of Scotland and the Conqueror of the British Empire (CBE); the manner in which he told it to the world without batting an eyelid, or cracking the slightest of smiles, revealed a cheeky sense of humour lurking behind his ever-glowering facade.
Is it not the mark of a true comedian, to be able to tell the funniest of jokes with the most serious of faces? Mad dictators can be funny too. I am sure people close to the Shikais, the Saddam Husseins and Ceausescus of this world will have plenty of hilarious anecdotes about such men. That does not make them any less evil. Idi Amin Dada was no exception.
Amin seized power in a military coup in January 1971, deposing Milton Obote. He ruled Uganda until 1979. His rule was characterized by political repression and human rights abuse and corruption.
After Great Britain broke off all diplomatic relations with his regime in 1977, Amin did not just declared that he had defeated his erstwhile colonial masters and conferred on himself the decoration of CBE, his full self-bestowed title became His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular.’
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