Idi Amin

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Sometimes people mistake the way I talk for what I am thinking.

Idi Amin Dada (May 17, 1925August 16, 2003) was a Ugandan military officer and the President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979.


  • Sometimes people mistake the way I talk for what I am thinking. I never had any formal education—not even a nursery school certificate. But sometimes I know more than Ph.D.s because as a military man I know how to act. I am a man of action.
    • Appears in Barbet Schroeder (1974), General Idi Amin Dada: A Self Portrait.
  • Politics is like boxing — you try to knock out your opponents.
    • Interview, African summit talks, Angola, January 1976. Reported p.A8, Palm Beach Post, January 12, 1976.


  • My mission is to lead the country out of a bad situation of corruption, depression and slavery. After I rid the country of these vices, I will then organize and supervise a general election of a genuinely democratic civilian government.
    • Quoted in Uganda, the Human Rights Situation (1978), by United States Congress. Senate, p. 13 - Civil rights - 1978.
  • 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 Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular.
    • His full, formal title, which he conferred upon himself. Quoted in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience (1999) by Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates
  • You cannot run faster than a bullet.
    • Quoted in The Mammoth Book of Zingers, Quips, and One-Liners (2004) by Geoff Tibballs, p. 51.
  • Although some people felt Adolf Hitler was bad, he was a great man and a real conqueror whose name would never be forgotten.
    • Quoted in The Evil 100 (2004) by Martin Gilman Wolcott, p. 78.
  • In any country there must be people who have to die. They are the sacrifices any nation has to make to achieve law and order.
    • Quoted in Morrow's International Dictionary of Contemporary Quotations, 1982, Jonathon Green.
  • I am the hero of Africa.
    • Quoted in Simpson's Contemporary Quotations, by James Beasley Simpson, p. 1.
  • Hitler and all German people knew that the Israelis are not people who are working in the interest of the people of the world and that is why they burnt over six million Jews alive on the soil of Germany. The world should remember that the palestinians, with the assitance of Germany made the operation possible in the Olympic village.
    • Telegram sent to Kurt Waldheim in 1972 after the Munich massacre.

About Idi Amin

  • Amin is a splendid man by any standards and is held in great respect and affection by his British colleagues. … He is tough and fearless and in the judgment of everybody … completely reliable. Against this he is not very bright and will probably find difficulty in dealing with the administrative side of command.
    • OG Griffith, 1969 despatch on Amin's promotion to major, released by Public Record Office. Amin hailed as splendid, but not very bright, June 23, 2000, Richard Norton Taylor, The Guardian.
  • Idi Amin is a splendid type and a good [rugby] player … but virtually bone from the neck up, and needs things explained in words of one letter.
    • Document from Public Record Office quoting "a British official"; cited variously in obituaries including Prayers but no forgiveness for Idi Amin, August 18, 2003, Anton La Guardia, Daily Telegraph.
  • Racist, erratic and unpredictable, brutal, inept, bellicose, irrational, ridiculous, and militaristic.
    • About Amin's regime. Telegram 1 From the Embassy in Uganda to the Department of State, January 2, 1973, 0700Z, U.S. Ambassador Thomas Patrick Melady. US Department of State.
  • He is killer and clown, big-hearted buffoon and strutting martinet.
    • Uganda. Amin:The Wild Man of Africa, March 07, 1977, Time magazine.
  • Field Marshall Idi Amin became president of Uganda in 1971. To the rest of the world he was a showman his extravegance was exceeded by his talent for comic buffonery. But behind the grinning face was a calculating monster who brought about a tragedy of monumental proportions. He slaughtered thousands of innocent Ugandans in a campaign of ethnic cleansing and executed his enemies live on television. He mutilated his wife and murdered his ministers keeping their heads in his fridge as a warning to others. He ordered his secret police to torture and kill while Amin kept the pictures for his own sick amusement. By the end of his reign over 300,000 people, one in 60 in the population, had been murdered by Amin. He had turned the prosperous country of Uganda into a disease ridden backwater it's river's choked with the corpses of his victims.
    • Introduction to a Discovery Channel documentary about Idi Amin.

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