Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa.
The country is bordered by Kenya on the east, South Sudan on the north, the Democratic Republic of Congo on the west and Tanzania on the south. Uganda is on the equator.
Uganda has a tropical climate.
It is generally rainy during the months of March to May and September to November, while in the remaining months, December to February and June to August, it is normally dry.
Since its independence from England in 1962, the political environment has been very unstable in Uganda.
The dictatorial regime of Idi Amin from 1971-79 claimed 300 000 lives and the 1980-85 guerrilla war and human rights abuses under Milton Obote were responsible for the death of a further 100 000 people. As a result of this, the government, under Yoweri Museveni, announced non-party presidential and legislative elections during the 1990s. By 1995, after a period of relative stability, the Government had restored the legal system to one based on English common law and customary law.
Museveni has been in power since 1986, and was praised by the West during the 1990s as part of a new generation of African leaders.
His presidency has included involvement in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s civil war, conflicts in the Great Lakes region and the civil war against the Lord’s Resistance Army.
Current Political Situation
Uganda has previously faced crises dealing with the Tutsi, Hutu and other ethnic groups, political rebels and various government forces fighting in areas in and around Uganda. Currently, the political situation has not improved.
Museveni has maintained control since 1986 by becoming chief of state and head of government. In 2001, there were the first general elections held since 1962, where the president was elected to a five year term. These were the first elections held since the president seized power in 1986.
The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)
The LRA is a guerrilla army initially based in northern Uganda.
It was originally set up in 1980 by a woman, Alice Lakwena, who believed the Holy Spirit told her to overthrow the Ugandan Government for being unjust to Ancholi. She was later exiled and, with no clear leader, Joseph Kony took control of the rebel army.
In one of Africa’s longest running conflicts, LRA leader, Joseph Kony, proclaims himself the “spokesperson” of God.
However, he did not manage to secure the amount of support of the Ancholi as Lakwena. Consequentially, the rebels resorted to abducting children and indoctrinating them into their militia. It is estimated that the LRA consists of over 90% of these abducted children.
In recent years, increased international attention and calls for peace have seen the US officially declare the LRA to be a terrorist organisation and the International Criminal Court issue warrants for Kony’s arrest.
Kony has failed to sign the Final Peace Agreement for the fourth time in 2008, proving his promises futile and disabling peace talks. The Governments of Uganda, DR Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic formed a joint military operation to attack the LRA in DR Congo in late 2008. This was largely unsuccessful as the LRA retaliated, killing over six hundred people and abducting over one hundred and sixty children.
The British introduced English to Uganda in the late nineteenth century.After independence, English became the official language of Uganda, being used in government, commerce and education.
Radio and television are generally broadcasted in English as well as newspaper publishings. Swahili and Arabic are widely spoken and most Ugandans speak at least one Afrcan language.
There are approximately forty different areas that comprise Uganda, and these are divided according to their linguistic similarities.
Most Ugandans speak either Nilo-Saharan, in the North, or CongoKordofanian languages in the South, which incorporates the many Bantu languages. Ganda or Luganda are the most widely used of the Niger-Congo languages and is preferred in many native language publications in the capital.
In Namwendwa and Butaaya the most common language is Lusoga, which is very similar to Luganda.
Lusoga is spoken in the Primary School, but strongly discouraged as the students’ progress through school. In Secondary School only English is used. All the students must sit their final exams in English.