Basic information about the territory
- System of governance and political tendencies in the country
- Foreign policy of the country
The system of governance and political tendencies in the country
The Republic of Uganda is a unitary state; administrative division includes 4 regions and 135 districts plus the capital Kampala.
The country uses a presidential system in which the president is the head of state and also runs the government. The president has broad powers and is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
According to the 1995 constitution, the president is elected in general elections for a five-year term. The Constitution has been amended several times, abolishing both the maximum number of consecutive presidential terms and the age limit for presidential candidates. This allowed President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to stand again in the presidential election. Museveni, who has been in power since 1986 and is one of sub-Saharan Africa’s longest-serving presidents, won the last presidential election in January 2021 with 58.6% of the vote.
The constitution also allowed the activity of political parties, which had been restricted since the end of the civil war in 1986; since 1995, the Ugandan political system has been formally based on pluralist democracy. Check cancermatters to learn more about Uganda political system.
All legislative power rests with the Parliament (Parliament of Uganda), which is unicameral and has 529 deputies after the elections in 2021. A total of 353 deputies are elected by the majority system in single-mandate constituencies. 146 mandates reserved for women are filled by the same system; furthermore, 30 seats are indirectly filled through special election committees, 10 deputies are nominated by the army, 5 youth organizations, 5 senior citizens’ organizations, 5 trade unions and 5 associations of the disabled. At least one woman must be elected in each of these groups (or two women for the army). Citizens over the age of 18 have the right to vote.
The party system has long been dominated by the National Resistance Movement (NRM); after the elections in January 2021, it has 336 deputies in the parliament. The NRM is a former liberation movement founded by Y. Museveni that overthrew the dictatorial regime of President Milton Obote in 1986.
Close behind NRM is the National Unity Platform (57 MPs), a new opposition coalition led by (according to the official election results unsuccessful) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu better known as Bobi Wine. The Forum for Democratic Change (32 MPs) replaced the strongest opposition party.
Both the president and senators have five-year terms. According to the constitution, the Government of Uganda “consists of a President, a Vice-President, and such number of Ministers as may appear to the President to be reasonably necessary for the effective administration of the State”.
The vice president, prime minister and ministers are appointed by the president from among elected members of parliament. In the performance of his duties, the Prime Minister is directly subordinate to the President. The Ugandan government currently has 22 ministers.
Foreign policy of the country
Uganda has been a member of the United Nations since 1962, a founding member of the Organization of African Unity (today the African Union) and a member of many other organizations and regional associations such as the G-77, the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACT) group of countries, the Commonwealth, the Organization of the Islamic Conference ( OIC), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the East African Community (EAC).
The determining factor in the formulation of the country’s foreign policy has always been and continues to be the inland geographical location, which is dominated by the key and vital issue of transit corridors for the country. Therefore, the basis is the relations with the neighbors, especially with Kenya and Tanzania, with which Uganda is bound by a common colonial past and current joint membership in the EAC. On the other hand, relations with former ally Rwanda (also a member of the EAC, of course) are complicated. Uganda is characterized by its strong interest in African politics and pan-Africanism. Often, Uganda would like to play a bigger role than it has the potential to play. Check prozipcodes for Uganda defense and foreign policy.
During the 35 years of President Yoweri Museveni’s rule, Uganda has turned from an unstable country characterized by coups, oppressive regimes, support for terrorism and civil wars into a stable country and exemplary cooperation with the international community on important issues (e.g. the fight against terrorism, the relationship with refugees). Due to the significant democratic deficit, however, relations with Western countries, which are also the largest donors to the Ugandan government, are going through a serious crisis.
In the East African region, UG has a significantly stabilizing role, including through an active approach to conflict resolution in South Sudan and Somalia. President Museveni is a highly respected figure in the region and wields great influence; for example, he managed to organize a tripartite summit in 2019 to resolve the conflict in South Sudan, which had a key influence on the gradual stabilization of the country. Museveni was also a long-time mediator between the parties to the conflict in Burundi. Uganda has long had very cold relations with neighboring Rwanda; countries accuse each other of subversive activities and support for rebel groups. The Gatuna border crossing on the main road between Kampala and Kigali has been closed for two years, which significantly complicates both the trade between the countries and the economy of the border areas. Difficulties of this kind paralyze the entire EAC to a large extent.
Uganda is the largest contributor of personnel to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM); the continent has more than 5,000 troops.
Uganda is willing to participate in the resolution of protracted conflicts in eastern DR Congo, but refuses to participate in multinational forces (AMISOM type) against various armed factions, preferring bilateral support of the Congolese army. The DRC poses not only a security risk for Uganda, but also a health risk (Ebola transmission).
The US is a traditional and important ally of the Ugandan government (the fight against terrorism) and is one of the largest donors (the annual amount of development and humanitarian aid reaches almost 2 billion USD). They have a very important role in many diverse areas including professionalizing the military, treating 1 million HIV-positive Ugandans, increasing agricultural productivity and the quality of education, and improving tax collection. However, relations with the US (like Uganda’s relations with other Western countries) are going through a difficult period, due to a serious democratic deficit in the country, including the violent conduct of the 2020 election campaign and the elections themselves in January 2021.
Great Britain also took a critical stance on developments in the country, but clearly more mildly formulated. Relations with the UK (as a former colonial power) are of particular importance to Uganda.
From the point of view of reaction to controversial elections (ie recognition of the regime’s legitimacy), the least problematic for Museveni are Russia and the PRC and partners from the EAC, as well as other sub-Saharan African countries.
Average annual population growth: 3.4%
Demographic composition: 49.5% male; 50.5% female
99% of the population consists of over 20 black tribes of two basic ethnic groups: Bantu (south of the country) and Nilotic (north). The main Bantu tribes, which account for roughly two-thirds of the population, include the Ganda, Sog, Nyor, and Nkol. The main Nilotic tribes are the Ites, Acholi, Langi and Karamajong.
There was a small but economically significant Asian minority in the country. Amin’s government expelled most of it in 1972.
Religious composition: 84% Christianity, 14% Islam