Much as Idi Amin Dada, former president of Uganda (from 1971 and 1979) left a lot of pains in the hearts of many people, there are some positive achievements attributed to his rule. Whether good or bad, Amin’s rule is one of the moments Ugandans will never rub from history books and it’s for this reason that the Uganda Tourism Board is working on the plan of building a War Museum to display the good, bad and ugly side of his rule. When you visit the Uganda National Museum, you will find Amin’s old vehicle among other things but another site you should not miss to explore is his Presidential lodge.
In addition to the obvious Pakuba Safari Lodge, his presidential Lodge was nestled on top of Lututuru Hill, within Agoro sub-county at approximately 35 kilometers from Lamwo Town Council in Lamwo district. The State Lodge was constructed on the hill in 1975, but this hill also used to be a Rest Camp for the British during the Second World War in 1945.
However, what used to be Presidential Lodge now stands in ruins with only walls (on both sides) of around 5 meters apart and now used by the local residents for drying grains on the open floor. Much as the roots of this Hill are to a great extent set in Uganda’s history and past, the verdant vegetation covering the hill generally threaten to completely hide if from the public and history books.
Even when it has been abandoned, Lututuru Hill hold a significant educational value, hence the reason it needs government intervention in terms of preservation and documentation for tourists to visit as well as future generations. The Hill is currently occupied by over 500 people scattered across 10 villages, and is now popular for its cool climate and fertile soils that favor agriculture. Majority of the food crops at the site are cultivated by prisoners from Lututuru Prison found on top of the Hill.
Besides the building itself, there are some features that hold historical value and one of them is the three cemented seats (outside the Lodge) where President Amin once sat while presiding over a meeting with several government officials including Moses Ali (then Finance Minister and now first Deputy Prime Minister) and Ali Fadur (then Governor of the Northern region).
It is also during one of the meetings outside the Presidential Lodge that Amin received reports that Dr. Apollo Milton Obote was planning to attack the country while in exile in the neighboring Tanzania. What used to be a spectacular Lodge now remains as a dilapidated building that was used as a hiding place for LRA Rebels (under Joseph Kony).
Therefore in the bid of promoting dark tourism including the construction of the Idi Amin Museum, there is need to document some of the historical sites used by one of Uganda’s former dictators and one of them is the Presidential Lodge on Lututuru Hill in Lamwo district.