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Uganda ABC
2004-10-28

QUICK FACTS - GEOGRAPHY

Background                            

Uganda is a landlocked country, bordered by Sudan to the North, DRC to the west, Rwanda and Tanzania to the South, and Kenya to the East. Lying astride the equator between latitudes 4deg.0' North and 1deg.30' South of the equator, and longitudes 30deg.0' East and 35deg.0' East of Greenwich, covering an area of 242,554 sq.km.

Topographically much of Uganda can be classified as a plateau, with numerous small hills and valleys and extensive savanna plains. The entire country lies above 900m above sea level generally sloping from South to North. The country lies in a cradle of Mountains on its East Border with Kenya, Mount Elgon, and Mount Moroto in the North East, and the South-Western Rwenzori Ranges rising to altitudes over 2000m. Uganda is a well-watered country with close to 17% or 51,000 sq.km. of its area dedicated to swamp or open water. Much of the country lies in the 'Interlacustrine Region' (Between the lakes) of Africa. This region receives abundant rainfall, and is rich in tillable land, a major determining factor in settlement of the area.

Vegetation in Uganda is extremely diverse a result of the different microclimates of the country. Vegetation zones can be roughly classified according to the rainfall zones and are generally: Lake region, Northern Region, and the Highlands of the Southeast. These are defined according to the climate of the particular areas.

Location

Uganda is a landlocked country in Eastern Africa, west of Kenya, with Geographic coordinates 1 00 N, 32 00 E

Surface Area

Uganda with a total surface area of 236,040 sq km is covered with 36,330 sq km water and 199,710 sq km land.

Land boundaries

With a total border measure of 2,698 km with the following border countries; Democratic Republic of the Congo 765 km, Kenya 933 km, Rwanda 169 km, Sudan 435 km, Tanzania 396 km.

Climate

Uganda's climate is tropical; generally rainy with two dry seasons (December to February, June to August); semiarid in northeast

The climate of Uganda cannot be categorized into any single climatic zone, although it has been generally categorized as a 'Modified Tropical' climate. Its central location on the East African Plateau is a major determining factor in the local climate. In reality Uganda has three sub-climatic zones differentiated mainly by altitude and rainfall. Weather data from the following towns are representative of the three regions:

Entebbe - Latitude 00deg.03'N; Longitude 32deg.27'E. Elevation 1,146m (Lake Region):

Gulu - Latitude 02deg.45'N; Longitude 32deg.20' E (Northern Savanna). Elevation 1,109m;

Kabale - Latitude 01deg.15'S; Longitude 29deg.59' E (Southern Highlands). Elevation 1,871m.

Climate of Kampala

Kampala, (0deg.20' N, 32deg.30' E ) is the largest urban center in Uganda, accounting for 800,000 (1993 estimate) persons or 47% of the urban population. Kampala is located on the Northern shores of Lake Victoria- N'yanza at an altitude of 1,310 meters above sea level. (Map 2) The climate of Kampala is typical of an inland tropical city, modified by altitude, and distance from the sea. The mean temperature of the city is 22deg.C, with a mean maximum of 27deg.C and a mean minimum of 17deg.C, a diurnal range of 10deg.C. The temperature however does vary quite significantly, and temperatures up to 35deg.C and down to 12deg.C are not uncommon. The average humidity over the year is 75% typically high in the morning and low in the afternoon. Daily sunshine hours ranges form a low of 5.7 hours a day during the month of July, to 7.7 hours a day during January (a mean of 6.5 hours per day). Four winds are recognized;

Southeast Monsoons

Northerly dry current (Across Egypt and Sudan)

North-Easterly Moist Current

Westerly (Varies from North-West to South-West)

Rain fall maxima are associate with the onset of the South-East Monsoons and the North-Easterly Moist Current, both associated with the annual movement of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Average rainfall for the city is about 1174mm, most falling during the two wet seasons of March to May, and October to November. Dry seasons are December to February and June to July.

Terrain

The terrain is mostly plateau with rim of mountains. The lowest point: Lake Albert 621 m highest point: Margherita Peak on Mount Stanley 5,110 m

Natural resources

Copper, cobalt, hydropower, limestone, salt, arable land

Land use

About 25.34% of the land surface is used for arable farming, permanent crops occupying 8.77% and others 65.89% Irrigated land covering 90 sq km

Environment

There are currently several environmental issues the country is dealing with among which are; draining of wetlands for agricultural use; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; water hyacinth infestation in Lake Victoria; poaching is widespread.

its worth noting the various environmental agreements Uganda is a party to i.e. Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification.

QUICK FACTS - HISTORY

Background

There is a legend documented by John Hanning Speke of how Uganda got its name.

Uganda was the name of a prodigious hunter who came from Unyoro. He was a poor man who hunted to feed his family and was so successful, that he was soon feeding people all around.

He was eventually named Kimera, the first King of Buganda.

Pre-colonial

There are four main ethnic groups in Uganda which all have different origins. By far the largest in number, the Bantus, who came from the west, include the tribes of Buganda, Banyankole, Basoga, Bakiga, Batoro, Banyoro, Banyarwanda, Bagisu, Bagwere and Bakonjo.

The Nilotics, who came from the north, include the Lango, Acholi, Alur, Padhola, Lulya and Jonam.

The NiloHamitics include the Teso, Karamojong, Kumam, Kakwa, Sebei, Pokot, Labwor and Tepeth and the Sudanics include the Lugbara, Madi and Lendu.

The pre-colonial history of these tribes is not well recorded, genealogy being the only method employed by the early settlers in the area. At the time of the first exploration of Uganda there were three main kingdoms, each ruled by a Monarch and laws and customs of their own. The kingdoms of Buganda, Kitara (sub-divided into Bunyoro and Toro) and Karagwe are all well documented by the early explorers.

The general opinion is that these kingdoms originated around the sixteenth century, the land before that probably being occupied by Bushmen. The Bantus originated from the west coast of Africa, migrating along the Niger River, they occupied the northern, central and western parts of Uganda. The eastern part of Uganda, occupied some 250 years ago by the Nilo-Hamitic tribes never formed a kingdom because the people were nomadic and the area as not well suited to agriculture.

The different tribes got their names either from their leaders or some peculiarity in their customs or origins. The Karamojong for instance (aikar-to stay; imojong old men) the tired old men who stayed behind.

Indigenous kingdoms popped up in Uganda in the 14th century. Among them were the Buganda, Bunyoro, Toro, Ankole and Busoga. Over the following centuries, the Buganda people created the dominant kingdom. The tribes had plenty of time to work out their hierarchies, as there was very little penetration of Uganda from the outside until the 19th century. Despite the fertility of the land and its capacity to grow surplus crops, there were virtually no trading links with the East African coast. Contacts were finally made with Arab traders and European explorers in the mid-19th century - the latter came in search of ivory and slaves.

Colonial Era

After the Treaty of Berlin in 1890 defined the various European countries' spheres of influence in Africa, Uganda, Kenya and the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba became British protectorates. The colonial administrators introduced coffee and cotton as cash crops and adopted a policy of indirect rule, giving the traditional kingdoms considerable autonomy, but favoring the recruitment of Buganda tribespeople for the civil service. A few thousand Bugandan chiefs received huge estates from the British, on the basis of which they made fortunes. Other tribespeople, unable to get jobs in the colonial administration or make inroads in the Buganda-dominated commercial sector, were forced to seek other ways of gaining influence. The Acholi and Lango, for example, were dominant in the military. Thus were planted the seeds for the intertribal conflicts that were to tear Uganda apart following independence.

Independence & Post Independence Era

One of the thorniest problems that bedeviled the relationship between Uganda's peoples was the dispute between Buganda and Bunyoro, the largest of the western kingdoms, over the "Lost counties". At the turn of the century the British, in attempt to punish the Bunyoro King (Omukama Kabarega), ceded some of the territories to Buganda. Omukama of Bunyoro had revolted against the British in the 1890s.

At the London Constitutional Conference in 1961 it was agreed that the fate of these "Lost Counties" would be resolved by referendum two years after independence. In 1964 the Obote government went ahead with the referendum two years after the independence, in the face of fierce opposition from Buganda. The people of the "Lost Counties" voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Bunyoro. The Kabaka of Buganda was furious and in an unsuccessful attempt to reverse the decision, he refused to ratify the results of the referendum.

Although this disagreement precipitated the collapse of the UPC - Kabaka Yekka alliance, the UPC's parliamentary position was in fact strengthened by defections to it from both the KY and the DP. The defections from KY were calculated move by Buganda politicians who were becoming increasingly disenchanted by the obscurantism of the Buganda establishment and believed that Buganda ought to be more outward looking in its national politics.

A loose coalition led Uganda to independence in 1962 promising that the Buganda would have autonomy. It wasn't a particularly advantageous time for Uganda to come to grips with independence. Civil wars were raging in neighboring southern Sudan, Zaire (now Congo) and Rwanda, and refugees poured into the country. It also soon became obvious that Obote had no intention of sharing power with the kabaka (the Bugandan king). Obote ordered his army chief of staff, Idi Amin, to storm the kabaka's palace. Obote became president, the Bugandan monarchy was abolished and Idi Amin's star was on the rise. But events soon started to go seriously wrong. Obote rewrote the constitution to consolidate virtually all powers in the presidency. He then began to nationalize, without compensation, US$500 million worth of foreign assets. In 1969, Amin was implicated in a financial scandal and he responded to the bad press by staging a coup. Obote fled and so began Uganda's first reign of terror.

The army was empowered to shoot on sight anyone suspected of opposing the regime. Over the next eight years an estimated 300,000 Ugandans lost their lives. Amin's main targets were the Acholi and Lango tribespeople, the professional classes and the country's 70,000-strong Asian community. In 1972 the Asians - many of whom had come from other British colonies to work Uganda's plantations as far back as 1912 - were given 90 days to leave the country with nothing but the clothes they wore.

Meanwhile the economy collapsed, infrastructure crumbled, the country's prolific wildlife was machine-gunned by soldiers for meat, ivory and skins, and the tourism industry evaporated. The stream of refugees across the border became a flood. Inflation hit 1000%, and towards the end the treasury was so bereft of funds that it was unable to pay the soldiers. Faced with a restless army wracked by intertribal fighting, Amin foolishly chose to go to war with Tanzania. The Tanzanians rolled into the heart of Uganda. Amin fled to Libya. The 12,000 or so Tanzanian soldiers who remained in Uganda, supposedly to help with the country's reconstruction and to maintain law and order, turned on the Ugandans.

In 1980 the government was taken over by a military commission, which set a presidential election date for Uganda later that year. Obote returned from exile in Tanzania to an enthusiastic welcome in many parts of the country and swept to victory in a blatantly rigged election. Like Amin, Obote favored certain tribes. Large numbers of civil servants and army and police commanders belonging to southern tribes were replaced with Obote supporters from the north, and the prisons began filling once more. Reports of atrocities leaked out of the country and several mass graves were discovered. In mid-1985 Obote was overthrown in an army coup led by Tito Okello.

Shortly after Obote became president in 1980, a guerrilla army opposed to his tribally biased government was formed in western Uganda. It was led by Yoweri Museveni, who had lived in exile in Tanzania during Amin's reign. From a group of 27 grew a guerrilla force of about 20,000, many of them orphaned teenagers. In the early days few gave the guerrillas, known as the National Resistance Army (NRA), much of a chance, but by the time Obote was ousted and Okello had taken over, the NRA controlled a large slice of western Uganda. Fighting proceeded in earnest between the NRA and Okello government troops, and by January 1986 it was clear that Okello's days were numbered. The NRA launched an all-out offensive and took the capital.

Despite Museveni's Marxist leanings, he proved to be a pragmatic leader, appointing several archconservatives to his cabinet and making an effort to reassure the country's influential Catholic community. Meanwhile, almost 300,000 Ugandan refugees returned from across the Sudanese border. The economy took a turn for the better and aid and investment began returning to the country.

Museveni won democratic 'no-party' elections in 1994 and again in 1996 and 2001. One of Museveni's major challenges in the late 1990s was the north, which was plagued by various anti-government rebel factions such as the bizarre Christian group known as the Lords Resistance Army, allied with Sudan's Islamic government, and the West Nile Bank Front, led by Idi Amin's former minister. Today the country's levels of AIDS and HIV infection are among the highest in the world, with a conservative estimate of 1.5 million Ugandans infected; in some villages the infection rate is as high as one person in every four.

The 1996 elections were seen as Uganda's final step on the road to rehabilitation and the country was rewarded by a visit from US President Bill Clinton in 1998, despite its blemished human rights record. In August 1999, Uganda signed onto the Congo peace agreement.

UGANDA - DISTRICT DIVISIONS & CITIES

 

Uganda is divided into 56 districts, listed below. The districts are all named after their chief city. Other districts are just new additions having been created on dividing some districts. Do click on a specific district to visit respective sites.

Uganda presently has 56 Districts. Uganda has experienced a number of changes from the time when it was declared a British Protectorate in 1860. A number of developments have occurred in the areas of social, economic and political establishment. However the area that has seen significant changes is the political governance of Uganda.

Since 1962, when Uganda attained he independence from the British Uganda has so far seen a total number of 7 Presidents with 8 regimes

UCC launches the first ever District Information Portal (DIP).

This portal is the first of its kind in Uganda and is aimed at providing vital and updated information about the activities, aspirations and opportunities in any of the 26 underserved districts of Uganda.

This portal is the first of its kind in Uganda and is aimed at providing vital and updated information about the activities, aspirations and opportunities in any of the 26 underserved districts of Uganda. UCC launches the first ever district information Portal. This portal is the first of its kind in Uganda and is aimed at providing vital and updated information about the activities, aspirations and opportunities in any of the 26 underserved districts of Uganda. Go to Districts Information Portal here >>

Adjumani

Kotido

Apac

Kumi

Arua

Lira

Bugiri

Luwero

Bundibugyo

Masaka

Bushenyi

Masindi

Busia

Mbale

Gulu

Mbarara

Hoima

Moroto

Iganga

Moyo

Jinja

Mpigi

Kabale

Mubende

Kabarole

Mukono

Kalangala

Nakasongola

Kampala

Nebbi

Kamuli

Ntungamo

Kapchorwa

Pader

Kasese

Pallisa

Katakwi

Rakai

Kibale

Rukungiri

Kiboga

Sembabule

Kisoro

Soroti

Kitgum

Tororo

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GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA

Background | Past Leaders | History | Military | Post Independence

On the 9th October, Ugandans celebrated 39 years of Uganda's Independence.

The government of the Republic of Uganda governed on the principles of the concept of Movement System. The core virtues underlying the Movement Systems is that it is all embracing and all inclusive.

Enshrined in the country's Constitution, the government of Uganda stands on the following corner stones - "Of the People, For the People and By the People" These three pillars of democracy are espoused by the composition of Uganda's Government, comprising of three arms of state namely: The Executive, The Legislature and The Judiciary.

The government of Uganda has experienced a number of changes right from the day when Uganda gained her independence from the British government on 9th October 1962. The first government was headed by Dr. Apollo Milton Obote who was the Prime Minister and Sir Edward Frederick Muteesa, the Kabaka of Buganda as President and the head of the Republic. However, this arrangement was abolished by Milton Obote in 1966 when he ordered the invasion of the Kabaks's Palace and exiled Sir. Edward Muteesa.

The President of the Republic of Uganda:

The president of Uganda, H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was elected to a second year term in on 12th March 2001 and took oath on 11th May 2001. Details >>

Office of the Vice President:

The Vice President of Uganda is Prof. Gilbert Bukenya. His Excellency the Vice President, Prof. Gilbert Balibaseka Bukenya, is a distinguished scholar and Doctor of Medicine, and an outstanding leader of solid grounding Prof. Gilbert Bukenya replaces out going Vice President Dr. Speciaosa Wandira Kazibwe, another Medical Doctor, who served as Vice President from November 1994 - May 2003.

The Vice President has various roles, but H.E Dr. S.W.Kazibwe has focused on follows;

  • Chairing meetings of the Cabinet Committee on Restructuring.
  • Chair meetings of the Presidential Economic Council.
  • Read/study necessary material.
  • Hold meetings for sourcing ideas. Details >>
  • The Chief Justice:

    The National Political Commissar:

    The Prime Minister's Office:

    The Prime Minister, of Uganda is Rt. Hon. Apollo Nsibambi. The Prime Minister is charged with several function among which are;

  • Coordinate government programs
  • Lead government business in Parliament
  • Monitor and evaluate performance of Ministers
  • ยท Monitor and evaluate activities of NGOs in the country Details >>

    The Inspector General of Government

    The population of Uganda is 23,000,000 according to 2000 estimates.

    Kampala city, the capital is about 2,000,000.Details >>

    The Auditor General

    The Army Commander

    The Inspector General of Police:

    The Commissioner of Prisons

    Read about the Cabinet, Ministries, Ministers of State, Government Organs

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