Uganda is a thickly populated country in east-central Africa.
The Africans in Uganda belong to several ethnic groups. English is Uganda's official
language, but the people speak many African languages.
Uganda has magnificent
scenery, including snow-capped mountains, thick tropical forests, and semidesert
areas. Lakes cover more than a sixth of Uganda.
Part of Lake Victoria,
the world's second largest freshwater lake, lies in the country.
Uganda achieved independence from the UK in 1962. The dictatorial
regime of Idi AMIN (1971-79) was responsible for the deaths of some 300,000 opponents;
guerrilla war and human rights abuses under Milton OBOTE (1980-85) claimed another
100,000 lives. During the 1990s the government promulgated non-party presidential
and legislative elections.
PEOPLE AND HISTORY
Africans of three main ethnic groups--Bantu, Nilotic, and Nilo-Hamitic--constitute
most of the population. The Bantu are the most numerous and include the Baganda,
which, with about 3 million members (18% of the population), constitute the largest-single
The people of the southwest comprise 30% of the population,
divided into five major ethnic groups: the Banyankole and Bahima,10%; the Bakiga,
8%; the Banyarwanda, 6%; the Bunyoro, 3%; and the Batoro, 3%). Residents of the
north, largely Nilotic, are the next largest group, including the Langi, 6% and
the Acholi, 4%. In the northwest are the Lugbara, 4%, and the Karamojong, 2% occupy
the considerably drier, largely pastoral territory in the northeast. Europeans,
Asians, and Arabs make up about 1% of the population with other groups accounting
for the remainder.
Uganda's population is predominately rural, and its density
is highest in the southern regions. Until 1972, Asians constituted the largest
nonindigenous ethnic group in Uganda. In that year, the Idi Amin regime expelled
50,000 Asians, who had been engaged in trade, industry, and various professions.
In the years since Amin's overthrow in 1979, Asians have slowly returned. About
3,000 Arabs of various national origins and small numbers of Asians live in Uganda.
Other nonindigenous people in Uganda include several hundred Western missionaries
and a few diplomats and businesspeople.
When Arab traders moved inland from
their enclaves along the Indian Ocean coast of East Africa and reached the interior
of Uganda in the 1830s, they found several African kingdoms with well-developed
political institutions dating back several centuries. These traders were followed
in the 1860s by British explorers searching for the source of the Nile River.
Protestant missionaries entered the country in 1877, followed by Catholic missionaries
In 1888, control of the emerging British "sphere of interest" in East
Africa was assigned by royal charter to the Imperial British East Africa Company,
an arrangement strengthened in 1890 by an Anglo-German agreement confirming British
dominance over Kenya and Uganda. The high cost of occupying the territory caused
the company to withdraw in 1893, and its administrative functions were taken over
by a British commissioner. In 1894, the Kingdom of Buganda was placed under a
formal British protectorate.
Britain granted internal self-government to Uganda
in 1961, with the first elections held on March 1, 1961. Benedicto Kiwanuka of
the Democratic Party became the first Chief Minister. Uganda maintained its Commonwealth
In succeeding years, supporters of a centralized state vied with
those in favor of a loose federation and a strong role for tribally based local
kingdoms. Political maneuvering climaxed in February 1966, when Prime Minister
Milton Obote suspended the constitution, assumed all government powers, and removed
the president and vice president. In September 1967, a new constitution proclaimed
Uganda a republic, gave the president even greater powers, and abolished the traditional
kingdoms. On January 25, 1971, Obote's government was ousted in a military coup
led by armed forces commander Idi Amin Dada. Amin declared himself president,
dissolved the parliament, and amended the constitution to give himself absolute
Idi Amin's 8-year rule produced economic decline, social disintegration,
and massive human rights violations. The Acholi and Langi tribes were particular
objects of Amin's political persecution because Obote and many of his supporters
belonged to those tribes and constituted the largest group in the army. In 1978,
the International Commission of Jurists estimated that more than 100,000 Ugandans
had been murdered during Amin's reign of terror; some authorities place the figure
In October 1978, Tanzanian armed forces repulsed an incursion
of Amin's troops into Tanzanian territory. The Tanzanian force, backed by Ugandan
exiles, waged a war of liberation against Amin's troops and Libyan soldiers sent
to help him. On April 11, 1979, Kampala was captured, and Amin fled with his remaining
After Amin's removal, the Uganda National Liberation Front formed an
interim government with Yusuf Lule as president. This government adopted a ministerial
system of administration and created a quasi-parliamentary organ known as the
National Consultative Commission (NCC). The NCC and the Lule cabinet reflected
widely differing political views. In June 1979, following a dispute over the extent
of presidential powers, the NCC replaced President Lule with Godfrey Binaisa.
In a continuing dispute over the powers of the interim presidency, Binaisa was
removed in May 1980. Thereafter, Uganda was ruled by a military commission chaired
by Paulo Muwanga. The December 1980 elections returned the UPC to power under
the leadership of President Obote, with Muwanga serving as vice president. Under
Obote, the security forces had one of the world's worst human rights records.
In their efforts to stamp out an insurgency led by Yoweri Museveni's National
Resistance Army (NRA), they lay waste to a substantial section of the country,
especially in the Luwero area north of Kampala.
Obote ruled until July 27,
1985, when an army brigade, composed mostly of Acholi troops and commanded by
Lt. Gen. Basilio Olara-Okello, took Kampala and proclaimed a military government.
Obote fled to exile in Zambia. The new regime, headed by former defense force
commander Gen. Tito Okello (no relation to Lt. Gen. Olara-Okello), opened negotiations
with the insurgent forces of Yoweri Museveni and pledged to improve respect for
human rights, end tribal rivalry, and conduct free and fair elections. In the
meantime, massive human rights violations continued as the Okello government murdered
civilians and ravaged the countryside in order to destroy the NRA's support.
between the Okello government and the NRA were conducted in Nairobi in the fall
of 1985, with Kenyan President Daniel Moi seeking a cease-fire and a coalition
government in Uganda. Although agreeing in late 1985 to a cease-fire, the NRA
continued fighting, seized Kampala in late January 1986, and assumed control of
the country, forcing Okello to flee north into Sudan. Museveni's forces organized
a government with Museveni as president.
Since assuming power, the government
dominated by the political grouping created by Museveni and his followers, the
National Resistance Movement (NRM), has largely put an end to the human rights
abuses of earlier governments, overseen the successful efforts of a human rights
commission established to investigate previous abuses, initiated substantial political
liberalization and general press freedom, and instituted broad economic reforms
after consultation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and
donor governments. A constitutional commission was named to draft a new constitution,
which was debated and ratified by a popularly elected constituent assembly on
July 12, 1995, and promulgated by President Museveni on October 8, 1995.
the transitional provisions of the new constitution, the "movement system" will
continue for 5 years, including explicit restrictions on activities of political
parties, which are nonetheless active. The Constitution also called for a referendum
in 2000 to determine whether or not Uganda will adopt a multi-party system of
democracy. The referendum was held in March 2000 and by a margin of 70% voters
asked to keep the Movement system; the referendum was widely criticized for its
low voter turnout and lack of a level playing field.
largest (Lord's Resistance Army) of which used to receive support from Sudan--harass
government forces and murder and kidnap civilians in the north and west. They
do not, however, threaten the stability of the government. Uganda resumed diplomatic
relations with Sudan in 2001, agreeing to reopen missions and exchange diplomats
up to the Charge level. The two countries are now planning to resume full diplomatic
relations and exchange ambassadors.
In 1998, Uganda deployed a sizable
military force to eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), ostensibly to
prevent attacks from Ugandan rebel groups operating from bases in eastern DRC,
the treat from which has largely been contained..
Guide to Uganda
of Uganda - Read more about the geography and topography of Uganda
of Uganda - Presents a detailed historical background and culture of Uganda
& People of Uganda - Study the characteristics, background, and details
on the people of Uganda
Local Cuisine of Uganda
- Find out delicious local cuisines of Uganda
in Uganda - Check out a list of the local holidays in Uganda
in Uganda - Learn about the festivals in Uganda
of Uganda - Provides an Embassy database for Uganda
facts of Uganda - Learn about the governmental administration facts of
Newstands in Uganda - Browse
through a collection of local online newspapers of Uganda
in Uganda - Discover the best places to visit, sight seeing, and tourist
attractions in Uganda
Maps of Uganda - Discover
a detailed map of Uganda
of Uganda - Browse a large collection of city, country, historical, political,
thematic, and shaded relief maps of Uganda
of Uganda - Uncover the flag images and description of the flag of Uganda.
Includes historical flags, symbols, and related information
for cities of Uganda - Browse weather forecast, hourly conditions, temperature,
sunrise, sunset, and other weather related reports for the cities of Uganda
in Uganda - Find out the best places for shopping in Uganda
in Uganda - Browse a list of eat-outs in Uganda
of Uganda - Highlights the location, map references, area, land boundaries,
climate, natural resources, land use, natural hazards, environment, and geography
People of Uganda - Learn about
the population, age structure, birth and death rate, sex ratio, nationality, ethnic
groups, religions, languages, and literacy in Uganda
and Politics in Uganda - Profiles the country name, government type, administrative
divisions, independence, national holiday, constitution, legal system, suffrage,
executive, legislative, and judicial branches, political parties and leaders,
and a flag description of Uganda.
Uganda - Study the GDP, growth rate, per capita, inflation, labor, budget,
industries, exports, imports, currency, exchange rates, and economy of Uganda
in Uganda - Browse statistics on telephones, mobile and cellular lines
in use, radio broadcast stations, televisions, internet country code, ISP's, internet
users, and facts on communications in Uganda
in Uganda - Offers statistical details on the railways, highways, waterways,
ports & harbors, airports, and other facts on transportation in Uganda
of Uganda - Provides statistics on military branches, army, air force,
navy, manpower, military service, expenditure, and facts on military in Uganda
Issues of Uganda - Explore international disputes and transnational issues
Info - Uganda Political Geography - Encyclopedia resource provides information
on the country along with its cities.