WikiLeaks – East Africa in the 1970s: how the tensions running high between the nations ,disbanding EAC, and US involvment.
Here is brief WikiLeaks on the rich history of the 70’s in East Africa. The interesting times and political play of an era which is now gone. What we can learn by this, is how to deal with tension between nations and also what values we should seek. Read this and hopefully you will be a bit more enlighten on some history which happened not too long ago.
Short historical pretense to the Uganda-Kenya-Tanzania tensions of the 70s:
“Kenyan press accused Ugandan soldiers of murdering and chasing off railway officials in February, 1973. Uganda claimed that it was planned by former Ugandan president, Obote and his supporters” (…)”President Amin of Uganda placed his military on alert for an invasion of British forces from Kenya as tensions grew concerning the death sentence of British journalist, Denis Hills who criticized Amin. On June 25, 1975, Amin accused Britain of sending two warships with soldiers to Kenya in preparation for an invasion. The British government called the deployment a routine visit. On July 1, 1975, Amin announced that he would grant Hills a pardon” (…)”President Kenyatta of Kenya threatened war with Uganda in February, 1976 over a border dispute” (…)”President Amin of Uganda withdrew his claims on the disputed area on Febraury 27, 1976, but tensions continued. Kenya protested the killing of a Kenyan student in Uganda on March 12, 1976” (…)”Israeli troops rescued some 100 hostages at Entebbe airport in Uganda on July 3-4, 1976, and Israeli military aircraft used in the rescue mission landed in Nairobi, Kenya for refueling before returning to Israel. President Idi Amin of Uganda accused Kenya of collaborating with Israel on July 4, 1976. Some 3,000 Kenyans fled from Uganda on July 5-15, 1976. On July 8, Kenya demanded that Uganda pay for all goods being shipped through Kenya because of the debt Uganda owed it. On July 9, Kenya restricted Uganda’s access by rail to the Indian Ocean. The Kenyan government reported on the tenth of July that 245 Kenyan citizens had been killed in Uganda” (…)”On July 16, 1976, Kenyan truck and railway workers refused to enter Uganda. Uganda promised not to invade Kenya on July 21. Uganda cut electricity supplies to Kenya on July 24. Kenya severed the supply of oil to Uganda on July 25, 1976, and President Amin retaliated by threatening to go to war with Kenya. Uganda agreed to hold negotiations with Kenya on July 30, 1976” (…)”President Amin of Uganda and President Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya signed an agreement in Nairobi on August 7, 1976, which provided for the withdrawal of troops from the border region. Kenya resumed the supply of oil to Uganda on August 11, 1976. This ended the series of conflicts that make up” (…)”Kenya and Uganda agreed to resume diplomatic relations on February 10, 1978. Kenya closed its border with Uganda in April, 1979 to stop the inflow of fleeing Ugandan soldiers fleeing from the invasion of Tanzania” (Dingu.sbs.arizona.edu)
This was the short history of the exiting times in East Africa. Here is what I found from the releases of documents on Wikileaks:
In May 1973 Kampala Uganda, the elite or prominent people resigned their post. Professor and Dean in Political Science, Ali Mazrui is specialized in the fields of Europe and American politics. Since the coup of 1971 he has given lectures that are pro-Amin, still with the repression of the elite has changed his views (Wikileaks, 1973). The reason why Ali Mazrui was turned against Idi Amin was the way he repressed the Acholi, the Langi, the Asians and the murders of Bendicto Kiwanuka and Vice-Chancellor Frank Kalimuzo of Makerere (Binghampton, 2011).
Ambassador Barigye resigned on the 3rd of May 1973. Julius Nyerere granted him political asylum in Tanzania. His travel paper told another story that he ended in Lusaka, because the work opportunity is supposed to be better there (WikiLeaks, 1973).
Certain diaspora in Tanzania:
Obote is reported to be in Tanzania, also with terminated cabinet ministers. Idi Amin has put new people who have to act in their position, leaving the other one to end their former minsters posts (WikiLeaks, 1973).
4th of May General Amin appointed soldiers to be Saza and Gambola Cheifs. Their training started on 7th of May which now has turned into 3 or 4 weeks. Amin told them: “When he completes reorganization and everything is seen (to be) working well, he will give six months or one year for people to prepare for general elections” (WikiLeaks, 1973).
Tentative coup plans of 1973:
The ones that were supporting this operation were the Tanzania, China and also possible USA to assist the coup in Uganda. Ugandan leaders supporting this were Ali Mazuri and Major Okoth. Richard Ojok was delivering a plan at the embassy at the 21th August (WikiLeaks, 1973). Ojok has organized a group called UNQTE. Ali Mazuri is a part of this outfit. Major Ojok has met Nyerere to get Tanzanian assistance for the coup. Chinese Millitary Attache Cho En Tieng was present and offered financial assistance. The Chinese also offered Army personnel, but Ojok was afraid that if the coup succeeded the Chinese would be tied to power. The plan for the plot was to let the army men travel in civilian at 5th of October on an East African Airlines. Mazuri has discussed the matter to a African American Arms dealer Julian Hilbert. Hilbert assistance will come if they get enough funding. Major Ojok has been into Uganda and knows that they have 200 well trained military men, with a unit of 400 Libyan troops and 21 Mirage Jet Fighters. On his assassination list is the Commander of the Simba Mechanized Regiment at Mbabara: Lt. Col. Maliyamungu. They fear him because he has control of the tank division. So UNQTE feel they need to get tanks and are trying to get funds to complete this. Former Minister Kibedi is offering a position to those who are supporting funds. Ojok is not planning to have the coup when Amin is departed trip to Algeria for a conference. It will be when he is in the country. 22th of August 1973 will Ojok be back in Uganda and stay at the Standard Hotel. Lindstrom forward all information to the Washington Agencies (WikiLeaks, 1973).
Problems between Uganda and Tanzania:
13th of July 1974 General Amin had allegation of supposed plans of a coup and invasion from Tanzania. Amin is saying that Zambia and Tanzania is wishing to get the ousted Obote back as president in Uganda. He says: “Actively supporting Dr Milton Obote to mount an invasion of Uganda” (…)” Continues to encourage and assist invasion of Uganda, battlefields will be Mwanza, Musoma, Tabora, and Dodoma. I am not going to kneel down in front of him, he must know that I am a General who can fight any war, at any time, anywhere” (WikiLeaks, 1974). Tanzanian Governement replied to Amin: “Government wants to make clear that should these allegations be used for an attack, Tanzania will be justified to take all necessary steps to defend itself”. Radio Tanzania has reported on 15. July 1974 that President SIAD has inquired to the Secretary General of the OAU to get a meeting between Uganda, Zambia and Tanzania. This tension strand from the prominent position Obote got under the 20th anniversary of TANU on 7. July 1974 (WikiLeaks, 1974).
Boycott of Ugandan goods:
Idi Amin statement: “Does not constitute apology for recent territorial claim which GOK is insisting upon before presently strained bilateral relation can be normalized”. Dockworkers in Mombasa boycott the boats with Ugandan destined cargo. This leading too delayed boats out of docks of Mombasa. Amin is waiting for a Government of Kenya (GOK) apology. This boycott could lead to Amin to cut electricity which Amin claimed was substantial for Kenya, the estimation is between 15-20%. The photographer of Jomo Kenyatta has been burned in public in Uganda (WikiLeaks, 1976).
Fuel Shortage in Rwanda:
Uganda has had economic setbacks due to the closure of borders with Kenya. This has led to the gas shortage in Rwanda – because of the Mombasa-Kampala line. Tea and coffee export is really hit by this gas shortage (WikiLeaks, 1976). Rwandan MINFIN, National Bank of Rwanda flew to Kampala with President Habyarimana on the 17. March to discuss a government deal with Amin. Amin snubbed it for three reasons:
- Rwandan transport is the reason why the Ugandan roads deteriorating.
- Rwandan economic policies are the reason why the Ugandan Shilling is weakened and making Rwandan Franc is staying strong.
- Amin Accused the Rwandan of selling Ugandan coffee.
- Amin wasn’t happy that Habyarimana met with Nyerere last month.
President Habyarimana is sure this economic sanction from Uganda is because of his way of dealing with Amin. Also even with the new Rwandan Foreign Policy of having good relation to its neighbors. And continue with building relation with Tanzania, even hasten Mwanza-Rusumu to Dar es Salem (WikiLeaks, 1976).
MINFIN is Ministry of Finance (Worldbank, 2007).
Continuation on the tension in East Africa:
- Nyerere is not happy about the arms deal that they have done with South Africa. Especially after the meeting between South Africa’s Heath and Zambia’s Kaunda. Nyerere said he “Put heat in the Dock”. Nyerere was now bitter about the whole affair.
- UK was happy with the Amin coup, they supported him and to overthrow of Obote. UK wanted that Amin to get rid of Sudanese troops in the South. When OAU gave the conference to Kampala it “gave this crook continental respectability”.
- Nyerere thought it was amusing now that UK, Israel and Kenya is now enemies of Uganda. He commented: “Jomo needs a little external trouble to reinforce internal unity right now and an external fool always help is such case” (…) “we all do sometimes”.
- Nyerere had really not any real fear of Amin neither had Kenya. Secondly Nyerere wasn’t going to start anything.
- What Nyerere was worried about what was US up to. Especially on sale of F-5. Since their trying to out maneuver Soviet military support to Uganda and Somalia. Secretary Rumsfeld visited Nairobi. Nyerere wished that UK and USA helped Kenya in all other ways then military operation towards Uganda as he said “Leave this quarrel to East Africa, we will take care of it”.
Tanzania and USSR:
Nyerere will order Foreign Minister Kaduma question the USSR ambassador whom the Soviet arming Uganda against. Nyerere had done the same time before when Uganda got the military equipment called MIGS. Soviet answers said “Imperialist!” Nyerere answered “Nonsense” (WikiLeaks, 1976).
Uganda – Kenya Tension continues:
It’s now 15 October 1976. Kenya has released the Bedford trucks as a quid pro quo for getting their electricity back. Still all military equipment isn’t being shipped from Mombasa. It will be that way until the OAU 6 nation based commission is put into place. There are negotiations in New York on the matter. Kenyan Foreign Minister Karithi says all non-military based deliveries to Uganda except for jet-aviation-fuel which they are holding back. Amin is more and more irritated at the Kenyan boycott of arms. This led to the point where Amin attempted to call VP Moi of Kenya to complain about the matter. Most of the members of Ugandan Defense Council are not unwilling to take action towards Kenya (WikiLeaks, 1976).
Arms from Tanzania to Uganda:
There been rumors of regular arms traffic from the Kismayu to Uganda via the Kilmanjaro International Airport without entering Kenyan Air Space. The route being: Kismayu – Somalia – Tanzania – Uganda. This been in Ugandan’s own C-130 Transport Aircraft. And an U.S. Citizen is involved in the arms trade. This increasing support of Uganda is happening, even after the assurance of otherwise from Nyerere during the last meeting in August between Nyerere and Kenyatta (WikiLeaks, 1976).
Tanzania – Kenya tensions:
Permanent Secretary of Kenya has claimed that the Tanzanian government is dealing with “trade sabotage” and also focusing funds on rebuilding Tanga and Ports of Dar-Es-Salam. They also preferred the Chinese over the Kenyan. Kenyan Foreign Minister Karithi also claimed that Tanzania doesn’t trade rightfully with Kenya. Especially when looking at the trade balance which was in 1975 2, 3 to 1, in the three first months of 1976 it’s 3 to 1. Nyerere’s answer to all this that the trade gap between Kenya and Uganda that was in 1975 20 to 1 and in 1976 became 40 to 1. Nyerere also admits that Ugandans smuggle coffee to Kenya so that distort the numbers (WikiLeaks, 1976). Tanzanian also claims that Kenya is taking the major share of the tourism. The East African Airways are supposed to lure tourist to all parts of East Africa, not only Kenya, even though the Tourist infrastructure seem superior in Kenya compared to the rest, even if the animal and nature sights in Tanzania is much greater (WikiLeaks, 1976).
5th July 1977 Amin approached Kenyan Foreign Minister Waiyaki at the OAU summit in Libreville. Amin claimed that Nyerere agreed to have a “save the EAC” meeting and Amin hoped that the Kenyan would have this meeting in Nairobi. This request comes at the time when Kenya won’t spend funds into the EAC until Tanzania reopens their common borders. Government of Kenya has also recalled their workers from the EAC headquarters from Arusha (WikiLeaks, 1977).
EAC and USAID:
Kenya already sees the EAC as and non-existent entity already at 15th of June 1977. In Kenya the EAC research programs that have been under EAC will now be under GOK (Government of Kenya). The Government desires that the aid continues and sign project agreements as soon as practical. Kenyan government has also started to convert community entities to Kenyan once. Uganda is supposed to pull unless Amin get to meet Nyerere on the 20th of July. There is no reason for that to materialize. The borders also still closed between Kenya and Tanzania (WikiLeaks, 1977).
US African Affairs – DRC’s Mobutu and Uganda’s Amin:
Mobutu responded positive to our request of approaching Amin. The matter at hand is if we’re give Amin something then Mobutu need something as well. We have been using Mobutu to deal with Amin, but we can’t expect him do the deals with him without some gestures from our part. The message US African Affairs sent Mobutu in September 1977:
- We are pleased by Mobutu’s prompt, public support of our proposals on Zimbabwe settlement.
- We appreciate also Mobutu’s intervening with Amin on Humanitarian grounds, and recognize the difficulties posed for him by this and other interventions he has made on our behalf.
- We value Zaire’s continued corporations and wish to stay in close touch on issues of common concern.
Kenya trusted American ally:
Ministry of Defense briefed them on their situation:
- Kenya is surrounded by alien ideologies and Soviet and PRC influence, and its economic development and political stability that have caused envy and hostile neighbors.
- Somalia is recruiting actively guerrillas against Kenya. This in a so called Ogaden style to carry out the claims for the North-Eastern Kenya. The Guerrilla has now a force of up to 10 000. This with the training from North Korea and Cuba since 1969. With the expulsion of Soviets, this might lead to a better friendship between them. But Somalia has not renounced the territorial claims. The Kenya-Somalia relationship can be described as “No Peace, No War”. Kenya would not be offended by a tighter relationship with Mogadishu; they know that Somalis will not talk to the Americans since they have their relations with Soviet and Ethiopia, who provide those arms and aid.
- Uganda is an unstable neighbor. And has threats to attack Kenya. The lifeline for Kenya is that if Somalia attacks North-East, then Amin might be tempted to go in the Western. Because Amin would like to upset Kenyan stability.
- Tanzania hasn’t been an issue not until 1977. When they closed down the EAC and also their borders. Also with incursions from Tanzania with killings and cattle rustling. It seems as Tanzania now works more closely to Zambia and Mozambique.
- Ethiopia because of Somalia is a reliable ally. Though if it is so in future, they are not so sure. This be given the Soviet and Marxist believes in the country.
- Because of this, Kenya needs to strengthen its borders. Particular Uganda and Somalia.
Binghampton.edu – ‘IN PURSUIT OF PERSONAL EXCELLENCE: THE DECLINE AND REVIVAL OF ALI A. MAZRUI’: Second Draft (10.2011) Link: http://www.binghamton.edu/igcs/docs/In%20Pursuit%20of%20Personal%20Excellence-The%20Decline%20and%20Revival%20of%20Ali%20A.%20Mazrui.pdf
Dingu.Sbs.Arizona.edu – ‘Rivnotes’ Link: http://dingo.sbs.arizona.edu/~ggoertz/rivalry/cmv5.10/cm500501v5.10.txt
WikiLeaks – ‘MAZRUI RESIGNS; SOLDIERS REPLACE CHIEFS’ (05.05.1973) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1973KAMPAL01538_b.html
WikiLeaks – ‘UGANDA COUP PLANS’ (21.08.1973) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1973NAIROB05577_b.html
WikiLeaks – ‘NEW PROBLEM IN TANZANIA-UGANDA RELATIONS’ (15.07.1974) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1974DARES02360_b.html
WikiLeaks – ‘PRESIDENT NYERERE ON KENYA-UGANDA QUARREL’ (19.07.1976) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1976DARES02606_b.html
WikiLeaks – ‘UGANDA: AMIN SNUBS RWANDA ON PETROL CRISIS’ (30.03.1976) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1976KIGALI00245_b.html
WikiLeaks – ‘KENYAN-UGANDAN RELATIONS’ (15.10.1976) Link:
WikiLeaks – ‘FUTURE OF U.S. AID PROGRAM TO EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY’ (26.07.1977) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1977NAIROB09350_c.html
WikiLeaks – ‘CODEL PRICE CONSULTATION WITH BOK’ (18.11.1977) Links: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1977NAIROB15006_c.html
WikiLeaks – ‘PROPOSED MESSAGE FOR MOBUTU’ (10.09.1977) Link:
WorldBank – ‘FINANCING AGREEMENT’ (05.02.2007) Link: http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/AFR/2010/06/03/54A8AF4762E6EA70852572A600670F84/2_0/Rendered/INDEX/FA01Conformed1010Corrected.txt