Africa has had a lot of wars.
But not too many classic, old-fashioned inter-state wars. In fifty years since independence, I can only think of five or six. So you'd think the T-U war would have attracted some interest. Nope. Minor news at the time, almost completely forgotten today.
Except here in Tanzania, of course. There are statues and monuments, people of a certain age remember it vividly, and even young people know that "he got rid of Idi Amin" is to be put on the credit side of Julius Nyerere's account balance.
-- The T-U war is more than a little reminiscent of the war between Pol Pot's Cambodia and Vietnam, which broke out at almost the same time. In both cases, a genocidal regime had run a small country's economy into the ground. In both cases, the regime had horrible relations with its immediate neighbors, but was getting assistance from an autocratic regime a couple of countries away (Libya for Amin, China for Pol Pot) that was trying to extend influence in the region. In both cases the war was preceded by border raids and provocations against the larger neighbor. And in both cases, the leader dramatically underestimated the military capacity, competence and determination of the larger neighbor, and dramatically overestimated the competence and will to fight of their own military.
(And a last, more depressing parallel: both Pol Pot and Amin fled the country, escaped all punishment, and lived on for many years in exile.)
--Moammar Qaddafy's intervention ended up accomplishing nothing. Didn't deter him, though. At one time or another, Qaddafy was involved in conflicts in Uganda, Egypt, Chad, Ethiopia and Congo. Every single one ended in defeat. In the last decade or so, he seems to have taken the hint.
-- This was in the days when the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was still very much the Club of Dictators. Today, when the OAU's successor (the African Union) is actually a kinda sorta half-assed sometimes semi-functional regional association, it's easy to forget just how utterly corrupt and worthless the OAU was. But check it: apparently Nyerere asked the OAU to intervene and mediate after he'd driven the Ugandans out. Instead they condemned him as the aggressor! He wasn't playing by the rules, you see: he had repeatedly and publicly criticized Amin. Which was not acceptable; the dictators were supposed to watch each others' backs. So, the war was really Nyerere's fault.
-- The war is associated with the spread of AIDS from the Great Lakes region deep into Uganda. Details are unclear, but there were huge and sudden movements of people in and out of the region -- refugees leaving and then returning, Amin's army advancing to rape and loot and then running away.
-- In a much-publicized media event last year, the sons of Amin and Nyerere met and had a public reconciliation, with much talk of lasting regional peace. We can hope.
(Department of weird coincidences: I said this war is almost completely forgotten outside the region. And it is. But someone else made a blog post about this exact topic yesterday! Go figure.)