Saturday, 14 May 2011

Global Voices · Uganda: Walk to Work Protests

Uganda: Walk to Work Protests

Ugandan women's organizations join protests against rising fuel and food costs. Photo by Echwalu Photography

Ugandan women's organizations join protests against rising fuel and food costs. Photo by Echwalu Photography

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Hundreds of citizens are taking to the streets in the East African nation of Uganda to protest rising fuel and food prices and rapid inflation. On April 10, a handful of opposition leaders were arrested as they walked to work in solidarity with those who can no longer afford to take public transportation. Rather than quelling the protests, the initial arrests have spurred more than a month of ongoing demonstrations. Police have been spraying protesters with tear gas, live bullets, and, most recently, pink paint meant to help them identify protesters after the fact. At least eight people have been killed, including a two-year-old girl.

The protests, which have coincided with the start of President Yoweri Museveni's fifth consecutive term in office, have served as a rallying point for Uganda's multiple opposition parties. Opposition leader Kizza Besigye has been arrested four times, and was flown to Nairobi for medical treatment after being dragged from his car and sprayed directly in the eyes with tear gas during a protest on April 28. Besigye returned to Uganda on May 12, the day of Museveni's swearing in ceremony; before his return he promised to continue the protests “until the desired goals are achieved.”

What we do: Global Voices bloggers from Sub Saharan Africa report on how citizens use the internet and social media to make their voices heard, often translating from a variety of different languages. Check back for further developments on this page.

Featured Global Voices Posts: Walk to Work Protests

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13 May - Uganda: Women's groups, lawyers join Walk to Work protests
13 May - Uganda: Police Paint Protesters Pink
13 May - Uganda: Museveni’s Swearing in Overshadowed by Rival's Return
29 Apr - Uganda: Citizens Outraged by Violent Re-Arrest of Opposition Leader
19 Apr - Uganda: Government Attempts to Block Facebook, Twitter as Protests Continue
12 Apr - Uganda: #walk2work Arrests Spur Hunger Strike, Future Protests
11 Apr - Uganda: Is It a Crime to Walk to Work?


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22 Feb - Uganda: No Signs of Egypt-Style Uprising
19 Feb - Uganda: A Day After Uganda Elections 2011
18 Feb - Uganda: Bloggers Apprehensive as Voters Go to Polls
17 Feb - Uganda: Uganda Elections 2011 on Twitter
14 Feb - Uganda: Press Freedom Diminishing as Elections Near
08 Feb - Uganda: Online Guide to Presidential Elections 2011
03 Feb - Africa: Will there be “Jasmine Revolution” in Sub-Saharan Africa?


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Unlawful Killing – the film the British won't get to see | Keith Allen | Comment is free | The Guardian

Unlawful Killing – the film the British won't get to see

My documentary about the Diana inquest will be shown everywhere but the UK. Here's why

The internet is a global lavatory wall, a Rabelaisian mixture of truth, lies, insanity and humour. I felt its power and madness this week, when an excerpt from my new film, Unlawful Killing, was leaked on to YouTube and seized on by US conspiracy theorists, who immediately began claiming that the CIA had murdered Princess Diana, thereby allowing others to dismiss my documentary as mad.

Deriding its critics as mad is an age-old British establishment trick. My "inquest of the inquest" film contains footage of Diana recalling how the royals wanted her consigned to a mental institution, and the inquest coroner repeatedly questioning the sanity of anyone who wondered if the crash was more than an accident. His chief target was Mohamed Al Fayed, a man I once profiled for a Channel 4 documentary. Before I met him, I'd half-believed the media caricature of him as a madman, driven nuts by the death of his son, and wildly accusing the Windsors of having planned the 1997 crash. However, I found a man who was sane and funny but frustrated that Britain wouldn't hold an inquest into his son's death. Michael Mansfield QC thought it unfair too, and fought for one to be held; which was why the longest inquest in British legal history eventually began in 2007.

Long before the inquest started, the eminently sane Mansfield had persuaded me that there were suspicious circumstances surrounding the crash, and signs of a cover-up by the authorities. Many journalists agreed, but as the inquest drew near, I noticed that British newspapers (several of which had regularly run "Was Diana Murdered?" pieces) suddenly fell into line, and started insisting that the inquest was a waste of time. They raised no protest when virtually all the key French witnesses refused to participate, nor did they find it odd that not one senior royal was ordered to appear, even though Diana had stated in a lawyer's note that the Windsors were planning an "accident" to her car. Nor did they raise the issue of possible bias when legal proceedings involving the integrity of the royal family were to be heard in the royal courts of justice before a coroner who'd sworn an oath of allegiance to the Queen.

I felt the need to raise it, so I asked every major UK broadcaster (BBC, ITV, C4, Five, Sky) to commission a TV documentary about the inquest. But they refused even to contemplate such a suggestion, so Associated Rediffusion and I began filming and financing it ourselves. Shortly before the inquest began, Fayed offered to fund our project, so we could make a feature-length cinema documentary instead. We agreed, on condition that we would report events in the way we saw them, and the deal was struck.

Unlawful Killing is not about a conspiracy before the crash, but a provable conspiracy after the crash. A conspiracy organised not by a single scheming arch-fiend, but collectively by the British establishment – judges, lawyers, politicians, police chiefs, secret services, even newspaper editors – all of whom have been appointed to their positions because they are "a safe pair of hands". Just as compass needles all point north without being told to, so these people instinctively know what is expected of them when the state's interests are under threat and they act accordingly, quietly suppressing uncomfortable evidence or undermining the credibility of witnesses whose evidence contradicts the official narrative.

Consider just a fraction of what transpired. Over 100 significant witnesses were not called to the inquest, or refused to appear. Blood tests allegedly proving the drunkenness of the driver Henri Paul were deemed "biologically inexplicable" by a toxicologist. A British crash expert found that Diana's seat belt had not been working. And so on.

Strangest of all was the media coverage of the verdict. Inquest evidence showed conclusively that the crash was caused by an unidentified white Fiat Uno and several unidentified motorcycles, vehicles that were certainly not paparazzi, because uncontested police evidence confirmed that the paparazzi were nowhere near the tunnel at the time of the crash. The jury understood this, bringing in a verdict of "unlawful killing" by unidentified "following vehicles"; yet within seconds, the BBC was misreporting that the jury had blamed the paparazzi, and the rest of the media meekly followed suit. Which is why – three years on – barely anyone realises what the jury's troubling verdict really was.

Why is the film being premiered next week at Cannes, three years after the inquest ended? Because British lawyers insisted on 87 cuts before any UK release could be contemplated. So rather than butcher the film, or risk legal action, we're showing it in France, then the US, and everywhere except the UK. Pity, because at a time when the mindless sugar rush of the royal wedding has been sending British Rrepublicans into a diabetic coma, it could act as a welcome antidote.

May « Paradise Valley


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The valley is drenched in yellow buttercups, purple clover and white daisies.  I can hear Richard Burton reciting Wordsworth in my head and a Vaughan Williams hymn is rising in my heart.

The fields are knee deep in a billowing, fluid growth of every colour imaginable.  The breeze is stirring, shimmering and refreshing the pasture.  Our early summer has brought forth a profusion of blossom, more than I can ever remember.  Nothing is more exhilarating, yet gentle and relaxing too. The dogs scamper around me and explore everywhere. Constantly in the background is the bleating of the lambs and the comforting of the ewes.

This morning, almost home, half way down the hill, I had stopped to chat with a wild flower  hunter.  Above us, as so often, rose a great raptor with huge and glorious brown wings – yet even to my naive eye, this one was different.

“Red Kite!”, called out my companion.  No common or garden or Paradise Valley buzzard this one.  A distinctive forked tail, an extra kink towards the tip of each wing and yes, a burnished, reddish plumage.  A fine sight!

The weather has been kind to us and through the hot, dry spring we have caught some good, generous rain, always just in time.  The new pasture fields have finally taken off.  They’ve been topped for the first time and now the grass will start to grow deep and strong.

You might guess that one again I am entranced by the valley’s beauty as it moves into its most glorious season.  Every year it seduces me again as if I have never fallen for such charms before.

There are bright yellow, wild lilies along the stream in the water meadow.  A remarkable amount of rape has seeded itself from last year’s crop in the new pasture and sent a yellow shock through it that’s just a little too bright and dense to be buttercups. The new born lambs have benefitted from their warm start and the early ones are almost as big as their mothers.

I suppose it’s all in dramatic contrast to that other reality of life – the news, the economy, business, bills, the dark side. Thank God that we live in a world where even in our towns and cities, the natural world imposes its timeless and calming antidote on our woes.  One early morning, an urban fox across a Fulham backstreet and then, just three hours later, a return to the wilder environment of the valley. Britain is beautiful when the weather is good.

I returned to the green, green grass of home just last weekend across the Severn bridge but to come back to my adopted home in the valley is just as warming and more familiar now. Home is where the heart is, where the keyboard and screen is always waiting but where just outside are the fields and the hills and the flowers and paradise.

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El Mirador - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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This article is about the archaeological site. For the mountain, see Mount Tlaloc.
This article is missing citations or needs footnotes. Please help add inline citations to guard against copyright violations and factual inaccuracies. (October 2009)
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This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. Please help improve this article by introducing appropriate citations to additional sources. (October 2009)

"El Tigre Complex", in El Mirador

Pyramid at El Mirador

El Mirador is a large pre-Columbian Mayan settlement, located in the north of the modern department of El Petén, Guatemala.



[edit] Discovery

El Mirador was first discovered in 1926, and was photographed from the air in 1930, but the remote site deep in the jungle had little more attention paid to it until Ian Graham spent some time there making the first map of the area in 1962.[1] A detailed investigation was begun in 1978 with an archaeological project under the direction of Dr. Bruce Dahlin (Catholic University of America) and Dr. Ray Matheny (Brigham Young University). Dahlin's work focused primarily on the bajo swamps and mapping, while Matheny's team focused primarily on excavations in the site center and architecture. This project ended in 1983. To the surprise of the archaeologists, it was found that a large amount of construction was not contemporary with the large Maya classic cities in the area, like Tikal and Uaxactun, but rather from centuries earlier in the Pre-Classic era (see: Mesoamerican chronology).[2]

In 2003, Dr. Richard D. Hansen, a Senior Scientist from Idaho State University, initiated major investigation, stabilization, and conservation programs at El Mirador with a multi-disciplinary approach, including staff and technical personnel from 52 universities and research institutions from throughout the world. By August 2008, the team had published 168 scientific papers,[citation needed] and produced 474 technical reports and scientific presentations as well as documentary films in the History Channel, National Geographic, the Learning Channel, BBC, ABC's 20/20 and Good Morning America, 60 Minutes (Australia), and the Discovery Channel.

[edit] History

Stela 2 at El Mirador.[3]

El Mirador flourished from about the 6th century BCE, reaching its height from the 3rd century BCE to the 1st century CE, with a peak population of perhaps more than a hundred thousand people, judging by the size and extent of the labor pool required to build the massive constructions.[citation needed] It then experienced a hiatus of construction and perhaps abandonment for generations, followed by re-occupation and further construction in the Late Classic era, and a final abandonment about the end of the 9th century. The civic center of the site covers some 10 square miles (26 km2) with several thousand structures, including monumental architecture from 10 to 30 meters high.

There are a number of "triadic" structures (around 35 structures), consisting of large artificial platforms topped with a set of 3 summit pyramids. The most notable such structures are three huge complexes; one is nicknamed "El Tigre", with height 55 metres (180 ft); the other is called "La Danta" (or Danta) temple. The La Danta temple measures approximately 70 metres (230 ft) tall from the forest floor,[4] and considering its total volume (2,800,000 cubic meters) is one of the largest pyramids in the world.[5] When the large man-made platform that the temple is built upon (some 18,000 square meters) is included in calculations, La Danta is considered by some archeologists to be one of the most massive ancient structures in the world.[citation needed] Also the "Los Monos" complex is very large (48 meters high) although not as well known. Most of the structures were originally faced with cut stone which was then decorated with large stucco masks depicting the deities of Maya mythology. According to Carlos Morales-Aguilar, a Guatemalan archaeologist, the city appears to have been planned from its foundation, as extraordinary alignments have been found between the architectural groups and main temples, which were possibly related to solar alignments. The study reflects an importance of urban planning and sacred spaces since the first settlers.

An additional feature of El Mirador is the quantity and size of causeways, internally linking important architectural compounds, and externally linking the numerous major ancient cities within the Mirador Basin during the latter part of the Middle and Late Preclassic periods. The causeways were known anciently as sacbeob (the plural form of sacbe, meaning "white road" in Mayan, from sac "white" and be "road"). These are raised stone causeways raising 2 to 6 meters above the level of the surrounding landscape and measuring from 20 to 50 meters wide. One sacbe links El Mirador to the neighbouring site of Nakbe, approximately 12 km away, while another joined El Mirador to El Tintal, 20 km away.

While the city and the sister centers of the Mirador Basin thrived between 300 BCE and the Common Era (CE), apparently, the site was abandoned, as were nearly all other major sites in the area, by about 150 CE. A large wall, which must have been as high as 3 to 8 meters, had been constructed on the entire northern, eastern, and southern portions of the West Group of the city prior to its abandonment in the terminal Preclassic period, suggesting a possible threat that had been perceived by this time.[citation needed]

In the Late Classic period, ca 700 CE, portions of the site were reoccupied by a more modest occupation, with small structures nestled among the ruins of the great Preclassic center. The largest structure from this time period is scarcely more than 8 meters high, and many of the Preclassic building were plundered for stone materials for construction and lime making. The Late Classic occupants however, were noted scribes and artists.[citation needed] The area of the Mirador Basin is the only known source of the "Codex-style Ceramics", a particularly fine polychrome ceramic consisting of black line drawings on a cream colored background. The Late Classic occupation was brief, and by about 900 CE, the area was again nearly completely abandoned, and remains so until the present time.

[edit] Today

Exposed stonework at El Mirador in 2000

Dr. Richard D. Hansen, an archaeologist from Idaho State University, is the current director of the Mirador Basin Project, and according to his discoveries here, he thinks that the more than 45 mapped sites in the Mirador Basin may have formed the earliest well-defined political state in Mesoamerica.

Although containing striking examples of Preclassic Maya civilization, the remote location of El Mirador has prevented it from becoming a popular tourist site. Major plans by the current government of Guatemala are including El Mirador as an important center of the Cuatro Balam Conservation and Development project.

[edit] Threats to Mirador

This large concentration of Preclassic Maya cities in Mesoamerica is threatened by massive deforestation, looting, and destruction caused by equipment used in logging road construction, which itself facilitates intrusive settlements.[6]

The Mirador Basin in the far northern Petén region of Guatemala is known for its abundance of sites, many of which are among the largest and earliest in the Maya world. Of 26 known sites, only 14 have been studied; an estimated 30 more await discovery. By the time scholars get there, looters may already have plundered them.[citation needed]

Trafficking in Maya artifacts is big business. George Stuart of the National Geographic Society has suggested that 1,000 pieces of fine pottery leave the Maya region each month,[citation needed] not an unreasonable estimate in light of the site damage observed. The most sought-after finds are codex-style ceramics, Late Classic (600-900 CE) black-line-on-cream pottery depicting mythological and historical events. Looters are often paid between $200 and $500 per vessel.[citation needed] Collectors may pay more than $100,000 for the same pieces in a gallery or at auction. At even minimal prices this amounts to a $10-million-a-month business in stolen cultural property. Collecting Precolumbian art is often viewed[who?] as a justifiable means of preserving the past.[citation needed] It is, in fact, a destructive and sometimes violent business, as attested by the recent assassination in Carmelita of Carlos Catalán, a local chiclero who had become a staunch opponent of looting in Petén.[7]

Since 2003, California-based non-profit organization Global Heritage Fund (GHF) has been working to preserve and protect Mirador.[8] In an October 2010 report titled Saving Our Vanishing Heritage, GHF listed Mirador as one of 12 worldwide heritage sites most "On the Verge" of irreparable loss and destruction, citing deforestation, fires, major logging, poaching, looting, and narcotics trafficking as major threats to the region.[9]

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ El Mirador, the Lost City of the Maya, Smithsonian Magazine, May 2011
  2. ^ William R. Fowler, Jr., Arthur A. Demarest, Helen V. Michel, Frank Asaro & Fred Stross (1989). "Sources of Obsidian from El Mirador, Guatemala: New Evidence on Preclassic Maya Interaction". American Anthropologist 91 (1): 158–168. 
  3. ^ Sharer & Traxler 2006, p.257.
  4. ^ Sharer & Traxler 2006, p.253.
  5. ^ National Geographic Channel - Dawn of the Maya
  6. ^ Archaeology Magazine - Under Threat, January/February 2009
  7. ^ Archaeology Magazine. Plundering the Petén, September/October 1997 by Richard D. Hansen
  8. ^
  9. ^

[edit] References

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: El Mirador
Grainger, Sarah; [Reuters India] (3 September 2009). "Guatemala Mayan city may have ended in pyramid battle" (online edition). World News (Thomson Reuters). Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
Sharer, Robert J.; with Loa p. Traxler (2006). The Ancient Maya (6th (fully revised) ed.). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4817-9. OCLC 57577446. 

[edit] External links

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El Salvador
See also: Pre-Columbian

Coordinates: 17°45′18.18″N 89°55′13.55″W / 17.75505°N 89.9204306°W / 17.75505; -89.9204306

Uganda - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
Republic of Uganda
Jamhuri ya Uganda

Flag Coat of arms
MottoFor God and My Country
Anthem"Oh Uganda, Land of Beauty"
Location of Uganda within the African Union

Location of Uganda within the African Union
(and largest city)
Official language(s) English,[1], Swahili
Vernacular languages Luganda, Luo, Runyankore, Ateso, Lumasaba, Lusoga, Lunyole, Samia
Demonym Ugandan
Government Democratic Republic
 -  President Yoweri Museveni
 -  Vice President Gilbert Bukenya
 -  Prime Minister Apolo Nsibambi
Independence from the United Kingdom 
 -  Republic 9 October 1962 
 -  Total 236,040 km2 (81st)
91,136 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 15.39
 -  2009 estimate 32,369,558[2] (37th)
 -  2002 census 24,227,297 
 -  Density 137.1/km2 (80th)
355.2/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
 -  Total $42.194 billion[3] 
 -  Per capita $1,226[3] 
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
 -  Total $17.703 billion[3] 
 -  Per capita $514[3] 
Gini (1998) 43 (medium
HDI (2010) increase 0.422 (low) (143rd)
Currency Ugandan shilling (UGX)
Time zone EAT (UTC+3)
 -  Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+3)
Drives on the left
ISO 3166 code UG
Internet TLD .ug
Calling code +2561

1 006 from Kenya and Tanzania.

Coordinates: 1°17′N 32°23′E / 1.28°N 32.39°E / 1.28; 32.39

Uganda (play /juːˈɡændə/ yew-gan-də or /juːˈɡɑːndə/ yew-gahn-də), officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of 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.

The people of Uganda were hunter-gatherers until 1,700 to 2,300 years ago, when Bantu-speaking populations migrated to the southern parts of the country.[4] Uganda gained independence from Britain on 9 October 1962.

The official languages are English and Swahili, although multiple other languages are spoken in the country.

It is a member of the African Union, the Commonwealth of Nations, Organisation of the Islamic Conference and East African Community.



[edit] History

Main article: History of Uganda

The Ugandans were hunter-gatherers until 1,700 to 2,300 years ago. Bantu-speaking populations, who were probably from centralAfrica, migrated to the southern parts of the country.[4][5] These groups brought and developed ironworking skills and new ideas of social and political organization. The Empire of Kitara which covered most of the great lakes area, from Lake Albert, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Victoria, to Lake Kyoga. Its leadership headquarters were mainly in what became Ankole, believed to have been run by the Bachwezi in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. They represented the earliest forms of formal organization, followed by the kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara, and in later centuries, Buganda and Ankole.[6] Note: The Nilotic Luo invasion is believed to have led the collapse of Chwezi empire . The Twins Rukidi Mpuuga and Kato Kimera, are believed to be the first kings of Bunyonro and Buganda after the Chwezi Empire collapsing, creating the Babiito and Bambejja Dynasty Nilotic people including Luo and Ateker entered the area from the north, probably beginning about A.D. 120. They were cattle herders and subsistence farmers who settled mainly the northern and eastern parts of the country. Some Luo invaded the area of Bunyoro and assimilated with the Bantu there, establishing the Babiito dynasty of the current Omukama (ruler) of Bunyoro-Kitara.[7] Luo migration continued until the 16th century, with some Luo settling amid Bantu people in Eastern Uganda, with others proceeding to the western shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya and Tanzania. The Ateker (Karimojong and Iteso) settled in the northeastern and eastern parts of the country, and some fused with the Luo in the area north of Lake Kyoga.

Arab traders moved inland from the Indian Ocean coast of East Africa in the 1830s. They were followed in the 1860s by British explorers searching for the source of the Nile. Protestant missionaries entered the country in 1877, followed by Catholic missionaries in 1879.[8] The United Kingdom placed the area under the charter of the British East Africa Company in 1888, and ruled it as a protectorate from 1894.

As several other territories and chiefdoms were integrated, the final protectorate called Uganda took shape in 1914. From 1900 to 1920, a sleeping sickness epidemic killed more than 250,000 people,[9] about two-thirds of the population in the affected lake-shore areas.[10]

Uganda gained independence from Britain in 1962, maintaining its Commonwealth membership. The first post-independence election, held in 1962, was won by an alliance between the Uganda People's Congress (UPC) and Kabaka Yekka (KY). UPC and KY formed the first post-independence government with Milton Obote as executive Prime Minister, the Buganda Kabaka (King) Edward Muteesa II holding the largely ceremonial position of President[11][12] and William Wilberforce Nadiope, the Kyabazinga (paramount chief) of Busoga, as Vice President.[citation needed]

In 1966, following a power struggle between the Obote-led government and King Muteesa, the UPC-dominated Parliament changed the constitution and removed the ceremonial president and vice president. In 1967, a new constitution proclaimed Uganda a republic and abolished the traditional kingdoms. Without first calling elections, Obote was declared the executive President.[13]

Obote was deposed from office in 1971 when Idi Amin seized power. Amin ruled the country with the military for the next eight years.[14] Amin's rule cost an estimated 300,000 Ugandans' lives.[15] He forcibly removed the entrepreneurial South Asian minority from Uganda.[16] The Ugandan economy was devastated.

Amin's reign was ended after the Uganda-Tanzania War in 1979 in which Tanzanian forces aided by Ugandan exiles invaded Uganda. This led to the return of Obote, who was deposed once more in 1985 by General Tito Okello. Okello ruled for six months until he was deposed after the so called "bush war" by the National Resistance Army (NRA) operating under the leadership of the current president, Yoweri Museveni, and various rebel groups, including the Federal Democratic Movement of Andrew Kayiira, and another belonging to John Nkwaanga.

Museveni has been in power since 1986. In the mid to late 1990s, he was lauded by the West as part of a new generation of African leaders.[17] His presidency has included involvement in the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other conflicts in the Great Lakes region, as well as the civil war against the Lord's Resistance Army, which has been guilty of numerous crimes against humanity including child slavery and mass murder. Conflict in northern Uganda has killed thousands and displaced millions.[citation needed]

[edit] Government

Main article: Politics of Uganda

The President of Uganda, currently Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, is both head of state and head of government. The president appoints a Vice President, currently Gilbert Bukenya, and a prime minister, currently Apolo Nsibambi, who aid him in governing. The parliament is formed by the National Assembly, which has 332 members. 104 of these members are nominated by interest groups, including women and the army. The remaining members are elected for five-year terms during general elections.[18]

Political parties were restricted in their activities from 1986, in a measure ostensibly designed to reduce sectarian violence. In the non-party "Movement" system instituted by Museveni, political parties continued to exist, but they could only operate a headquarters office. They could not open branches, hold rallies, or field candidates directly (although electoral candidates could belong to political parties). A constitutional referendum canceled this nineteen-year ban on multi-party politics in July 2005. Additionally, the time limit for president was changed in the constitution from the two-term limit, in order to enable the current president to continue in active politics.

The presidential elections were held in February, 2006. Yoweri Museveni ran against several candidates, the most prominent of whom being the exiled Dr. Kizza Besigye.

On Sunday, 20 February 2011, the Uganda Electoral Commission declared the 24-year reigning president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni the winning candidate of the 2011 elections that were held on the 18th of February 2011. The opposition were however not satisfied with the results, condemning them as full of sham and rigging. According to the results released, Museveni won with 68% of the votes, easily topping his nearest foe Kizza Besigye. Kizza Besigye who formerly was Museveni's physician told reporters that he and his supporters 'downrightly snub' the outcome as well as the unremitting rule of Museveni or any person he may appoint. Kizza Besigye added that the rigged elections would definitely lead to an illegitimate lead and added that it is up to Ugandans to critically analyse this. Yoweri Museveni will be heading Uganda for another 5 years and the next elections are anticipated to be in 2016.

[edit] Geography

Main article: Geography of Uganda

Map of Uganda

The country is located on the East African plateau, lying mostly between latitudes 4°N and 2°S (a small area is north of 4°), and longitudes 29° and 35°E. It averages about 1,100 metres (3,609 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. One small area on the eastern edge of Uganda is drained by the Turkwel River, part of the internal drainage basin of Lake Turkana.It was named after the Founder Adnan

Lake Kyoga serves as a rough boundary between Bantu speakers in the south and Nilotic and Central Sudanic language speakers in the north. Despite the division between north and south in political affairs, this linguistic boundary actually runs roughly from northwest to southeast, near the course of the Nile. However, many Ugandans live among people who speak different languages, especially in rural areas. Some sources describe regional variation in terms of physical characteristics, clothing, bodily adornment, and mannerisms, but others claim that those differences are disappearing.

Mount Kadam in Uganda.

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 year.

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.

[edit] Districts, counties and kingdoms

Districts of Uganda

Uganda is divided into districts, spread across four administrative regions: Northern, Eastern, Central (Kingdom of Buganda) and Western. The districts are subdivided into counties. A number of districts have been added in the past few years, and eight others were added on July 1, 2006 plus others added in last year 2010, they are now 100 plus.[19] Most districts are named after their main commercial and administrative towns. Each district is divided into sub-districts, counties, sub-counties, parishes and villages.

Parallel with the state administration, six traditional Bantu kingdoms have remained, enjoying some degrees of mainly cultural autonomy. The kingdoms are Toro, Ankole, Busoga, Bunyoro, Buganda and Rwenzururu.

[edit] Economy

Downtown Kampala

For decades, Uganda's economy suffered from devastating economic policies and instability, leaving Uganda as one of the world's poorest countries. The country has commenced economic reforms and growth has been robust. In 2008, Uganda recorded 7% growth despite the global downturn and regional instability.[20]

Uganda has substantial natural resources, including fertile soils, regular rainfall, and sizable mineral deposits of copper and cobalt. The country has largely untapped reserves of both crude oil and natural gas.[21] While agriculture used to account for 56% of the economy in 1986, with coffee as its main export, it has now been surpassed by the services sector, which accounted for 52% of percent GDP in 2007.[22] In the 1950s the British Colonial regime encouraged some 500,000 subsistence farmers to join co-operatives.[23] Since 1986, the government (with the support of foreign countries and international agencies) has acted to rehabilitate an economy devastated during the regime of Idi Amin and subsequent civil war.[2] Inflation ran at 240% in 1987 and 42% in June 1992, and was 5.1% in 2003.

Between 1990 and 2001, the economy grew because of continued investment in the rehabilitation of infrastructure, improved incentives for production and exports, reduced inflation, gradually improved domestic security and the return of exiled Indian-Ugandan entrepreneurs between 1990 and 2001.[citation needed] Ongoing Ugandan involvement in the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, corruption within the government, and slippage in the government's determination to press reforms raise doubts about the continuation of strong growth.

In 2000, Uganda was included in the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt relief initiative worth $1.3 billion and Paris Club debt relief worth $145 million. These amounts combined with the original HIPC debt relief added up to about $2 billion. In 2006 the Ugandan Government successfully paid all their debts to the Paris Club, which meant that it was no longer in the (HIPC) list. Growth for 2001–2002 was solid despite continued decline in the price of coffee, Uganda's principal export.[2] According to IMF statistics, in 2004 Uganda's GDP per capita reached $300, a much higher level than in the 1980s but still at half the Sub-Saharan African average income of $600 per year. Total GDP crossed the 8 billion dollar mark in the same year.

Economic growth has not always led to poverty reduction. Despite an average annual growth of 2.5% between 2000 and 2003, poverty levels increased by 3.8% during that time.[24] This has highlighted the importance of avoiding jobless growth and is part of the rising awareness in development circles of the need for equitable growth not just in Uganda, but across the developing world.[24]

With the Uganda securities exchanges established in 1996, several equities have been listed. The Government has used the stock market as an avenue for privatisation. All Government treasury issues are listed on the securities exchange. The Capital Markets Authority has licensed 18 brokers, asset managers and investment advisors including names like African Alliance, AIG Investments, Renaissance Capital and SIMMS. As one of the ways of increasing formal domestic savings, Pension sector reform is the centre of attention (2007).[25][26]

Uganda depends on Kenya for access to international markets. Uganda is part of the East African Community and a potential member of the planned East African Federation.

[edit] Demographics

Ethnolinguistic map of Uganda.

Uganda is home to many different ethnic groups, none of whom forms a majority of the population. Around forty different languages are regularly and currently in use in the country. English became the official language of Uganda after independence. Ugandan English is a local variant dialect.

The most widely spoken local language in Uganda is Luganda, spoken predominantly by the Ganda people (Baganda) in the urban concentrations of Kampala, the capital city and in towns and localities in the Buganda region of Uganda which encompasses Kampala. The Lusoga and Runyankore-Rukiga languages follow, spoken predominantly in the southeastern and southwestern parts of Uganda respectively.

Swahili, a widely used language throughout eastern and central East Africa, was approved as the country's second official national language in 2005,[27] though this is somewhat politically sensitive. Though the language has not been favoured by the Bantu-speaking populations of the south and southwest of the country, it is an important lingua franca in the northern regions. It is also widely used in the police and military forces, which may be a historical result of the disproportionate recruitment of northerners into the security forces during the colonial period. The status of Swahili has thus alternated with the political group in power.[28] For example, Amin, who came from the northwest, declared Swahili to be the national language.[29]

Uganda’s population has grown from 4.8 million people in 1950 to 24.3 million in 2002.[30] The current estimated population of Uganda is 32.4 million. Uganda has a very young population, with a median age of 15 years.[2]

[edit] Religion

Main article: Religion in Uganda
Religion in Uganda[2]
Religion percent
Roman Catholicism
Other or None

According to the census of 2002, Christians made up about 84% of Uganda's population.[31] The Roman Catholic Church has the largest number of adherents (41.9%), followed by the Anglican Church of Uganda (35.9%). Evangelical and Pentecostal churches claim the rest of the Christian population. The next most reported religion of Uganda is Islam, with Muslims representing 12% of the population.[31] The Muslim population is primarily Sunni; there is also a minority belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

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. Traditional indigenous beliefs are practiced in some rural areas and are sometimes blended with or practiced alongside Christianity or Islam. In addition to a small community of Jewish expatriates centered in Kampala, Uganda is home to the Abayudaya, a native Jewish community dating from the early 1900s. One of the world's seven Bahá'í Houses of Worship is located on the outskirts of Kampala. See also Bahá'í Faith in Uganda.

According to the World Refugee Survey 2008, published by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Uganda hosted a population of refugees and asylum seekers numbering 235,800 in 2007. The majority of this population came from Sudan (162,100 persons), but also included refugees and asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (41,800), Rwanda (21,200), Somalia (5,700) and Burundi (3,100).[32]

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. More than 30 years ago, there were about 80,000 Indians in Uganda. Today there are about 15,000.[33] 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.[34]

[edit] Health

Uganda has been among the rare HIV success stories, one of the reasons being openness.[35] In the 1980s, more than 30% of Ugandan residents had HIV; this had fallen to 6.4% by the end of 2008, the most effective national response to AIDS of any African country.[36] This is supported by the findings of a 2006 study that modern contraceptive use in Uganda is low.[37]

Infant mortality rate was at 79 per 1,000 in 2005.[35] Life expectancy was at 50.2 for females, and 49.1 for males in 2005.[35] There were 8 physicians per 100,000 persons in the early 2000s.[35]

Uganda's elimination of user fees at state health facilities in 2001 has resulted in an 80% increase in visits; over half of this increase is from the poorest 20% of the population.[24] This policy has been cited as a key factor in helping Uganda achieve its Millennium Development Goals and as an example of the importance of equity in achieving those goals.[24]

[edit] Culture and sport

Young boys playing football in Arua District

Owing to the large number of communities, culture within Uganda is diverse. Many Asians (mostly from India) who were expelled during the regime of Amin have returned to Uganda.[citation needed]

Cricket has experienced rapid growth although football is the most popular sport in Uganda. Recently in the Quadrangular Tournament in Kenya, Uganda came in as the underdogs and went on to register a historic win against archrivals Kenya. Uganda also won the World Cricket League (WCL) Division 3 and came in fourth place in the WCL Division 2. In February 2009, Uganda finished as runner-up in the WCL Division 3 competition held in Argentina, thus gaining a place in the World Cup Qualifier held in South Africa in April 2009. In 2007 the Ugandan Rugby Union team were victorious in the 2007 Africa Cup, beating Madagascar in the final.

Rallying is also a popular sport in Uganda with the country having successfully staged a round of the African Rally Championship (ARC), Pearl of Africa Rally since 1996 when it was a candidate event. The country has gone on to produce African rally champions such as Charles Muhangi who won the 1999 ARC crown. Other notable Ugandans on the African rally scene include the late Riyaz Kurji who was killed in an fatal accident while leading the 2009 edition, Emma Katto, Karim Hirji, Chipper Adams and Charles Lubega. Ugandans have also featured prominently in the Safari Rally.

Ugandans have since the early 1920s enjoyed the fast-paced sport of hockey. It was originally played by the Asians, but now it is widely played by people from other racial backgrounds. Hockey is the only Ugandan field sport to date to have qualified for and represented the country at the Olympics; this was at the Munich games in 1972. It is also believed in Ugandan hockey circles that Uganda's first and only Olympic gold medal may have been realized in part by the cheers from the representative hockey team that urged John Akii-Bua forward.[citation needed]

[edit] Education

Main article: Education in Uganda

Students in Uganda

Illiteracy is common in Uganda, particularly among females.[35] Public spending on education was at 5.2 % of the 2002–2005 GDP.[35] Much public education in primary and secondary schools focus upon repetition and memorization. There are also state exams that must be taken at every level of education. Uganda has both private and public universities. The largest university in Uganda is Makerere University located outside of Kampala. The system of education in Uganda has a structure of 7 years of primary education, 6 years of secondary education (divided into 4 years of lower secondary and 2 years of upper secondary school), and 3 to 5 years of post-secondary education. The present system has existed since the early 1960s.

[edit] Human rights

Respect for human rights in Uganda has improved significantly since the mid-1980s. There are, however, many areas which continue to attract concern.

Conflict in the northern parts of the country continues to generate reports of abuses by both the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the Ugandan Army. A UN official accused the LRA in February 2009 of "appalling brutality" in the Democratic Republic of Congo.[38] The number of internally displaced persons is estimated at 1.4 million. Torture continues to be a widespread practice amongst security organisations. Attacks on political freedom in the country, including the arrest and beating of opposition Members of Parliament, has led to international criticism, culminating in May 2005 in a decision by the British government to withhold part of its aid to the country. The arrest of the main opposition leader Kizza Besigye and the besiegement of the High Court during a hearing of Besigye's case by heavily armed security forces — before the February 2006 elections — led to condemnation.[39]

Recently, grassroots organisations have been attempting to raise awareness about children who were kidnapped by the Lord's Resistance Army to work as soldiers or be used as wives. Thousands of children as young as eight were captured and forced to kill. The documentary film Invisible Children illustrates the terrible lives of the children, known as night commuters, who still to this day leave their villages and walk many miles each night to avoid abduction.[40]

The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants reported several violations of refugee rights in 2007, including forcible deportations by the Ugandan government and violence directed against refugees.[32]

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda. Gays and lesbians face discrimination and harassment at the hands of the media, police, teachers and other groups. In 2007, a Ugandan newspaper, The Red Pepper, published a list of allegedly gay men, many of whom suffered harassment as a result.[41] Also on October 9, 2010, the Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone published a front page article—titled "100 Pictures of Uganda's Top Homos Leak"—that listed the names, addresses, and photographs of 100 homosexuals alongside a yellow banner that read "Hang Them".[42] The paper also alleged that homosexuals aimed to "recruit" Ugandan children. This publication attracted international attention and criticism from human rights organisations, such as Amnesty International,[43] No Peace Without Justice[44] and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.[45] According to gay rights activists, many Ugandans have been attacked since the publication.[46] On January 27, 2011, gay rights activist David Kato was murdered.[47] Kato was on Rolling Stone's hitlist. Also a number of other gays and lesbian are missing and are believed to have been murdered.

The Uganda parliament recently considered an Anti-Homosexuality Bill, if enacted, would have broadened the criminalisation of homosexuality by introducing the death penalty for people who have previous convictions, are HIV-positive, or engage in same sex sexual acts. The bill also included provisions for Ugandans who engage in same-sex sexual relations outside of Uganda, asserting that they may have been extradited for punishment back to Uganda, and included penalties for individuals, companies, media organisations, or non-governmental organisations that support LGBT rights. The private member's bill was submitted by MP David Bahati in Uganda on 14 October 2009, and is believed to have had wide spread support in the Uganda parliament.[48] Debate of the bill was delayed in response to global condemnation.[49]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Uganda: Society" in Library of Congress . Retrieved 29 June 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e Central Intelligence Agency (2009). "Uganda". The World Factbook. Retrieved January 23, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Uganda". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  4. ^ a b aids "East Africa Living Encyclopedia – Ethnic Groups", African Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania
  5. ^ Phyllis Martin and Patrick O'Meara. Africa. 3rd edition. Indiana University Press, 1995.
  6. ^ Mwambutsya, Ndebesa, "Pre-capitalist Social Formation: The Case of the Banyankole of Southwestern Uganda." Eastern Africa Social Science Research Review 6, no. 2; 7, no. 1 (June 1990 and January 1991): 78–95.
  7. ^ "Origins of Bunyoro-Kitara Kings", Bunyoro-Kitara website
  8. ^ "Background Note: Uganda", U.S. State Department
  9. ^ Reanalyzing the 1900–1920 Sleeping Sickness Epidemic in Uganda. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  10. ^ "The Cambridge history of Africa: From the earliest times to c. 500 BC". John D. Fage (1982). Cambridge University Press. p.748. ISBN 0-521-22803-4
  11. ^ History of Parliament (Website of the Parliament of Uganda)
  12. ^ "Buganda Kingdom: The Uganda Crisis, 1966". Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  13. ^ "Department of State. Background Note: Uganda". 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  14. ^ "A Country Study: Uganda", Library of Congress Country Studies
  15. ^ Keatley, Patrick (18 August 2003). "Obituary: Idi Amin". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  16. ^ "UK Indians taking care of business". March 8, 2006.
  17. ^ "New-Breed" Leadership, Conflict, and Reconstruction in the Great Lakes Region of Africa: A Sociopolitical Biography of Uganda's Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Joseph Oloka-Onyango, Africa Today - Volume 50, Number 3, Spring 2004, p. 29
  18. ^ "Parliament of Uganda Website :: – COMPOSITION OF PARLIAMENT". Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  19. ^ "Can Uganda’s economy support more districts?", New Vision, 8 August 2005
  20. ^ "Snapshot of Uganda's economic outlook". African Economic Outlook. July 6, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Uganda's oil rush: Derricks in the darkness", The Economist, August 6th 2009, retrieved August 10th 2009.
  22. ^ "Uganda at a Glance". World Bank. November 13, 2009. 
  23. ^ Interview of David Hines in 1999 by W. D. Ogilvie; obituary of David Hines in London Daily Telegraph 8 April 2000 written by W. D. Ogilvie
  24. ^ a b c d Claire Melamed, Kate Higgins and Andy Sumner (2010) Economic growth and the MDGs Overseas Development Institute
  25. ^ Kaujju, Peter. "Capital markets eye pension reform". The New Vision, June, 2008. Retrieved on February 9, 2009.
  26. ^ Rutaagi, Edgar. "Uganda Moving Towards Pension Reforms". The African Executive, 2009. Retrieved on February 9, 2009.
  27. ^ "2005_Act 11" (PDF).,_2005.pdf. Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  28. ^ Swahili in the UCLA Language Materials Project
  29. ^ "A Brief History of the Swahili Language",
  30. ^ "Activists push for more reproductive health cash", The Observer, October 8, 2008
  31. ^ a b "2002 Uganda Population and Housing Census — Main Report" (PDF). Uganda Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2008-03-26. 
  32. ^ a b "World Refugee Survey 2008". U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. 2008-06-19. 
  33. ^ Uganda: Return of the exiles. The Independent. August 26, 2005.
  34. ^ "U.S. Department of State". Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  35. ^ a b c d e f "Human Development Report 2009 - Uganda". Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  36. ^ "Background: HIV/Aids in Uganda". The Guardian. December 1, 2008
  37. ^
  38. ^ (AFP) – February 10, 2009 (2009-02-10). "AFP: Attacks of 'appalling brutality' in DR Congo: UN". Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  39. ^ "Uganda: Respect Opposition Right to Campaign", Human Rights Watch, 19 December 2005
  40. ^ "Invisible Children of Uganda film website". Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  41. ^ "Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people" Amnesty International Report 2007 Uganda. Accessed on 21 August 2007.
  42. ^ "Ugandan paper calls for gay people to be hanged", Xan Rice,, 21 October 2010
  43. ^ "Ugandan gay rights activist: ‘I have to watch my back more than ever'", 5 November 2010
  44. ^ "Uganda: Stop homophobic campaign launched by Rolling Stone tabloid", 14 October 2010, No Peace Without Justice
  45. ^ "Uganda Newspaper Published Names/Photos of LGBT Activists and HRDs - Cover Says 'Hang Them'", International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
  46. ^ "Outcry as Ugandan paper names 'top homosexuals'", Simon Akam, The Independent, 22 October 2010
  47. ^ "Uganda gay rights activist David Kato killed", 27 January 2011, BBC news
  48. ^ Sharlet, Jeff (September 2010). "Straight Man's Burden: The American roots of Uganda's anti-gay persecutions". Harper's (Harper's Magazine Foundation) 321 (1,924): 36–48. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  49. ^ "Uganda's anti-gay bill delayed amid outcry "

[edit] External links

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