Country of the World Uganda

About the country Uganda, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.




Lay of the Land: East central Africa, called the "Pearl of Africa." A lush land well watered by lakes, rivers, and heavy annual rainfall, only the northeastern corner of the country is insufficiently irrigated. Southeastern Uganda forms an arc around the northwestern part of Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake. In the west is Lake Mobuto Sese Seko (formerly Lake Albert); along with Lake Idi Amin (formerly Lake Edward), it forms part of the border with Zaire. Between the two western lakes rise the magnificent Ruwenzori Mountains, also called the Mountains of the Moon because of their bluish tinge.

Size: 91,133 sq. mi. (236,036 sq. km.).

Population: 12.7 million.

Who Rules: The president is the executive leader. The unicameral National Assembly, with 91 elected members, constitutes the legislative branch. It has not functioned since 1971.

Who REALLY Rules: Gen. Idi Amin Dada, who came to power in 1971, is the sole power in Uganda, supported by the Defense Council made up of military leaders. He has surrounded himself with the so-called Nubians, who are Muslim, and members of his own Kakwa tribe. Amin has ruthlessly rooted out members of other tribes and religions to make room for his handpicked advisers. Amin has two intelligence arms to help him keep the population in check. The Public Safety Unit is a paramilitary security force that has quelled disturbances in army barracks and is reportedly responsible for murdering hundreds of students at the country's only university. The second unit, called the Bureau of State Research, is the country's much-feared secret police. This unit is responsible for the disappearances of many more citizens, some prominent.

The chief justice of the land Benedicto Kiwanuka, sometimes referred to as the father of the country, was dragged from his courtroom by soldiers and never seen again. In March, 1977, two cabinet ministers and the Anglican archbishop of Kampala were murdered. Even members of Amin's family are not secure. The body of Amin's wife, Kay, was found hacked to pieces in the trunk of a car. Her doctor and his family were all slain at the same time, presumably on instructions from Amin. Amnesty International estimates that as many as 300,000 Ugandans have perished as a result of the reign of terror inflicted by Amin and his henchmen.

The Ugandan economy is aided greatly by U.S. companies, which account for 37.5% of Uganda's export sales. In the words of Rep. Don J. Pease (D.-Ohio). "It is Uganda's hard currency, much of it from U.S. coffee imports, that Amin is using to pay his mercenaries, to buy hardware (mostly from Soviet sources), to import luxury goods, and to enrich himself."

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