Copyright © Embassy of the Republic of Uganda in the Nordic Countries 2012. All rights reserved.
The Republic of Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa. It is bordered on the east by
Kenya, on the north by Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the
southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by Tanzania. The southern part of the country includes
a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, which is also bordered by Kenya and Tanzania.
Uganda takes its name from the Buganda kingdom, which encompassed a portion of the south
of the country including the capital Kampala.
History and Political situation
Uganda developed from the nineteenth century kingdom of Buganda, based along the northern
shore of Lake Victoria. In 1894 Buganda was declared a British protectorate, but the country
was never fully colonised. Growing self-government through a Legislative and Executive Council
led to full independence on 9th October 1962. Milton Obote, leader of the Uganda People's
Congress (UPC), was elected Prime Minister. He was overthrown in 1971 by Army Chief of Staff,
General Idi Amin, who established a brutal dictatorship. The Asian Community was expelled in
1972 and intellectuals persecuted. Border tension led to an invasion by Tanzania, with support
from exiled members of the Ugandan National Liberation Front (UNLF). President Amin was
over-thrown and ill-organised elections in 1980 returned Obote's UPC to power.
President Obote's government relied on the support of the army and soon became embroiled
in a savage guerrilla war against Mr. Yoweri Museveni's National Resistance Army (NRA), who
regarded Obote and his supporters as criminals. Growing dissent between Acholi and the Langi
factions within the army resulted in Obote's overthrow by the Acholi, led by General Tito
Okello. Gen. Okello established a military council, but after a bitter battle in January 1986, the
NRA occupied Kampala and Mr. Museveni was installed as President.
In 1995, Uganda adopted a new constitution. The Constitution provided for Presidential,
Parliamentary and local elections over the next two years, to be held under the existing
restrictions on activity by political parties. A referendum was held in June 2000, which decided
to maintain the restrictions. The elections which followed in May and June 1996, for President
and Parliament respectively, were generally free and fair, notwithstanding the ban on party
activity. President Museveni won the Presidency with 74.2% of the vote; NRM sympathisers
won a majority vote in the Parliament.
The second presidential election was held on 12th March 2001. H.E. President Yoweri Museveni
won a second term in office. Considerable progress has been made in restoring peace across
Uganda and in rebuilding infrastructure shattered by civil war. Uganda's first multi-party
elections since 1980 were held on 23rd February 2006. H.E. President Yoweri Museveni was re-
elected for a third term.
The country is located on the East African plateau, averaging about 1100 metres (3,250 ft)
above sea level, and this slopes very steadily downwards to the Sudanese Plain to the north.
However, much of the south is poorly drained, while the centre is dominated by Lake Kyoga,
which is also surrounded by extensive marshy areas. Uganda lies almost completely within the
Nile basin. The Victoria Nile drains from the lake into Lake Kyoga and thence into Lake Albert on
the Congolese border. It then runs northwards into Sudan.
Although generally equatorial, the climate is not uniform as the altitude modifies the climate.
Southern Uganda is wetter with rain generally spread throughout the year. At Entebbe on the
northern shore of Lake Victoria, most rain falls from March to June and the
November/December period. Further to the north a dry season gradually emerges; at Gulu
about 120 km from the Sudanese border, November to February is much drier than the rest of
The northeastern Karamoja region has the driest climate and is prone to droughts in some
years. Rwenzori in the southwest on the border with Congo (DRC) receives heavy rain all year
round. The south of the country is heavily influenced by one of the world's biggest lakes, Lake
Victoria, which contains many islands. It prevents temperatures from varying significantly and
increases cloudiness and rainfall. Most important cities are located in the south, near Lake
Victoria, including the capital Kampala and the nearby city of Entebbe.
Although landlocked, Uganda contains many large lakes, besides Lake Victoria and Lake Kyoga,
there are Lake Albert, Lake Edward and the smaller Lake George.
According to the census of 2002, Christians made up about 84% of Uganda's population. The
Roman Catholic Church has the largest number of adherents (41.9%), followed by the Anglican
Church of Uganda (35.9%). The next most reported religion of Uganda is Islam, with Muslims
representing 12% of the population.
The census lists only 1% of Uganda's population as following traditional religions, and 0.7% are
classified as 'other non-Christians,' including adherents of sects. Judaism is also practiced in
Uganda by a small number of native Ugandans known as the Abayudaya. One of the world's
seven Bahá'í Houses of Worship is located on the outskirts of Kampala.
Of the Christian population, the Roman Catholic Church has the largest number of followers,
followed by the Anglican Church, while Evangelical and Pentecostal churches 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 Ismaili (Shi'a Muslim followers
of the Aga Khan) or Hindu. 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.
GENERAL INFORMATION ON UGANDA