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Uganda é um país da África Oriental. A capital é Kampala. A principal religião é o Cristianismo. As línguas principais são o Kiswahili, o Inglês, o Buganda e o Banyoro. As fronteiras coloniais criadas pela Grã-Bretanha para delimitar Uganda agruparam uma grande variedade de grupos étnicos com diferentes sistemas políticos e culturas. Estas diferenças impediram a criação de uma comunidade política operante após a independência ser conseguida em 1962. O regime ditatorial de Idi Amin (1971-79) foi responsável pela morte de cerca de 300.000 opositores; a guerra de guerrilha e os abusos de direitos humanos sob Milton Obote (1980-85) reivindicaram pelo menos mais 100.000 vidas. O governo de Yoweri Museveni desde 1986 trouxe uma relativa estabilidade e crescimento econômico para Uganda. Durante a década de 1990, o governo promulgou eleições presidenciais e legislativas não-partidárias. Em Janeiro de 2009, Uganda assumiu um assento não-permanente no Conselho de Segurança das Nações Unidas para o período 2009-10.


"Where is the source of the Nile?" This question fascinated 19th-century European explorers in Africa. Years passed, lives were lost, and a great deal of money was spent before the answer was found—Lake Victoria in Uganda. When John Hanning Speke and James Grant discovered the source of the White Nile in 1862, they also guaranteed a continuing European interest in Uganda. In addition to affecting Uganda's history, this European interest in the Nile and Uganda's position in relation to the river eventually changed the whole course of East African history.


Uganda is a country in East Africa. Great lakes, one of the world's major rivers, snowcapped mountains, and an enormous valley are all found there. What is lacking is a seacoast—Uganda is landlocked in the center of the East African plateau.

Along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, the deep trough of the Great Rift Valley cuts through Uganda. A number of lakes—including Edward, Albert, and George—dot the valley floor. Between Lakes Edward and Albert, the Ruwenzori Mountains rise to over 16,000 ft. (4,875 m.) along the Great Rift Valley scarp. It is thought that the Ruwenzori are the fabled Mountains of the Moon that ancient geographers often mentioned. Along the Rwanda border, the Virunga Range, which contains some still-active volcanoes, rises to heights of over 14,000 ft. (4,260 m.).

Stretching north and east from the Great Rift Valley and the mountains, most of Uganda is a plateau ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 ft. (900 to 1,500 m.). This altitude gives Uganda a pleasant climate, with little variation in temperature during the year. Throughout the southern portion of the country, rainfall is usually plentiful the year round, but in the north, much less rain falls, and there is a dry season during June and July.

Lake Victoria, the source of the White Nile, dominates southeastern Uganda. With an area of 91,111 sq. mi. (236,040 sq. km.), it is second in size only to Lake Superior in North America. The Nile leaves Victoria at Jinja, and flows west through Lake Kyoga to Lake Albert. This stretch of the river is known as the Victoria Nile, and, on its journey to Lake Albert, it drops over 130 ft. (40 m.) through a spectacular gorge at Murchison Falls. Once it leaves Lake Albert and turns north toward Sudan, the river becomes known as the Albert Nile.

North of Lake Victoria on the Kenyan border, Mount Elgon, a solitary extinct volcano, rises to a height of 14,178 ft. (4,321 m.). Its slopes are among the most fertile agricultural lands in Uganda.

Cities.   A growing number of rural Ugandans are leaving the countryside for the city, but urbanites are still a minority in Uganda. The capital city, Kampala, like Rome, is said to stand on seven hills. Kampala is the largest city in Uganda, and a center for commerce and manufacturing. The city is also the traditional capital of the kingdom of Buganda.

Just a few miles from Kampala, along the shore of Lake Victoria, is Entebbe, the old British colonial capital. Uganda's international airport at Entebbe was the scene of a daring rescue of hijacked airplane passengers by Israeli commandos in 1976. Jinja, the second-largest city in Uganda, lies on the banks of the Victoria Nile. Owen Falls Dam, inaugurated in 1954, provides power for Jinja's industries.


Uganda has a population of close to 37 million. Among the major groups are the Bantu, Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, and Sudanese peoples. The Nile River acts as a dividing line between the Bantu and the Nilores and Nilo-Hamites. The Bantu generally are found south of the river, and the other groups to the north. English is Uganda's official national language; it is taught in grade schools and used in courts of law and by most newspapers. Ganda or Luganda (the most widely used of the Niger-Congo languages) is preferred for native-language publications in the capital. Also spoken are other Niger-Congo languages, Nilo-Saharan languages, Swahili, and Arabic.

The Bantu

Among the Bantu, the Ganda are the largest group. They live in the area around Kampala and Entebbe, along Lake Victoria. For centuries, Ganda society was organized into a kingdom called Buganda. The kingdom was ruled by a kabaka (king). Under British colonial administration, Buganda was permitted to keep its monarch and its traditional institutions. But in 1966, after a long conflict between the central government of Uganda and the kingdom, the kabaka was forced into exile, and the kingdom was abolished in 1967. Buganda and Uganda's three other traditional kingdoms were restored in 1993, but the monarchs were not allowed to engage in political activities.

As in the past, most of the Ganda today are farmers, living in isolated family homesteads rather than villages or towns. Bananas are the principal food crop, and are cultivated mostly by the women. Coffee and cotton, the cash crops, are cultivated by the men, but at harvesttime the whole family works to gather the crop.

Other important Bantu peoples in Uganda include the Banyoro, the Batoro, and the Banyankole. Like the Ganda, these farming peoples had established kingdoms in precolonial times. The Banyankole also raise long-horned cattle that are famous throughout Africa.

Nilotes and Nilo-Hamites

The Karamojong are a Nilo-Hamitic people who live in the dry savanna of northeastern Uganda. Cattle represent wealth to the Karamojong. Therefore, the number of cows in a herd, rather than their quality, is important. A Karamojong man may be called by the name of his favorite cow, and he often trains the horns of this cow to grow in decorative shapes. A man spends most of his time looking after his cattle, often talking and singing to them. Women raise grain and other foods to supplement the basic diet of milk and blood from the cattle. The Karamojong usually slaughter cattle for meat only on special occasions.

Cattle form the major portion of the bride price, which a man must pay in order to obtain a wife. But the payment does not mean that a man is buying a wife. It is an act that ties the two families together, and it ensures that all the kin will have an interest in keeping the marriage stable.

The great majority of the other Nilotes and Nilo-Hamites in northern Uganda are also herders whose lives are centered around their cattle. Unlike their Bantu neighbors to the south, these herders have never been organized into highly centralized kingdoms. In addition to the Karamojong, other important groups living in northern Uganda include the Acholi, the Alur, the Teso, the Langi, and the Lugbara.

Education.   School attendance is not compulsory in Uganda. Most students still pay fees for higher education. The government phased in free primary education beginning in 1997; it abolished lower secondary school tuition for high-performing students in 2007. This policy quickly doubled the number of students attending primary-school programs, which last for seven years. The six years of secondary school are divided into two cycles of four and two years. At all levels, the educational process is seriously impaired by the perennial shortage of textbooks and teachers.
Makerere University, founded in 1922, is the oldest institution of higher education in East Africa. For decades, Makerere has been serving Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, and other neighbors. Students from Rwanda, Burundi, the Sudan, and Nigeria also came to Makerere. Overseas students included Europeans, Americans, and Japanese.

Religion.   About 85 percent of Ugandans are Christians—almost equally divided between Roman Catholics and Protestants. There is also a significant Muslim minority (12 percent). The remainder of the people largely follow traditional religions. Many of these religions are animistic, and they often involve some form of ancestor worship.


The economic legacy of the rule of Idi Amin in the years from 1971 to 1979 was chaos. In the early 1980s, the country had no functional economy. Uganda, however, is potentially rich, and efforts have been made since the mid-1980s to develop industry and restore the transportation network. Uganda's location at the head of the Nile has great economic implications. The Owen Falls Dam is key to the country's development. The power generated at Owen Falls has supplied much of Uganda's electrical needs, and surplus power had been exported to Kenya. Industries were attracted to Jinja after the dam was built.

Nevertheless, Uganda is basically an agricultural country, and agriculture employs more than 80 percent of the labor force. The major cash crops have been coffee and cotton. Coffee accounted for more than 90 percent of Uganda's exports in the early 1990s. In many African countries, white settlers introduced plantation farming of cash crops. But in Uganda, white settlement was discouraged, and little plantation farming developed. Almost all of the coffee and cotton were grown by Africans; Asians traditionally handled the processing of the crops. Tea and maize are also grown as cash crops.

The most common food crops are bananas, maize, sweet potatoes, and millet. The bananas grown are of two types: the familiar edible fruit and the plantain, or cooking banana. The raising of livestock, mainly cattle, sheep, and goats, is concentrated in the northeastern Karamoja area and in the southwest. Because one-seventh of the country's total area is open water, fishing has always been important economically.

Copper is Uganda's major mineral resource. The copper mines at Kilembe in the Ruwenzori began operations in the 1950s. Copper mining virtually ceased in the late 1970s, although there are efforts to revive it. More recently, significant oil deposits have been located in western Uganda near the shores of Lake Albert.

Before 1971, tourism was a reliable source of income for Uganda; thousands came each year to visit the game parks. After Idi Amin took power, tourism declined because people feared the violence that had spread over Uganda. The tourist industry has not yet recovered.

Until 1977, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania were members of the East African Community. This body had preserved a long tradition of cooperation among the three countries in the fields of transportation, postal services, tax collection, finance, and education. Disbanded for political reasons in 1977, the Community was formally revived in 2002.

The global financial and economic crisis of 2008–2009 hurt Uganda's exports. Moreover, the unrest in Sudan has had an impact, since Sudan is Uganda's chief export partner.


The earliest inhabitants of Uganda were probably pygmoid peoples who lived by hunting and gathering. During the first millennium B.C., Cushites from southern Ethiopia migrated into present-day Uganda. Centuries later they were followed by the Bantu, who, according to one important theory, spread out over most of Central and Southern Africa from the Congo. The Bantu absorbed the Cushitic peoples they encountered in Uganda, and adopted a great deal of their culture.

By the 14th century, the Cwezi kings of Kitara ruled over many of the Bantu people in what is now western Uganda. Toward the end of the 15th century, Nilotic Luo invaders from the north entered Uganda and overthrew the rulers of Kitara. Over the centuries the invaders adopted the language and culture of the Bantu people they had conquered. Eventually other kingdoms—such as Bunyoro, Ankole, Buganda, and Toro—were established. Bunyoro, based on the old Kitara Kingdom, was the most powerful state in the 16th and 17th centuries. In the 18th century, Buganda began to battle against Bunyoro for dominance in the area.

Arab slavers and traders visited Uganda in the 1840s. They made a number of Muslim converts among the Ganda, and some Arabs served as advisers to the kabaka of Buganda, Mutesa I. The search for the source of the Nile brought John Hanning Speke and James Grant to Uganda in 1862. Sir Samuel Baker, another English explorer, discovered Lake Albert in 1864 and named it after Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband.

The first foreigners to arrive in the land were impressed by the sheer complexity of the early kingdoms of Uganda. In Buganda, Mutesa I was in turn impressed by the technology of the foreigners, particularly that of the Europeans. When Henry Morton Stanley, the British explorer-journalist, visited Buganda in 1875, Mutesa accepted his suggestion that Christian missionaries be invited to enter the country. But an extreme rivalry soon developed between the Protestant, Catholic, and Muslim factions in Buganda. When Mutesa died in 1884, he was succeeded by his son, Mwanga. Shortly thereafter, Mwanga began to persecute the Christians. This persecution marked the beginning of a decade of civil and religious strife.

At the Berlin Conference of 1884–85, the European powers agreed to divide Africa among themselves. In the late 1880s, Britain and Germany agreed to split East Africa. Kenya and Uganda were given to Britain, and Tanganyika to Germany. In 1894 a British protectorate was established in Buganda. The British and the Ganda then united to extend British control to the rest of present-day Uganda.

In 1900 an agreement was signed between Britain and the kingdom of Buganda. As a result of the agreement, Buganda retained a semi-independent status. The British later made similar accords with the kingdoms of Bunyoro, Toro, and Ankole, and the district of Busoga.

Throughout the 1950s Buganda opposed British efforts to create a strong central government in Uganda. However, in 1962 a new constitution granted federal status to Buganda and the other kingdoms. When Buganda accepted the constitution, the path was cleared for independence. On October 9, 1962, Uganda gained formal independence, with a governor-general representing the British crown as head of state.

Shortly after independence the office of governor-general was abolished, and the kabaka of Buganda, Sir Edward Mutesa (Mutesa II), became the first president. Conflict soon developed between Mutesa and the prime minister, Dr. Milton Obote. In 1966 the conflict led to a battle in which the president's forces were defeated. Obote took over the presidency, and a new constitution that abolished all the kingdoms was adopted. In January 1971, Obote was ousted in a military coup led by his army chief of staff, Idi Amin Dada.

Following the 1971 coup, Amin set aside the 1967 constitution, dissolved the National Assembly, and made himself head of state and government. In 1975, he assumed the title of president for life. During his eight years of brutal and erratic rule, Amin's secret police murdered at least 300,000 people. Many Ugandans fled to Tanzania.

In late 1978, some army units in southern Uganda mutinied, and Amin sent loyal troops to quell the rebellion. The fighting spilled over into Tanzania, where Amin's troops seized about 700 sq. mi. (1,125 sq. km.) of land. Tanzanian forces and Ugandan rebels invaded Uganda in April 1979, and Amin fled into exile. The Tanzanian government was criticized by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) for invading Uganda, but Tanzania replied that Amin's troops had invaded Tanzania first.

After several transitional governments, Obote returned to power as president following elections held in 1980. During his second term in office, ethnic purges, official corruption, and the breakdown of Uganda's social order continued. As many Ugandans may died during Obote's second term as during Amin's rule. In 1985, Obote was again removed from office by the military. In 1986, the military government was overthrown by the National Resistance Army (NRA), the largest of several guerrilla forces opposing the new government. NRA leader Yoweri Museveni became president of Uganda.

Modern Times.   Museveni worked to unify the country and rebuild the economy. In March 1994, voters chose a Constituent Assembly to debate and approve a constitution under which elections were to be held. In order to avoid the religious and ethnic strife of the past, the new constitution created a nonparty system. Museveni won the 1996 presidential election and was reelected in March 2001. Voters approved a return to multiparty politics in a 2005 referendum. Museveni then won multiparty presidential elections in 2006.

The involvement of Ugandan troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo's civil war largely ended in 2001. Rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), who had continued to terrorize civilians in northern Uganda, have held periodic peace talks with the government since 2006. By the time President Museveni won reelection in 2011, the LRA had largely transferred its activities to neighboring states. In July 2012, the United Nations (UN) accused Uganda of again sending troops into the Congo, this time in support of the new M23 rebel movement. Uganda denied the charge and announced that it would withdraw its forces from UN peacekeeping missions. In February 2013, however, it joined with 10 other countries in pledging not to interfere in the Congo.

In February 2014, President Museveni signed one of the world's toughest laws against homosexuality. When first proposed in 2009, the law included a provision for the death penalty. The bill's final version provided for life imprisonment under some circumstances. It was widely condemned by the international community, and some donors withheld aid from Uganda. In August a Ugandan court struck down the law but ruled only on technical grounds.

In January 2015, Dominic Ongwen, a senior commander in the LRA, surrendered himself in the Central African Republic. He was handed over to the Ugandan authorities and sent to The Hague for trial (for war crimes) by the International Criminal Court (ICC). President Museveni had recently denounced the ICC as "a vessel for oppressing Africa." In this instance, however, he was prepared to accept its jurisdiction. Joseph Kony, the flamboyant commander of the LRA, remained at large despite a years-long manhunt in which U.S. special forces had participated.

In elections held on February 18, 2016, President Museveni was reelected to a fifth term with 60.8 percent of the vote.

Ali A. Mazrui
Makerere University College, Kampala, Uganda




The colonial boundaries created by Britain to delimit Uganda grouped together a wide range of ethnic groups with different political systems and cultures. These differences complicated the establishment of a working political community after independence was achieved in 1962. The dictatorial regime of Idi AMIN (1971-79) was responsible for the deaths of some 300,000 opponents; guerrilla war and human rights abuses under Milton OBOTE (1980-85) claimed at least another 100,000 lives. The rule of Yoweri MUSEVENI since 1986 has brought relative stability and economic growth to Uganda. A constitutional referendum in 2005 cancelled a 19-year ban on multi-party politics. In December 2017, parliament approved the removal of presidential age limits.

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Yoweri Kaguta MUSEVENI (since seizing power on 26 January 1986); Vice President Edward SSEKANDI (since 24 May 2011); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government;

head of government: President Yoweri Kaguta MUSEVENI (since seizing power on 26 January 1986); Vice President Edward SSEKANDI (since 24 May 2011); Prime Minister Ruhakana RUGUNDA (since 19 September 2014); First Deputy Prime Minister Moses ALI (since 6 June 2016); Second Deputy Prime Minister Kirunda KIVEJINJA (since 6 June 2016);

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from among elected members of the National Assembly or persons who qualify to be elected as members of the National Assembly;

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (no term limits); election last held on 18 February 2016 (next to be held in February 2021);

election results: Yoweri Kaguta MUSEVENI reelected president; percent of vote - Yoweri Kaguta MUSEVENI (NRM) 60.6%, Kizza BESIGYE (FDC) 35.6%, other 3.8%

Economy - overview:

Uganda has substantial natural resources, including fertile soils, regular rainfall, small deposits of copper, gold, and other minerals, and recently discovered oil. Agriculture is the most important sector of the economy, employing more than one-third of the work force. Coffee accounts for the bulk of export revenues. Uganda has a small industrial sector that is dependent on imported inputs like oil and equipment. Overall productivity is hampered by a number of supply-side constraints, including underinvestment in an agricultural sector that continues to rely on rudimentary technology. Industrial growth is impeded by high-costs due to poor infrastructure, low levels of private investment, and the depreciation of the Ugandan shilling.

Since 1986, the government - with the support of foreign countries and international agencies - has acted to rehabilitate and stabilize the economy by undertaking currency reform, raising producer prices on export crops, increasing prices of petroleum products, and improving civil service wages. The policy changes were especially aimed at dampening inflation while encouraging foreign investment to boost production and export earnings. Since 1990, economic reforms ushered in an era of solid economic growth based on continued investment in infrastructure, improved incentives for production and exports, lower inflation, and better domestic security.

The global economic downturn in 2008 hurt Uganda's exports; however, Uganda's GDP growth has recovered due to past reforms and a rapidly growing urban consumer population. Oil revenues and taxes are expected to become a larger source of government funding as production starts in the next five to 10 years. However, lower oil prices since 2014 and protracted negotiations and legal disputes between the Ugandan government and oil companies may prove a stumbling block to further exploration and development.

Uganda faces many economic challenges. Instability in South Sudan has led to a sharp increase in Sudanese refugees and is disrupting Uganda's main export market. High energy costs, inadequate transportation and energy infrastructure, insufficient budgetary discipline, and corruption inhibit economic development and investor confidence. Between 2015 and 2017, the Uganda shilling depreciated 50% against the dollar.

The budget is dominated by energy and road infrastructure spending, while relying on donor support for long-term drivers of growth, including agriculture, health, and education. The largest infrastructure projects are externally financed through low-interest concessional loans. As a result, debt servicing for these loans is expected to rise.

Disputes - international:

Uganda is subject to armed fighting among hostile ethnic groups, rebels, armed gangs, militias, and various government forces that extend across its borders; Ugandan refugees as well as members of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) seek shelter in southern Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Garamba National Park; LRA forces have also attacked Kenyan villages across the border;

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 1,037,898 (South Sudan) (refugees and asylum seekers); 242,406 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (refugees and asylum seekers); 40,634 (Burundi) (refugee and asylum seekers); 37,193 (Somalia) (refugees and asylum seekers); 15,260 (Rwanda) (refugees and asylum seekers) (2017);

IDPs: 53,000 (displaced in northern Uganda because of fighting between government forces and the Lord's Resistance Army; as of 2011, most of the 1.8 million people displaced to IDP camps at the height of the conflict had returned home or resettled, but many had not found durable solutions; intercommunal violence and cattle raids) (2016).


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