Bob Astles, "The Last King of Scotland," Dies

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He was one of many oddities around the Amin regime; a White man from Britain as one of his top confidantes.


[Global: Uganda]


Bob Astles succumbed to cancer on December 29, 2012, just 20 days after his last e-mail message to this writer. 

Mzee Bob Astles Lubowa was generally remembered
as an adviser to the former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin Dada. It had been 34 years since Astles he left the public scene, and most people today don’t know who he has been. He was 88 at his death.


He
was also reviled by many people shortly after Amin's fall, having been one of his key advisors.
He was one of many oddities around the Amin regime; a White man
from Britain as one of his top confidantes.
Ironically,
the bloody conduct of the present regime of Gen. Yoweri Museveni has
now tampered the revulsion once reserved only for Amin in Uganda.


For anyone that has been
following the film industry, the 2006 Oscar best actor,Movie;  "The Last King of Scotland"  with, Forest Whitaker, was somewhat based on Astles’
life in Uganda. 


Practically, Astles lived in Uganda between 1949 and 1986 and his heart remained in Africa. 
 
“I
used to know him before but not as a close friend. But when Bob Astles
was brought to Luzira from Kenya with a broken arm, I started feeding
him. Since then we have been close friends,” recalls Captain Seruwagi,
who first met Bob Astles in 1979, just after the fall of Amin. 


Confirming
what already Astles narrated to this writer in one of the many
conversations, Capt. Seruwagi said: “He was brought back from Kenya when
in a very bad shape. His arm had been broken; essentially, I was
feeding a young Chimpanzee.” 


“Astles had love for people of Africa
as a continent and Uganda in particular. He always had every kind of
information and what is going on in African at all time, be it political
or cultural. Many people from all religious background have always
sought some advice from him,” Capt. Seruwagi narrates, adding that: “We
have lost a great man.” 

 
Ironically, 1979 was not his first time
in a Ugandan jail.  Astles was arrested in 1971 along with Ex-minister
Kalule Ssettaala by Amin himself after he overthrew Dr. Milton Obote's
first government. 

 
Over recent years, as this writer interviewed
Astles over many occasions and for material for a future book, he
became a friend and mentor who had vast knowledge about Africa and still
maintained contacts.


He always had a story or anecdote from the past, laced with humor. Many close friends did not know about his death until he had been cremated.


Miwambo writes from Europe


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