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June 2012



A landslide buried villages in eastern Uganda in the Bududa District. Bududa is a mountainous region bordering Kenya. It has Alpine vegetation and includes Mount Elgon, an extinct volcano. Mount Elgon is noted for its dense population on the lower slopes where arabica coffee, tea, bananas, and millet are grown.

Uganda is a landlocked country in Central Africa, slightly smaller than Oregon, encompassing a total of 241,038 sq km. Uganda borders Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Tanzania. Its climate is tropical, generally rainy with two dry seasons (December to February, June to August), and semiarid in the northeast. The terrain of Uganda is mostly plateau with a rim of mountains.

The colonial boundaries created by Britain, to delimit Uganda, grouped together a wide range of ethnic groups with different political systems and cultures. The Baganda are the largest ethnic group in Uganda and comprise approximately 17% of the population. Other individual ethnic groups include: Acholi, Bakiga, Banyankole and Bahima, Banyarwanda, Basoga and Bagisu, Batoro, Bunyoro, Karamojong, Langi, and Lugbara. Uganda's population is predominately rural with the highest density in the southern regions.

Britain granted internal self-government to Uganda in 1961, with the first elections held on March 1, 1961. Uganda maintained its Commonwealth membership. A second round of elections in April 1962 elected members to a new National Assembly. Uganda gained formal independence on October 9, 1962.

On February 18, 2011, Uganda held its fourth presidential and parliamentary elections since Museveni came to power (1986). Seven opposition presidential candidates, including FDC leader Kizza Besigye (the Inter-Party Cooperation candidate) ran against Museveni. On February 20, the Electoral Commission declared Museveni the winner with 68% of the vote; Kizza Besigye came in second with 26% of the vote. The 1995 constitution established Uganda as a republic with executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The constitution provides for an executive president, to be elected every five years. Legislative responsibility is vested in the parliament; legislative elections are held every five years. The Ugandan judiciary operates as an independent branch of government. Parliament and the judiciary are independent bodies and wield significant power.

Uganda has substantial natural resources, including fertile soils, regular rainfall, small deposits of copper, gold, and other minerals, and recently discovered oil. Uganda has never conducted a national minerals survey. Agriculture is the most important sector of the economy, employing over 80% of the work force. Coffee accounts for the bulk of export revenues.

The Columbia Gazetteer; CIA World Factbook; U.S. State Department Background Notes, 6/2012; 6/2012; 4/2012

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