Facts and History

  • Facts

    Set at the equator, Uganda is made up of four regions(Central, Eastern, Northern and Western) on an area of 236, 580 sq km, with its capital at Kampala.

    The country is fortunate to harbour Lake Victoria, the second largest lake in the world forming the source of the Nile, the second largest river in the world.

    Population

    Approximately 31,367, 972 (2008 est) with a 3.6 percent population growth.

    People and culture

    Uganda has long been a cultural melting pot, as evidenced by the existence of more than 30 different indigenous languages belonging to five distinct linguistic groups, and an equally diverse cultural mosaic of music, art and handicrafts.
    Back to top

    Common Languages

    • English(Official language)
    • Kiswahili
    • Luganda
    • Runyankole,Rukiga or Rutoro

    Back to top

    Religions

    • Roman catholic (41%)
    • Anglican (40%)
    • Islam (5%)
    • Other beliefs (14%)

    Back to top

    Climate

    Uganda experiences a temperate climate even though the majority of the country is within the Tropics with temperatures between 16 - 26'C for the majority of the year(April - November). However, during the warmer months (December - March) temperatures reach in excess of 30'C.
    Back to top

    Governance

    The Republic of Uganda is a sovereign democratic state governed by the 1995 Constitution. The President is Head of State and the Executive comprising of 26 government Ministers. Voting qualifications are universal, for those above 18 years of age.
    Back to top

    Economic profile and Currency

    Consistently ranked among Africa’s fastest growing economies since 1986, Uganda has experienced a steady expansion of infrastructure and a corresponding increase in international investment and tourism.
    We use the Ugandan Shilling (UGX).
    Back to top

    Major holidays

     

    • New Year's Day - 1 January
    • NRM Liberation Day - 26 January
    • Easter Sunday, Good Friday - March - April
    • Martyrs' Day - 3 June
    • Heroes Day - 9 June
    • Independence - 9 October
    • Christmas Day - 25 December
    • Boxing Day - 26 December

    History


    Brief history

    The earliest human inhabitants in Uganda were hunter-gathers. Remnants of these people are today to be found among the pygmies in western Uganda. Approximately 2000 to 1500 years ago, Bantu speaking populations from central and western Africa migrated and occupied most of the southern parts of the country. The migrants brought with them agriculture, ironworking skills and new ideas of social and political organization, that by the 15th - 16th century resulted in the development of centralized kingdoms, including the kingdoms of Buganda, Bunyoro-Kitara and Ankole.
    Back to top

    Colonial Uganda

    In 1888, control of the emerging British "sphere of interest" in East Africa was assigned by royal charter to William Mackinnon's Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEACO), 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, Uganda was placed under a formal British protectorate.
    Back to top

    Early independent Uganda

    Britain granted independence to Uganda in 1962, and the first elections were held on 1st March 1961. Benedicto Kiwanuka of the Democratic Party became the first Chief Minister. Uganda became a republic the following year when it gained its independence on 9th October 1962 thus acquiring its Commonwealth membership. Sir Edward Mutweesa II was appointed as the first president..

    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 Apollo Milton Obote suspended the constitution and assumed all government powers, removing the positions of 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.
    Back to top

    Uganda under Idi Amin Dada

    On 25 January 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 eight years’ rule produced economic decline, social disintegration, and massive human rights violations. 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 as high as 300,000--a statistic cited at the end of the 2006 movie “The Last King of Scotland”, which chronicled part of Amin's dictatorship.

    A border altercation involving Ugandan exiles camped close to the Ugandan border of Mutukula resulted in an advance by the Ugandan army into Tanzania. In October 1978, Tanzanian armed forces countered an incursion of Amin's troops into Tanzanian territory. The Tanzanian army, backed by Ugandan exiles waged a war of liberation against Amin's troops and the Libyan soldiers sent to help him. On 11 April 1979, Kampala was captured, and Amin fled with his remaining forces.
    Back to top

    Uganda between 1979 - 1986

    After Amin's removal, the Uganda National Liberation Front formed an interim government with Yusuf Lule as president and Jeremiah Lucas Opira as the Secretary General of the UNLF 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 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 Milton 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.
    Back to top

    Post Liberation war (1986 - 2000)

    Negotiations between the Okello government and the NRA were conducted in Nairobi in the fall of 1985, with Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi seeking a cease-fire and a coalition government in Uganda. Although agreeing in late 1985 to a cease-fire, the NRA continued fighting, and seized Kampala and the country in late January 1986, forcing Okello's forces 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 Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his followers, the National Resistance Movement (NRM or the "Movement"), has largely put an end to the human rights abuses of earlier governments, 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.
    Back to top

    List of Presidents of Uganda since 1962

     

    List of presidents and period in power
    PresidentPeriod
    Sir Edward Mutesa II 1962 - 1966
    Apollo Milton Obote (Obote I) 1966 - 1971
    Idi Amin Dada 1971 - 1979
    Yusuf Kironde Lule 13 April 1979 - 20 June 1979
    Godfrey Lukongwa Binaisa 1979 - 1980
    Paul Muwanga 12 May 1980 - 22 May 1980
    Apollo Milton Obote (Obote II) 1980 - 1985
    Tito Okello Lutwa 1985 - 1986
    Yoweri Kaguta Museveni 1986 to date

     

    Back to top

    Back to top

Share this on



Share this on

     
| More

 

Explore Uganda

Sign up for our eNewsletter

» View our latest Corporate issue
» View our latest Uganda issue

Follow us on

 

Join us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on My Uganda Watch us on YouTube Reviews about Uganda on TripAdvisor.