Uganda Population and History

By | June 6, 2022


Internal state of East Africa. According to Homosociety, the rate of population growth (24,442,084 residents at the 2002 census), due to the high fertility rate, is among the highest in the world (3.5 % in the period 2000 – 2005) and contributes to aggravating the situation criticism of a large part of Ugandans. The social context is made even more difficult by the problems associated with the strong presence of Rwandan refugees (only partially returned to their country of origin), Sudanese and Congolese refugees. Furthermore, the Uganda is among the African countries most affected by the AIDS epidemic which has raised the mortality coefficient (12.2 ‰ in 2006) and infant mortality, led to a lowering of life expectancy at birth (46 years for men and 47 years for women, in the period 2000 – 2005) and of the average life expectancy (15 years) and a change in the distribution of population by age group (young people under the age of 15 have reached 50 % of the population, while the elderly over 65 have dropped to just 2.2 %). The Uganda, Despite a slight improvement in the health situation (recent data have signaled a slowdown in the spread of AIDS) and in education (between 1997 and in 2004 the number of schoolchildren went from 3 to 8 million), it remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with a per capita income of just $ 270 per year (2004). The urban population constitutes 12.2 % of the total, concentrated mainly in the capital Kampala (1,208,544 residents at the 2002 census).

Between 1995 and 2004, GDP recorded a sustained growth rate (6.2% per annum), which also persisted in the following two years, making Ugandan one of the most dynamic economies in sub-Saharan Africa. The country, in fact, benefits from important mineral resources (cobalt and nickel), from good agriculture, favored by the climate and the fertility of the soils, and from a flourishing fishing activity. The government has also initiated extensive and extensive reforms (among other things, privatizations, reduction of customs duties, creation of a tax agency, business incentives), which have led to a substantial influx of investments from countries foreigners. However, the economy remains fragile: much of the country’s infrastructure is obsolete, the communications network has not been modernized, energy production, despite the considerable hydroelectric potential.


The 21st century it seemed to open up in the Uganda in the sign of cautious optimism, attributable to the signs of economic recovery, the progressive improvement of relations with neighboring countries, as well as the prospects for internal pacification and the introduction of democratic reforms in the political system. The overall positive picture that was emerging, however, continued to present characteristics of precariousness and uncertainty, linked to the dominant political role played by President Y. Museveni, who came to power in 1986, and by his National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.

On the international level, the main problem of the Uganda it was its own politico-military involvement, since summer 1998, in the internal crisis of the Democratic Republic of Congo. In July 1999, the Lusaka (Zambia) agreement between the countries involved in that crisis started the stabilization of the area, which was later confirmed in September 2002, with the peace treaty signed in Luanda (Angola) between the Uganda and Congo, which concluded the military commitment of the country, thus favoring the establishment of the United Nations interposition force (the definitive withdrawal of the Ugandan troops took place, in advance of the time foreseen by the treaty, in May 2003), and in February 2004, with the cooperation agreements between the Uganda and Rwanda. Finally, in March 2004, a protocol was signed with Kenya and Tanzania for the formation of a customs union and the elimination of duties on most of the goods traded between the three countries.

Internally, however dramatic they presented the situation in the North Uganda, Where the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), an organization led by fundamentalist Christian fanatic J. Kony (convicted in 2005 for crimes against humanity by the ICC international guerrilla activity continued with extreme ferocity, terrorizing the civilian population and forcibly recruiting boys and girls, subjected to continuous threats and ideological indoctrination (according to 2004 estimates, the guerrilla activity had resulted in the kidnapping of about 25,000 children and 2 millions of refugees). To open a glimmer in this situation was the decisive improvement in relations with Sudan (with the resumption of full diplomatic relations in August 2001), which supported the guerrilla war against Museveni, accused in turn by the government of Khartoum of supporting the autonomist movements of southern Sudan. The clash between government troops and guerrillas continued, however, between truces and resurgences, until May 2006 ; in August of the same year, in Ǧūbā (Sudan), a peace agreement was signed, thus finally making it possible to conclude a terrible conflict that had lasted twenty years.

Internally, the first years of the century were marked by another novelty, the introduction of multi-partyism, long opposed by Museveni, who had certainly ensured stability and international credibility to the country after years of dictatorship, but had governed with methods authoritarian and personalistic, often denounced by human rights organizations. The multi-party was reached only in 2005, at the end of a tiring and exhausting path. In fact, in June 2000, on the basis of what was established by the 1995 Constitution, a referendum was held on this issue, in which it was approved by a very large majority (90.7%), but with a low percentage of voters and with the boycott of the opposition, the maintenance of the ‘non-party’ system in force which in fact masked a one-party model. The NRM in fact had the special statute not of a party, but of a movement without the obligation of registration, and could operate throughout the national territory, while the parties, although formally admitted, were confined to the capital and had spaces so limited as to completely compromise their activities. In the elections of March 2001 Museveni was reconfirmed president of the Republic with 69.3 % of the votes, against 27.8by K. Besigye (former member of the NRM, who had been exiled for years to the Republic of South Africa), the first politician to credibly challenge Museveni’s authority. In May 2002, Parliament voted a law on the reorganization of political activity which left the special statute of the NRM intact, but allowed parties, as long as they were registered by February 2003, to operate from March 2003 throughout the national territory. However, in March 2003 the opposition leaders achieved great success when the Constitutional Court, upholding their appeal, ruled that the NRM was a party like any other. In June the NRM accepted the sentence and asked for registration, and in January 2004 the government began consultations with the opposition parties in view of the creation of a multi-party system. In June 2004 the Constitutional Court annulled the referendum of 2000, and in September Museveni himself, finally yielding to international pressure, declared that the country would adopt a multi-party system. A constitutional amendment that provided for multi-partyism and, at the same time, abolished the limit of two terms for the President of the Republic, allowing Museveni to re-run, was approved in May 2005 by Parliament and in July in a popular referendum. Besigye, the main leader of the opposition cartel Forum for Democratic Change , returned to the Uganda to run for president and arrested in December on charges of treason and rape, was released on February 23, 2006 on the eve of the elections, which were held regularly despite protests from the opposition about the limits imposed on their possibility of action and propaganda. Museveni had 59.3 % of the votes against Besigye’s 37.4 and was re-elected to the presidency.

Uganda Population