History: Uganda Railways Corporation & Amin’s Economic War

One of the original diesel trains purchased by President Idi Amin's government in 1976 to start Uganda Railways Corporation.

By: Hussein Lumumba Amin 

When President Idi Amin first created Uganda Railways Corporation, cialis 40mg it was out of sheer necessity. This was after Kenya unilaterally snatched all East African Community (EAC) assets including the Railways and Airplanes.

At the time, mind Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania were the East African Community and shared all the community’s companies. The EAC was premeditatedly dismantled in 1976, and the secret planning for that collapse was done in Kenya months in advance when they secretely started hoarding every EAC transport assets that arrived in Kenya, and then blocking them from travelling to both Uganda and Tanzania. And though they then hurriedly turned around and blamed President Idi Amin, the reality spoke for itself.

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All the East African Community assets were somehow mysteriously in Kenya. Uganda being land-locked, the country literally had no other alternative but to start its own national airline and railway service for both merchandize and passengers.

Contrary to what some may think, the decision wasn’t easy. Anyone in Amin’s shoes would have woken up one morning to realize the daunting situation brought on Uganda by Kenya. No air passenger service, and worse still, no trains to transport Uganda’s imports and exports between Mombasa port and Uganda.

Mombasa being our only route to the sea, and the railway being the main transport for our products, the collapse was going to be catastrophic for the country’s economy. One could compare it to criminal intent to suffocate Uganda.

We were the one country that made the most losses from the break up. Surprisingly, after engaging in such total economic sabotage against Uganda, they then also claimed that President Idi Amin was failing the country’s ecomomy.

Egypt for example, is ready to wage war with anyone who blocks the flow of the river Nile that they totally depend on for agricultural production and human consumption.

In 1976, Uganda almost went to war with Kenya on the breakup of the EAC as Kenya also started blocking Ugandan imports and exports at Mombasa port.

It is quite astounding that political commentators, historians and learned economists have failed to see or depict the gravity of Kenya’s actions to Uganda’s economy. The simple reason being that in reality Amin was the victim here, and that didn’t go well with the politics and propaganda against him.

Kenya’s behaviour is therefore rarely mentioned in any historical record about the breaking of the East African Community. That is how politics took over from reality and embarked on re-writing history for the last 37 years.

It not only helped the anti-Amin gang of so-called Ugandan liberators try and legitimize themselves, it also started creating a false reality. And when today people discover what actually happened back then, most realize the mass stupidity created since the 1970’s.

Idi Amin was forced to take a difficult, costly, and pragmatic decision for the sake of Uganda’s economy given the serious repercussions from the EAC break-up. It was an extremely difficult birth that brought forth Uganda Railways and Uganda Airlines. It is quite amazing that young Kenyans today believe President Idi Amin to be the one responsible for the EAC break-up, while their corrupt politicians who instigated the whole saga at the time are mysteriously silent.

Rather than focus on the despicable blame game, Amin moved decisively and resolutely to start Uganda’s own transport companies. He literally had no other choice but to do so. Today the local media is reporting how Uganda’s own politicians might have also unscrupulously sold the companies prime land that once housed its workers.

The land is now in the hands of unknown entities who haven’t even paid for it ever since they signed the transaction almost six years ago. These are the very people struggling to claim that Idi Amin built nothing for this country.

The railway line between Nairobi and Kisumu near the Kenya-Uganda border has also been closed since 2012. This is total lack of strategic foresight and complete negligence by todays Ugandans to let such a critical service to the country’s economy rot away.

What has Uganda Railways been doing since then given that the bulk of their business income was from transporting export and import goods between Mombasa port in Kenya and the Ugandan capital Kampala?

Meanwhile, during those tough times, as Tanzania went for socialism, and Uganda decided to join the non-aligned movement, Kenya was the East African country that literally remained kissing the colonial masters feet during the 70’s and consistently heeded to their every request to fail Uganda economically.

No wonder the first mocking movie about Idi Amin was funded by Britain and made in Kenya, with the Kenyan actor recently passing away a poor street beggar hawking CD’s of the movie to anyone who felt sorry for him.

It is only when they were wanted by the ICC recently that many were surprised to hear Kenya start spitting fire profusely against neo-colonialism and foreign interference.

Here is a quick break down of who took what from East Africa Railways when the community disolved.

1) Kenya had grabbed 75% of all locomotives that were jointly owned.

2) Kenya had grabbed 13,000 assorted wagons of the total 20,000 operational wagons fleet.

3) Tanzania had taken the rest of the 25% of the Locomotives left

4) Tanzania had taken 7,000 of the total operational wagon fleet

5) Uganda inherited no operational Locomotive.

6) Uganda inherited 300 scrapped wagons.

(Victor Umbrich mediation Report) The writing of history has been relentlessly malicious against Idi Amin since 1979. One will find no mention of the person who ordered the creation of the company by presidential decree.

There is also no mention of the difficult circumstances Uganda went through that forced Idi Amin to create the company and boost Uganda’s economy. And if you visit the company workshop in Kampala today, they have actually removed the foundation stone laid by His Excellency Field Marshal President Idi Amin when he launched Uganda Railways Corporation in 1977.


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