Located in the eastern part of Africa, Uganda is a partner to the East African community alongside states of Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi. The nation lies along the geographical coordinates of 1 00N, 32 00E covering an area of 236,040 Sq. Km. It is a landlocked country with no access to the sea thus it uses Kenya, Tanzania for her import and export business. The country’s highest point is Mount Rwenzori’s margarita peak at 5,109m above sea-level while the lowest point is Lake Albert at 621m all in the west of Uganda. The country has two rainfall seasons intercepted by drought occurrences but even in rainy seasons the day cannot go without the sun shining.
Uganda is a land locked country in the region of East Africa and is known as the pearl of Africa, The country derives its name from the Kingdom of Buganda which reigned as a powerful kingdom covering extended parts of Uganda the present day Kampala city. Uganda got its independence in 9th October 1962 and the people of Uganda lived a hunter gather life before the coming of the Bantu agriculturalist community in 1,700 – 2,300 years ago.
Regarding tourism, Uganda is one the best safari destinations in Africa with range of tourist products that stretch from wild game to primates, culture, adventure among others that have for long attracted travellers to undertake safaris to Uganda. The country provides a point of meet between the East African savannah and West African jungle which forms the ground for great biodiversity concentration in this two varied ecosystem settings. The south western forests of Bwindi date back from the prehistoric era and are re-known for having survived the last ice age forming a refugee ground for a range of species including the critically endangered mountain gorillas. Regarding adventure, the world’s longest River – the Nile River navigates via series of impermeable rocks that have led to formation of a range of rapids, waterfalls and cliffs which in turn have formed a perfect ground for bungee jumping and white water rafting in Jinja while other un usual features such as the powerful Murchison falls, the snowcapped mountains of the moon – the Rwenzoris, the mount Elgon caldera which is the largest mountain caldera in the world, Lake Victoria which is the largest fresh water lake in Africa and the second in the world and the Equator line that divides the world into the northern and southern hemispheres. Alongside nature, Uganda has a diversity of 65 tribes whose cultures and practices are still alive marked with annual festivities that comes along with significant seasons of the year. This foundation forms a rich ground for diverse tourist product that ranges from gorilla trekking, Chimpanzee tracking, wildlife safaris, cultural tours and adventure safaris.
The President of Uganda is the head of the government and the state. The President appoints the Vice President, Prime Minister to assist him in running of the state. The National Assembly which has got 332 members constitutes the parliament. The interest groups including the women and Army nominate 104 of these members while the remaining members are elected on five year terms during the general elections.
Form of Government: Republic
Head of Government: President
Voting Age: 18 and above
Highest Court: Supreme Court
Head of State: President
Legislature: Unicameral legislature
Constitution: 8th October 1995.
The flag of Uganda was adopted on 9th October 1962 the date that Uganda became independent from the United Kingdom. The Uganda flag constitutes of six equal horizontal bands of black (top) yellow, red, black yellow and red (bottom). A white disk is superimposed at the center and depicts a national symbol, a grey crowned crane facing the hoist side. The three splendid colors have the following representations; the black color represents the African peoples, the yellow color represents Africa’s sunshine, the red color represents African brotherhood i.e. the blood that binds Africans as brothers and sisters. The grey crowned crane is credited for its gentility and was used as a military badge for Ugandan soldiers during the British rule.
Districts, Counties and Kingdom
Uganda is divided into districts which are spread across four administrative divisions i.e. West, North, East and Central. The districts are further subdivided into sub-counties, then sub-counties are subdivided into parishes and parishes are sub-divided into villages. Uganda apparently has 111 districts and one city (Kampala) and most of these are named after their commercial centers and administrative towns.
Besides state administration, there are Kingdoms and chiefdoms that continue to thrive with some degree of cultural autonomy and these include; Toro, Bunyoro, Buganda, Busoga, Rwenzururu and Teso among others.
Uganda is located on the East African plateau lying mostly between latitudes 40North and 20 south and longitudes 290 and 350E. Uganda averages around 1,100 meters (3,609ft) above sea level and this is inclined towards the Sudanese plain to the north. However, much of the south is poorly drained while the central area is dominated the swampy Lake Kyoga surrounded by extensive marshy lands. Another important to note is that Uganda lies almost wholly in the Nile basin as the Victoria Nile stretches from the gigantic Lake Victoria through Kyoga to Albert before joining the Albert Nile that runs north wards to Sudan and beyond. One small area on the eastern edge of Uganda is drained by Turkwel River which is part of the internal drainage f Lake Turkana.
Lake Kyoga forms a rough boundary between the Bantu speakers in the south and the Nilotic and central Sudanic language speakers in the north. This linguistic boundary indeed exists roughly from the North West to the south east near to the source of the Nile. The regional variation is also described in terms of physical characteristics, bodily adornment, clothing and mannerisms though claims are being made that such things are disappearing.
According to 2002 population census, the Christians comprised of 84% of the population in Uganda with the Roman Catholic Church comprising of 41.9% followed by the Anglican church of Uganda with 35.9% , the Pentecostal 4.6%, the Seventh Day 1.5%m Muslim 12.1, left 0.9 and others 3.1%.
The traditional religious beliefs are practiced in rural areas of Uganda and are at times carried alongside the modern religions of Christianity or Islam. There is also Abayudaya community a native Jewish community that dates from early 1900s. One of the Baha’i’s seven houses of worship is located on the outskirts of Kampala. The world refugee survey of 2008 which was published by the US Committee of Refugees and Immigrants indicated that Uganda had a population of refugee and asylum seekers that numbered 235,800 in the year 2007. The majority of the population came from Sudan 162,100 persons followed by Congo 41,800, Rwanda 21,200, Somalia 5,700 and Burundi 3,100. The Indian nationals are the most significant immigrant population and the members of the Indian community are mostly Ismailli (Shi’a Muslim followers of the Aga khan) or the Hindu. For more than 30 year past, about 80,000 Indians have been in Uganda. Apparently, the Indians are about 15,000. In terms of religious distribution, the northern and west Nile is greatly catholic while the Iganga district in the east of Uganda has the great counts of Muslims. The rest of the country has mixed religions.
Although generally equatorial, the climate of Uganda is not uniform as the altitude modifies the climate. The southern Uganda is wetter with the rain distributed averagely throughout the year, At Entebbe on the northern shores of Lake Victoria, the rains appears greatly in the months of March to June and November to December. Further to the north of Uganda in the districts of Gulu and the surroundings approximately 120 km from the boarder of Sudan, the dry spells tend to appear in November to March compared to other months. The north eastern region of Karamoja has the driest climate in the whole of Uganda and at times it is prone to droughts. The Rwenzori region at the boarder of Congo receives rainfall through put the year while on its lee ward side the Albertine flats are a bit dry with little rain fall amounts.
The south of the country is heavily influenced by the presence of the gigantic Victoria Lake which is the largest lake in Africa with counts of Islands. The lake prevents temperatures from varying significantly and increases cloudiness and rainfall. The Ugandan important towns are positioned in the south close to Lake Victoria including the capital Kampala and the nearby towns of Entebbe and Jinja. Though Uganda is a land locked country, the country has got a lot of water bodies including Lakes Edward , Kyoga, George, Victoria, Kacheera, Mburo, Albert, Bisinia among others along with rivers like Nile, Kafu, Kagera, Katonga, Semuliki, Aswa, Rwizi, Mpanga among others.