Members of the Harvard community yesterday reacted with cautious optimism to the possibility of Ugandan president Idi Amin's downfall.
"It appears as if something is happening although there is no confirmation--one should not rejoice too soon," K. Onwaka Dike, professor of African History, said yesterday.
African experts and citizens of African nations at Harvard agree, however, that Amin has little chance of finding support.
Rita M. Breen, lecturer on History, said that with the exception of Libya, African countries would probably not come to Amin's aid.
Olara Otunnu, a student at the Law School and the general secretary of the Ugandan Freedom Union, said African nations which aided Amin in the past have realized that "in the long run it does not serve their interest to support Amin."
Dike, Otunnu, and Breen agreed that if Amin does fall, establishing a new government will take a long time.
Breen said, "There is a colossal task of rebuilding the economy from the roots up--there isn't an aspect of Uganda which hasn't suffered from Amin's rule."
Joshua Muvumba, a native of Uganda studying at Harvard, said "it is likely there will be military rule for some time" after Amin leaves because there has been so much "dislocation and exile" in the country.
Dike, Omara and Olara Otunnu, and Muvumba all said they will return to Uganda if Amin's regime falls.
Otunnu said that the news that Amin is losing power indicates that "the freedom fighters have begun to take the upper hand." Ugandan exiles who entered the country from Tanzania are responsible for the current fighting in Uganda, Otunnu added.
"The Tanzanians are stationed in Uganda just to protect the integrity of their borders," Otunnu said.
UPI wires reported yesterday that Tanzanian regular troops and Ugandan exiles were fighting Amin's troops in southern Uganda.
Otunnu said that the Ugandan Freedom Union, which has chapters in the United States, Canada, and many African countries, is working for a democratic government in Uganda.