Republic of Uganda is a landlocked East African country lying on the
Equator - roughly two thirds of the country is north of the equator
and a third south. On the banks of Lake Victoria, Uganda is bordered
by Tanzania and Rwanda to the south west, The Congo to the west, The
Sudan to the north, and Kenya to the east.
Square Miles or 241000 Square km
4 degrees N and 1 degree S of the equator in East Africa
- 19M estimated
in 1995 probably around 22M today. Uganda's growth in population
is well above the average for the Sub-Saharan areas of Africa.
This is obviously because of the country's high birth rate
producing a population in which almost half is under 15 years
of age. The most densely settled areas are in the fertile
south and east, primarily along Lake Victoria. Kampala is
the largest city. Other major cities are Jinja, Masaka, and
Mbale. Though the urban population constitutes only about
one-eighth of the total, it is growing steadily.
It is built around seven hills 35Km north of Lake Victoria.
Across the lake you can get to Tanzania and Kenya though it
is understood that at present the ferry is not running. (June
of state and government
Yoweri Museveni. One of the few President's in history to
have started out as a Military dictator promising to hold
elections who actually held elections. He is by public acclaim
a popular President having the credit for the country's peace
and economic recovery.
- To the
west - The Rwensori Mountains which are part of the volcanic
Virunga Mountains and the western rift valley. the highest
peak on which there is always snow is the 16,795 feet (5,119
m) Margherita. It is possible to climb this though the area
is considered unsafe at present. Lakes of Albert forms much
of the border with The Congo). In the east is Mount Elgon,
also in a volcanic area rises to 14,178 feet (4,321 m). Much
of the rest of the country is a plateau.
a third of the country is under water. The largest is Lake
Victoria 26,828 square miles (69,485 square km) and is the
world's second largest fresh water lake. From the lake at
Jinja flows the Victoria Nile into Lake Kyoga just south of
Apac and continues to Lake Albert which is drained by the
Albert Nile River on its way north.
Uganda is on the Equator it is not a hot country, its climate
being modified by the region's high elevation and its large
expanse of water. Average daily temperatures range from 28C
in January to 25C in July - these are Kampala temperatures
and rise another few degrees
areas are devoted to National Parks and game reserves. The
largest being the Murchison Falls national Park in the northwest.
The country's wild inhabitants include lions, rhinoceroses,
leopards, elephants, hippopotamuses, buffaloes, Uganda kobs
and antelopes, and a number of species of monkeys. About one-third
of Uganda's land area is arable; nearly one-tenth of the land
is used as pasture. much of the area in the south is devoted
to cultivation whereas in the central and northern areas Uganda
is a natural wooded savanna.
are literally dozens of ethnic groups in the country belonging
to three main linguistic groups: the Bantu, the Nilotic, and
the Nilo-Hamitic. Bantu speakers are concentrated in the south
and account for 70% of the total population. The Bantu-speaking
Ganda alone constitute nearly 20% of the total population.
Other Bantu-speaking peoples are the Soga, Nkole, Chiga (Kiga),
Gisu, Rwanda, and Nyoro. Peoples speaking Nilotic and Nilo-Hamitic
languages live mainly in the north; the Acholi, Lango, Teso,
and Karamojong are among the larger of such language groups.
English is the official language of the country though for
a time Swahili was also used. English is a compulsory subject
in schools and is the uniting influence in what could otherwise
be a fragmented tribal society. There once was quite a large
and influential Asian community but under Idi Amin they were
mostly expelled from the country many to take up residence
in the UK. In the peaceful times the Asian community is beginning
to rise again as it invests in the industry of the country.
half of the population are nominally Roman Catholic, a third
are Protestant, and a small minority are Muslim. However,
most Ugandans have retained indigenous religious beliefs or
have integrated such beliefs with Christianity or Islam.
- Its borders
had been drawn by the British in a wholly artificial manner
in the later 1800s. The country enclosed two different types
of society: the relatively centralized Bantu Kingdoms of the
south and the Nilotic and Sudanic "tribes without rulers"
to the north.
This split between north and south, aggravated by development
biased to the south under the British has continued to this
day and in the years that followed independence set the backcloth
for the troubles ahead.
A British Protectorate (rather than a colony), Uganda obtained
independence on 10th October 1962. Its first minister being
Milton Obote who was the leader of the Lango people. All looked
forward to a bright future but a year later Mutesa II, the
kabaka of Buganda, was appointed the first president, but
and conflicts grew between representatives of the various
ethnic groups and between the president and the prime minister.
Obote ousted Mutesa in 1966, took over as president, and proclaimed
a new constitution a year later.
1971 a military coup replaced Obote with Major General Idi
Amin, whose reign was notorious for its brutality. Amin expelled
Asians from Uganda in 1972, persecuted the Acholi, Lango,
and other tribes, and presided over a general economic collapse.
Late in 1978 Amin invaded Tanzania.
In retaliation, Tanzanian forces invaded Uganda a year later
and deposed Amin. With considerable controversy, Obote was
elected to the office of president in 1980 but his second
chance was no better and he was deposed once again by a military
coup in 1985.
The new military rulers themselves were pushed out the following
year by the armed National Resistance Movement, led by Yoweri
Museveni. A constituent assembly promulgated a new constitution
in 1995. The gradual improvement of Uganda's economic situation
in the late 20th century did not signal an end to its political,
social, and economic challenges. Instability still continues
on the northern and western boundaries.
has a developing, market economy based largely on agriculture.
The GNP per capita is among the lowest in the world. Both
agricultural and industrial production were severely curtailed
from the 1970s to the mid-1980s due to political instability
and civil war. By the mid-1990s the government had begun to
encourage foreign investment, strengthen export industries,
and establish relationships with such organizations as the
International Monetary Fund (IMF). In addition, some lands
and properties were restored to Asians and others who had
been expelled or had fled the country during the rule of Idi
Agriculture accounts for more than half of the GDP and employs
more than 80% of the workforce. More than half of agricultural
production is accounted for by subsistence farmers. The main
food crops are cassava, sweet potatoes, millet, plantains,
and corn. Coffee is the principal export crop, followed by
tea, cotton, and sugar.
There is a small copper mining area at Kilembe, apatite at
Tororo and tungsten and tin in other areas. There is believed
to be a large are of un-mined high grade iron at Kigezi.
The main manufacturing industries include food processing,
textiles, automobiles, and metal products.
Firewood and charcoal remain important sources of energy,
despite the depletion of forests. Nearly all of Uganda's power
is produced by hydroelectric generation, with the Owen Falls
Dam on the Victoria Nile providing the bulk of the capacity
where a second generating station has brought much needed
relief to power shortages around the country. In Kampala daily
and nightly power cuts were common whereas today they are
limited to ever 3 or 4 days and just for a few hours.
The balance of imports exceeds that of exports. Imports include
machinery and transport equipment, minerals, fuels, chemicals,
food and food products, and live animals. The main exports
are un-roasted coffee (which accounts for nearly seven-tenths
of the total value of exports), tea, and cotton.
trading partners include Kenya, The Netherlands, the United
States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Spain.
Uganda is a sovereign republic. The constitution of 1995 vested
executive power in a popularly elected president who could
serve no more than two five-year terms. The president was
assisted by a cabinet of ministers. Legislative power was
exercised by a unicameral Parliament whose members were elected
to five-year terms and represented constituent districts.
The judicial branch of government was headed by the Supreme
Court, Court of Appeal, High Court, and various lower courts.
Justices were appointed by the president with the approval
of the legislature.
Many British people feel very much at home with the style
of Government which is proving to be a model in this area
Government and the country faced huge problems in the years
after the wars and continues to have to deal with Education,
Health and Welfare as its major priorities.
- In the
70s Health care was decimated but a start was made to recover
in the 80s and made much progress in the 90s. The major health
crisis is AIDS which is at epidemic levels. Other common diseases
include tuberculosis, venereal diseases, measles, malaria,
sleeping sickness, dysentery, whooping cough, hookworm, typhoid
music and dances are very popular in rural villages and among
the various ethnic groups in urban areas. Cultural institutions
include the National Theatre and the Uganda Museum in Kampala,
the Entebbe Botanical Gardens, and museums at the national
parks. Song and dance are widely taught in schools.