Uganda marks Idi Amin Overthrow

by Prof. Wolfgang Thome

April 11, 1979 saw the eventual overthrow of Uganda's most notorious dictator Idi Amin Dada take place, when Tanzanian troops and Ugandan exile forces, amongst them President Museveni, took Kampala and forced the remaining troops of Amin out of the capital city. Amin has passed on but remains strongly identified with Uganda like a lingering cloud, owing to his notoriety for gruesome crimes committed against Uganda's citizens and his support for Palestinian terrorists who held a planeload of passengers hostage at Entebbe International Airport (before a successful rescue mission by Israeli commandos). Amin's regime was then eventually replaced with an almost equally dictatorial second term of the very Milton Obote whom Amin had overthrown, after the rigged and stolen elections of 1981. It was this event which made current President Museveni take to the bush to start a 5 year liberation war, which ended in defeat for the last of Uganda's dictators and has since allowed for the emergence of a vibrant democracy and brought economic progress and development to the country.

Oscar winning film 'The last King of Scotland' was filmed on location in Uganda about the cruel and despotic aspects of life under Amin and drew much attention to the 'new Uganda' as an investment and tourism destination. Photo: Oscar winning actor Forest Whitaker in Kampala during the filming with Mrs. Thome, who also acted in the film as an extra.


About Uganda

I am Uganda, gifted by nature; a land painted in 1,001 shades of green, a friendly land whose balmy temperatures are matched only by the warmth and hospitality of its people. While I straddle the equator, thanks to an average altitude of 4,000 ft. above sea level, instead of blistering days and hot steamy nights, you'll enjoy an amazingly mild and pleasant climate all year round. In fact, I am one of only three countries in the world that is located on the equator and has similar geographic conditions with respect to altitude. One can enjoy my endless attractions and activities without wearing a jacket or sweater, even in the mid December.

LocationMy borders are shared with Sudan on the north, Congo on the west, Tanzania and Rwanda on the south and Kenya on the east. Immediately south is Lake Victoria, world's second largest fresh water lake- and a phenomenal asset for tourism growth. It's waters teem with fish; its shoreline and islands are a paradise of wildlife, with an abundance of boating, water sports and cruise possibilities. This immense waterway is the major source of the Nile, world's longest river. From Uganda, the Nile flows north via Sudan and Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea. My history as a tourism destination goes back over a century, being one of the first popular destinations on the African continent. Speaking of my diverse people and varied cultures, who else could have performed such a miracle in the past decade. Through their faith, dedication and perseverance, I have become an example of progress, and a showcase for all of Africa. What do today's visitors' have to say about me?

Personal ExperiencesAccording to Muguette Goufrani, who made a return visit after several decades,"So many highlights marked our month long stay in Uganda, one hardly knows where to begin. The Kampala portion had its own high spots, such as our flight by army helicopter to President Museveni's ranch followed by dinner at the State House. Some say that Museveni knows every one of his several hundred Ankole long-horned cows by name. I wouldn't doubt it for a minute. At the Skal 10th Anniversary gala, we shared a table with the newly formed ATA Uganda Chapter and met many of the country's active and growing travel-tourism fraternity. The event was held in a huge tent on the lush grounds of the Serena Kampala Hotel, headquarters for the ATA 8th Cultural and Ecotourism Symposium, which proved to be one of the most rewarding events hosted by ATA in recent years.

Getting ThereMany friends asked about the long haul from Western Canada? Our flight via American Airlines and SN Brussels Airlines says a lot for their new alliance, which allows access to the heart of Africa from over 30 U.S. locations alone. We boarded at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) on Canada's Pacific Coast and had one of the most perfect, seamless trips ever, even though we touched down in Dallas and Chicago en route to Brussels. U.S. customs was cleared in Vancouver, and our luggage was checked through all the way to Entebbe, a further convenience, especially when we were carrying a precious supply of Africa Travel magazines just off the press."

Uganda is home of Entebbe International Airport, a hub of commerce and activity in East and Central Africa thanks to its adjacency to other strategic gateways on East Africa's Air Highway.


More information available on www.africa-ata.org/uganda.htm