Uganda -- Geography --
Full Name: Republic of Uganda
Capital City: Kampala
Languages: English, Swahili
Official Currency: Ugandan Shilling (UGX)
Religions: Roman Catholic, Prostestant, Muslim, other.
Population: 31,367,972 (2008 est.)
Land Area: 236,040 sq km
Landforms: Mostly plateau with rim of mountains; many lakes.
Land Divisions: 80 districts
Uganda -- 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 ethnic group.
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 business people.
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 1879.
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 membership.
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 power.
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 much higher.
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 forces.
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.
Negotiations 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.
Under the transitional provisions of the new constitution, the "movement system" will continue for five years, including explicit restrictions on activities of political parties, which are nonetheless active. The Constitution also calls for a referendum in the fourth year (the year 2000) to determine whether or not Uganda will adopt a multi-party system of democracy.
Insurgent groups, the largest of which--the Lord's Resistance Army--receives 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. Due to Sudanese support of various guerrilla movements, Uganda severed diplomatic relations with Sudan on April 22, 1995, and contacts between the Government of Uganda and the National Islamic Front-dominated Government of Sudan remain limited.
Uganda -- Economy --
Uganda has substantial natural resources, including fertile soils, regular rainfall, and sizable mineral deposits of copper and cobalt. The country has largely untapped reserves of both crude oil and natural gas. Agriculture is the most important sector of the economy, employing over 80% of the work force, with coffee accounting for the bulk of export revenues. Since 1986, the government (with the support of foreign countries and international agencies) has acted to rehabilitate an economy decimated during the regime of Idi Amin and subsequent civil war.
During 1990 - 2001, the economy grew because of continued investment in the rehabilitation of infrastructure, improved incentives for production and exports, reduced inflation, gradually improved domestic security, and the return of exiled Indian-Ugandan entrepreneurs between 1990 and 2001. Ongoing Ugandan involvement in the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, corruption within the government, and slippage in the government's determination to press reforms raise doubts about the continuation of strong growth. In 2000, Uganda qualified for the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt relief initiative worth $1.3 billion and Paris Club debt relief worth $145 million. These amounts combined with the original HIPC debt relief added up to about $2 billion. Growth for 2001 - 2002 was solid despite continued decline in the price of coffee, Uganda's principal export. According to IMF statistics, in 2004 Uganda's GDP per-capita reached $300, a much higher level than in the Eighties but still at half of Sub-Saharan African average income of 600 dollars per year. Total GDP crossed the 8 billion dollar mark in the same year.
With the Uganda securities exchange established in 1996, several equities have been listed. The Government has used the stock market as an avenue for privatisation. All Government treasury issues are listed on the securities exchange. The Capital Markets Authority has licensed 18 brokers, asset managers and investment advisors including names like African Alliance, AIG Investments, Renaissance Capital and SIMMS. As one of the ways of increasing formal domestic savings, Pension sector reform is the centre of attention (2007)
Uganda -- Culture --
The culture of Uganda is made up of a complex and diverse range of ethnic groups. Lake Kyoga forms the northern boundary for the Bantu-speaking peoples, who dominate much of east, central and southern Africa. In Uganda they include the Baganda and several other tribes. In the north live the Lango and the Acholi, who speak Nilotic languages. To the east are the Iteso and Karamojong, who speak a Nilotic language. A few Pygmies live isolated in the rainforests of western Uganda.Uganda is ethnologically diverse, with at least forty languages in usage. Luganda is the most common language. English is the official language of Uganda, even though only a relatively small proportion of the population speaks it. Access to economic and political power is almost impossible without having mastered that language. The East African lingua franca Swahili is relatively widespread as a trade language and was made an official national language of Uganda in September 2005. Luganda, a language widespread in central Uganda, has been the official vernacular language in education for central Uganda for a long time.Each ethnic group has its musical history; songs are passed down from generation to generation. Ndigindi and entongoli(lyres), ennanga (harp), amadinda (xylophone, see Baganda Music) and lukeme (lamellophone ("thumb piano")) are commonly played instruments. An Acholi, Okot p'Bitek, is one of Uganda's most famous writers of folklore, satirical poems and songs. His book Song of Lawino (1966) describes the stories told in Acholi songs.
The Cuisine of Uganda consists of traditional cooking with English, Arab and Asian (especially Indian) influences. Like the cuisines of most countries, it varies in complexity, from the most basic, a starchy filler with a sauce of beans or meat, to several-course meals served in upper-class homes and high-end restaurants.
Main dishes are usually centred on a sauce or stew of groundnuts, beans or meat. The starch traditionally comes from ugali (maize meal) or matoke (boiled and mashed green banana), in the South, or an ugali made from pear millet in the North. Cassava, yam and African sweet potato are also eaten; the more affluent include white (often called "Irish") potato and rice in their diets. Soybean was promoted as a healthy food staple in the 1970s and this is also used, especially for breakfast. Chapati, an Asian flatbread, is also part of Ugandan cuisine.
Chicken, fish (usually fresh, but there is also a dried variety, reconstituted for stewing), beef, goat and mutton are all commonly eaten, although among the rural poor there would have to be a good reason for slaughtering a large animal such as a goat or a cow and nyama, (Swahili word for "meat") would not be eaten every day.
Various leafy greens are grown in Uganda. These may be boiled in the stews, or served as side dishes in fancier homes. Amaranth (dodo), nakati, and borr are examples of regional greens.
Ugali is cooked up into a thick porridge for breakfast. For main means, white flour is added to the saucepan and stirred into the ugali until the consistency is firm. It is then turned out onto a serving plate and cut into individual slices (or served onto individual plates in the kitchen).
Uganda -- Political system, law and government --
Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda.
The President of Uganda, currently Yoweri Museveni, is both head of state and head of government. The president appoints a prime minister, currently Apolo Nsibambi, who aids him in governing. The parliament is formed by the National Assembly, which has 303 members. Eighty-six of these members are nominated by interest groups, including women and the army. The remaining members are elected for two-year terms during general elections.
In a measure ostensibly designed to reduce sectarian violence, political parties were restricted in their activities from 1986. In the non-party "Movement" system instituted by Museveni, political parties continued to exist, but they could only operate a headquarter office. They could not open branches, hold rallies or field candidates directly (although electoral candidates could belong to political parties). A constitutional referendum canceled this nineteen-year ban on multi-party politics in July 2005.The current political parties are the Conservative Party or CP [Ken LUKYAMUZI]; Democratic Party or DP [Kizito SSEBAANA]; Forum for Democratic Change or FDC [Kizza BESIGYE]; Justice Forum or JEEMA [Muhammad Kibirige MAYANJA]; National Resistance Movement or NRM [Yoweri MUSEVENI]; Peoples Progressive Party or PPP [Bidandi SSALI]; Ugandan People's Congress or UPC [Miria OBOTE].
The presidential elections were held in February 2006. Yoweri Museveni, ran against several candidates, the most prominent of whom was exiled Dr. Kizza Besigye.
Uganda has the total of 69 districts: Adjumani,Amolatar, Amuria, Apac, Arua,Budaka,Bugiri, Bundibugyo, Bushenyi, Busia,Gulu, Hoima,Ibanda, Iganga, Jinja,Kaabong, Kabingo, Kaliro, Kiruhura, Koboko, Kabale, Kabarole, Kaberamaido, Kalangala, Kampala, Kamuli, Kamwenge, Kanungu, Kapchorwa, Kasese, Katakwi, Kayunga, Kibale, Kiboga, Kisoro, Kitgum, Kotido, Kumi, Kyenjojo,Lira, Luwero, Masaka, Masindi, Mayuge, Mbale, Mbarara, Moroto, Moyo, Mpigi, Mubende, Mukono, Nakaseke, Nakapiripirit, Nakasongola, Nebbi, Ntungamo, Pader, Pallisa, Rakai, Rukungiri, Sembabule, Sironko, Soroti, Tororo, Wakiso, Yumbe.
The constitution was made on the 8th October, 1995. The government restored the legal system to one based on English common law and customary law.
A) Executive Branch:chief of state: President Lt. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta MUSEVENI (since seizing power 26 January 1986);
head of government: President Lt. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta MUSEVENI (since seizing power 26 January 1986); Prime Minister Apolo NSIBAMBI (since 5 April 1999); note - the prime minister assists the president in the supervision of the cabinet
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from among elected legislators
elections: president reelected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 23 February 2006 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: Lt. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta MUSEVENI elected president; percent of vote - Lt. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta MUSEVENI 59.3%, Kizza BESIGYE 37.4%, other 3.3%.
B) Legislative Branch: unicameral National Assembly (332 seats; 215 members elected by popular vote, 104 nominated by legally established special interest groups [women 79, army 10, disabled 5, youth 5, labor 5], 13 ex officio members; to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 23 February 2006 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NRM 191, FDC 37, UPC 9, DP 8, CP 1, JEEMA 1, independents 36, other 49.
C)Judicial branch: Court of Appeal (judges are appointed by the president and approved by the legislature); High Court (judges are appointed by the president).