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« Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #51 of 54: Tunisia | Main | Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #53 of 54: Western Sahara »

August 13, 2006

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #52 of 54: Uganda

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
52. UGANDA
Flag of Uganda

Formal Name: Republic of Uganda.

Term for Citizens: Ugandans

Capital: Kampala. Population: 1, 274, 000.

Date of Independence: October 9, 1962, from Britain.

Major Cities: Entebbe, Kampala.

Geography:

Uganda is in East Africa. It is bordered by Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan, Congo-Kinshasa, and Rwanda. The size of Uganda is 91,135 square miles. The topography is mostly plateau. The highest mountain is Mount Stanley at 5,113 meters. Half of lake Victoria is in Uganda. Uganda’s climate is equatorial; it is divided into two seasons, wet and dry. The South of the country has heavy vegetation and the north is savanna.

Society:

The population of Uganda is estimated at 25, 827,000. 10% is urban and 90% rural. The urban population lives around Kampala and Entebbe.

Ethnic Groups:

Uganda is composed of Bantu speakers, Central Sudanic, and Nilotic peoples. English and Swahili are the official languages.

Religion:

70% of Ugandans identify themselves as Christians. About 20% are Muslims, and the rest indigenous believers.

Education: Literacy rate is estimated at 69.9%.

Elementary education is compulsory. Adult literacy rate is 50%.

Economy:

Agriculture constitutes over 90% of economic activity. Uganda is severely handicapped by ongoing political strife. GDP estimate: $31 billion; Per Capita GDP: $1, 260. Monetary Unit: Shilling (UGS).

History and Government:

Uganda, like many African countries, is composed of many ethnic groups. The colonial power, Britain, held these restive groups together with a strong arm. Upon independence, the various groups jockeyed for power. This led to political instability and the military intervened and removed the elected prime minister. Tanzania, in turn, intervened and chased out the brutal rule of the military leader, Idi Amin Dada. A civil war ensued. Mr. Museveni’s faction seem to have won over the other combatants and returned some stability to the country, although in the northern part of the country a civil war still rages. A self proclaimed prophetess and what she calls the Lord’s Army is waging a bloody war against the central government. Uganda is divided into 34 districts, 150 counties and 129 municipalities. At present, the national government is divided into three branches, legislative, executive and judicial. The President, Yoweri Museveni appears the strongest of the three branches of government.



CONTEMPORARY HISTORY AND POLITICS


The original people of Uganda were the pygmies. The Bantus came to the area during the great Bantu expansion. Uganda is composed of Bantu and Nilotic groups.

There is evidence of some Arab presence before the coming of Europeans. Be that as it may, however, the modern history of Uganda began with the coming of Europeans in the 19th century.

In the 1860s, British explorers, searching for the source of the Nile, explored what is now called Uganda. In their wake came Protestant and Catholic missionaries. These tried to convert the Kabaka, the king of the Bugandans, who was alleged to engage in gross homosexuality, and had to have sex with men who came o his throne for favors, and were massacred.

In 1894, Britain declared Uganda a protectorate and took control from the British East African company, a company that was hitherto chartered to exercise jurisdiction in the area.
In 1962 Uganda was given independence and Milton Obote became the Prime Minister. Soon, Obote did away with the constitution and declared him the president in 1966.

In 1971 Idi Amin led a military coup that disposed Obote. Amin ruled until 1979 when he was chased out of office with the help of Tanzanian troops. Obote briefly returned to power but was chased out of office by General Tito Okello, who, in turn, was chased away by Yoweri Museveni in 1986.

Mr. Museveni is still in power. Of course, he wrote a constitution calling for multi party participation in elections; of course, he harassed his opponents, jailed them or chased them out of the country, and, of course, he won subsequent elections. That is African politics, of course.

Uganda is divided into 70 districts (within four administrative areas).

The Ugandan economy is beginning to harness the substantial natural resources that the country is blessed with (such as copper, cobalt) and, of course, agriculture. After many years of wars, the economy is settling down to exploiting the utilization of resources.

Regardless of how Museveni got to power and keeps himself in power, if he delivers economic kudos, perhaps, he can be excused? We are talking about Africa and whatever little good comes out of it is appreciated.

Ozodi@africainstituteseattle.org

Posted by Administrator at August 13, 2006 12:45 PM

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