|Jamhuri ya Uganda|
Republic of Uganda
|Flag||Coat of Arms|
|Language||Swahili, English (official)|
|Prime minister||Ruhakana Rugunda|
|Area||93,072 sq. mi.|
|International dialing code||+243|
|Internet top-level domain||.cd|
The Republic of Uganda, or Uganda, is a country in East Africa, bordered to the east by Kenya, on the north by Sudan, to the west by the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda on the southwest, and Tanzania to the south. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, within which it shares borders with Kenya and Tanzania.
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 18% of the population, constitute the largest single ethnic group. Individual ethnic groups in the southwest include the Banyankole and Bahima, 10%; the Bakiga, 7%; the Banyarwanda, 6%; the Bunyoro, 3%; and the Batoro, 3%. Residents of the north, largely Nilotic, include the Langi, 6%, and the Acholi, 5%. In the northwest are the Lugbara, 4%, and the Karamojong, 2%, occupy the considerably drier, largely pastoral territory in the northeast. The Basoga, 8% and the Bagisu, 5% are among ethnic groups in the East. Europeans, Asians, and Arabs make up about 1% of the population with other groups accounting for the remainder.
Uganda's population is predominantly rural, and its population density highest in the southern regions. Until 1972, Asians constituted the largest nonindigenous ethnic group in Uganda. In that year, the E.D. 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 and now number around 30,000. Other nonindigenous people in Uganda include Arabs, Western missionaries, non-governmental organization (NGO) workers, diplomats, and business people.
- Population (2009): 32.7 million
- Annual growth rate (2009 est.): 3.3%
- Ethnic groups: Baganda, Banyankole, Bahima, Bakiga, Banyarwanda, Bunyoro, Batoro, Langi, Acholi, Lugbara, Karamojong, Basoga, Bagisu, and others
- Religions (2009): Christian 85%, Muslim 12%, other 3%
- Languages: English (official), Swahili (official), Luganda, and numerous other local languages
- Education: Attendance (2008; primary school completion rate)--56%. Literacy (2003-2008)--74%
- Health (2009): Infant mortality rate—79.4/1,000. Life expectancy—52.7 yrs
According to official government figures, an estimated 85% of the country is Christian, 12% Muslim, and the remaining 3% follow traditional indigenous beliefs, Hinduism, Baha'i, and Judaism. Some Muslims and Christians believe that the Muslim community is larger than the government numbers reflect.
Of the Christian population, the Roman Catholic Church has the largest number of followers with 42%, the Anglican Church has an estimated 36%, and the Evangelical and Pentecostal claim the rest. Evangelical and Pentecostal churches are very active. The Muslim population is primarily Sunni. Traditional indigenous beliefs are practiced in some rural areas and are sometimes blended with or practiced alongside Christianity or Islam. Indian nationals are the most significant immigrant population; members of this community are primarily Shi'a Muslim followers of the Aga Khan or practice Hinduism. The northern and West Nile regions are predominantly Catholic, while Iganga District in eastern Uganda has the highest percentage of Muslims. The rest of the country has a mix of religious affiliations.
There were few reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice.
The 1995 constitution established Uganda as a republic with an executive, legislative, and judicial branch. The constitution provides for an executive president, to be elected every 5 years. President Yoweri Museveni, in power since 1986, was elected in 1996 and reelected in 2001 and 2006. Legislative responsibility is vested in the parliament; legislative elections were last held in February 2006. There currently are 332 members of parliament, of which 79 are women. The Ugandan judiciary operates as an independent branch of government and consists of magistrate's courts, high courts, courts of appeals, and the Supreme Court. Parliament and the judiciary have significant amounts of independence and wield significant power.
Principal Government Officials
- President and Commander in Chief--Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
- Vice President--Edward Ssekandi
- Prime Minister—Ruhakana Rugunda
- Foreign Minister--Sam Kutesa
- Minister of Defense--Crispus Kiyonga
- Ambassador to the United States--Perezi K. Kamunanwire
Since assuming power, Museveni and his government have largely put an end to the human rights abuses of earlier governments and initiated substantial economic liberalization and general freedom of the press, due to economic pressures from international governments such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), which seeks to overthrow the Ugandan Government, has murdered and kidnapped civilians in the north and east since 1986. Although the LRA does not threaten the stability of the government, LRA violence at one time displaced up to 1.7 million people, creating a humanitarian catastrophe, particularly when they were forced into internally displaced persons (IDP) camps for their own protection. The Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDEF) launched "Operation Iron Fist" against LRA rebels in northern Uganda in 2002 and conducted operations against LRA sanctuaries in southern Sudan with the permission of the Sudanese Government. The Sudanese Government had previously supported the LRA.
There have been significant new developments in this conflict since January 2006. With the signing of the Sudanese "Comprehensive Peace Agreement," the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) was created. To protect this fragile peace from LRA incursions in southern Sudan, Riek Machar, a GOSS Vice President, launched efforts to broker a peace agreement between the Government of Uganda and the LRA in July 2006. Those talks are ongoing and represent the first time there has been meaningful progress in ending this conflict. As a result, many northern Ugandans are leaving the IDP camps and returning to their villages.
In 1998, Uganda deployed a sizable military force to the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.), ostensibly to prevent attacks from Ugandan rebel groups operating there. There were widespread allegations that Ugandan military and civilian officials were involved in the illegal exploitation of Congolese natural resources. After much international pressure, Uganda withdrew its troops from the D.R.C. in June 2003. Relations with the D.R.C., however, continue to be frosty. When the LRA left southern Sudan and relocated to eastern Congo in September 2005, Museveni threatened to enter the D.R.C. and "go after" the LRA if neither Congo nor the UN peacekeepers in the region would take action. The recent peace talks have taken a lot of steam out of those threats, however, and Uganda seems focused on seeing the talks to conclusion.
The Ugandan Government generally seeks good relations with other nations without reference to ideological orientation. Relations with Rwanda, Congo and Sudan have sometimes been strained because of security concerns. President Museveni has been highly active in attempts to implement a peace agreement Burundi and has supported peace initiatives in Sudan and Somalia.
In the past, neighbors were concerned about Uganda's relationship with Libya, which had supplied military equipment and bartered fuel to Uganda. In addition to its friendly ties to Western nations, Uganda has maintained friendly ties with North Korea. Uganda has strained relations with Sudan because of past Sudanese support for the LRA. The LRA seeks to overthrow the Uganda Government and has inflicted brutal violence on the population in northern Uganda, including rape, kidnapping, torture, and murder. In 2002 Uganda and Sudan reestablished diplomatic ties and signed a protocol permitting the UPDF to enter southern Sudan and engage the LRA. The protocol ought to be renewed periodically.
Another rebel group operating in western Uganda and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, near the Rwenzori Mountains, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), emerged as a threat in 1996 and wields considerable power over the local population. It has largely been defeated by the UPDF and the affected areas of western Uganda have been secured. Remnants of the ADF remain in eastern Congo.
The Uganda Peoples Defense Force (UPDF)--previously the National Resistance Army—constitutes the armed forces of Uganda. Prior to 2000, U.S. military forces participated with the UPDF in training activities under the African Crisis Response Initiative. U.S. military assistance was terminated in 2000 as a result of the Ugandan incursion into the D.R.C. Following the June 2003 UPDF withdrawal of troops from the D.R.C., the U.S. restarted limited nonlethal military assistance.
Uganda's economy has great potential. Endowed with significant natural resources, including huge tracts of land, regular rainfall, and mineral deposits, it appeared poised for rapid economic growth and development at independence. However, chronic political instability and erratic economic management produced a record of persistent economic decline that left Uganda among the world's poorest and least-developed countries.
Since assuming power in early 1986, Museveni's government has taken important steps toward economic rehabilitation. The country's infrastructure — notably its transportation and communications systems, which had been destroyed by war and neglect — is being rebuilt. Recognizing the need for increased external support, Uganda negotiated a paper policy framework with the IMF and the World Bank in 1987. It subsequently began implementing economic policies designed to restore price stability and sustainable balance of payments, improve capacity utilization, rehabilitate infrastructure, restore producer incentives through proper price policies, and improve resource mobilization and allocation in the public sector. These policies produced positive results. Inflation, which ran at 240% in 1987 and 42% in June 1992, was 5.4% for fiscal year 1995–96 and 5.1% in 2003. In 2008 it was a mere 3.2%.
Investment as a percentage of GDP was estimated at 20.3% in 2003 compared to 13.7% in 1999. Private sector investment, largely financed by private transfers from abroad, was 14.9% of GDP in 2002. Gross national savings as a percentage of GDP was estimated at 6.4% in 2003. The Ugandan Government has also worked with donor countries to reschedule or cancel substantial portions of the country's external debts.
Agricultural products supply nearly all of Uganda's foreign exchange earnings, with coffee (of which Uganda is Africa's leading producer) accounting for about 19% and fish 17% of the country's exports in 2002. Exports of non-traditional products, including apparel, hides, skins, vanilla, vegetables, fruits, cut flowers, and fish are growing, while traditional exports cotton, tea, and tobacco continue to be mainstays.
Most industry is related to agriculture. The industrial sector is being rehabilitated to resume production of building and construction materials, such as cement, reinforcing rods, corrugated roofing sheets, and lead paint. Domestically produced consumer goods include plastics, soap, cork, beer, and soft drinks.
Uganda has about 30,000 kilometers (18,750 mi.), of roads; some 2,800 kilometers (1,750 mi.) are paved. Most radiate from Kampala. The country has about 1,350 kilometers (800 mi.) of rail lines. A railroad originating at Mombasa on the Indian Ocean connects with Tororo, where it branches westward to Jinja, Kampala, and Kasese and northward to Mbale, Soroti, Lira, Gulu, and Kapwatch, though the routes west of Kampala and north of Mbale currently are not in use. Uganda's important road and rail links to Mombasa serve its transport needs and also those of its neighbors — Rwanda, Burundi, and parts of the Congo and Sudan. An international airport is at Entebbe on the shores of Lake Victoria, some 20 miles south of Kampala.
- GDP (nominal, 2009): $16.04 billion
- Inflation rate (annual headline or CPI, 2005/2006): 6.6%
- Natural resources: Copper, cobalt, hydropower, limestone, salt, phosphate, oil
- Agriculture: Cash crops: coffee, tea, cotton, tobacco, sugarcane, cut flowers, vanilla. Food crops: bananas, corn, cassava, potatoes, millet, pulses. Livestock and fisheries: beef, goat, meat, milk, Nile perch, tilapia
- Industry: processing of agricultural products (cotton ginning, coffee curing), cement production, light consumer goods, textiles
- Trade: Exports (2009)--$3.1 billion: coffee, fish and fish products, tea, tobacco, textiles, cement, maize, electricity. Major markets--EU, Sudan, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Switzerland, Rwanda. Imports (2009)--$4.3 billion: petroleum, road vehicles, cereals, industrial machinery, iron and steel, medical/pharmaceutical supplies. Major suppliers--EU, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, India, China, Japan.
- Fiscal year: July 1 – June 30 annually
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. 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. A second round of elections in April 1962 elected members to a new National Assembly. Milton Obote, leader of the majority coalition in the National Assembly, became prime minister and led Uganda to formal independence on October 9, 1962.
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 ceremonial 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.
Amin's 8-year rule produced economic decline, social disintegration, and massive human rights violations. The Acholi and Langi ethnic groups were particular objects of Amin's political persecution because they had supported Obote and made up a large part of 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, the armed forces of Tanzania 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 self-imposed exile, the Uganda National Liberation Front formed an interim government with Yusuf Lulz 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 Lulz cabinet reflected widely differing political views. In June 1979, following a dispute over the extent of presidential powers, the NCC replaced Lulz 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. 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 laid 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 ethnic 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 Museveni's insurgent forces 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 and dominated by the political grouping called the National Resistance Movement (NRM or the "Movement").
A referendum was held in March 2000 on whether Uganda should retain the Movement system, with limited operation of political parties, or adopt multi-party politics. Although 70% of voters endorsed retention of the Movement system, the referendum was widely criticized for low voter turnout and unfair restrictions on Movement opponents. Museveni was re-electedA to a second five-year term in March 2001. Parliamentary elections were held in June 2001, and more than 50% of contested seats were won by newcomers. Movement supporters nevertheless remained in firm control of the legislative branch. Observers believed that the 2001 presidential and parliamentary elections generally reflected the will of the electorate; however, both were marred by serious irregularities, particularly in the period leading up to the elections, such as restrictions on political party activities, incidents of violence, voter intimidation, and fraud.
A Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) issued a report proposing comprehensive constitutional change in December 2003. The government, however, took issue with many CRC recommendations and made counter-proposals in September 2004. A July 2005 national referendum resulted in the adoption of a multiparty system of government and the subsequent inclusion of opposition parties in elections and government.
In February 2006, the country held its first multiparty general elections since President Museveni came to power in 1986. The election generally reflected the will of the people, although serious irregularities occurred. Ruling NRM candidate President Museveni was declared the winner with 59.26% of the vote, giving him a third term in office following the passage of a controversial amendment in June 2005 to eliminate presidential term limits. Opposition FDC leader Kizza Besigye captured 37.39% of the vote, while the remaining contestants received less than 2% of the vote each, according to official figures from the Electoral Commission.
Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009
In 2009, Parliament member David Bahati submitted a bill before the Parliament of Uganda which would have introduced the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality", including cases where at least one participant was a minor, or those who repeated offenders, HIV positive, or disabled. In addition, the bill required anyone who had knowledge about a homosexual person to turn them over to authorities or face prosecution themselves. People in Uganda already face life in prison for sodomy. The bill also criminalizes the promotion of homosexuality, thereby making it illegal to protest the measures once they are passed.
Most HIV infection in Africa occurs through heterosexual contact, so arguments in favor of Uganda's action on that count carry little weight. Various high-profile politicians around the world including President Obama, pressured the Ugandan parliament to drop the legislation. The Ugandan Parliament adjourned in May 2011 without debating the bill.
|License:||This work is in the Public Domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States Federal Government under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the U.S. Code|
|Source:||File available from the United States Federal Government.|
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