African History

Start Your Free Trial

What are the problems facing Uganda today?

Expert Answers info

Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write2,050 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

There is no other word for what Ugandans have suffered since 1962 other than “genocide.” The people of this East African nation have suffered government-endorsed and government sponsored acts of violence. Many have been subjected to egregious human rights violations, including violence and imprisonment without being tried. Countless persons have been forcibly exiled. Those seeking political power have distributed wealth to their own benefit and to that of their cronies while Ugandans starve and atrocities are overlooked. The only political changes have come about through violence.

The history of Uganda has contributed to its current-day dilemmas. During the colonial period, (1894-1962), the British established a distribution system for resources, which was largely based on ethnic lines. Favored with the highest incomes were the Europeans, who controlled the state, and Asians, who controlled business. Among the African population, those who fared best resource-wise were the Baganda, who grew the cash-rich crop of cotton and coffee. Western Ugandans were the source of labor for these crops. As for the military, those recruited to serve hailed mainly from the northern region. These soliders spoke Luo and Sudanic.

As racially-divided as the country was, when colonialism ended, instability soon enused. Untried and untested leaders, such as Milton Obote and Idi Amin took advantage of these tensions and established themselves in the seats of power. They blamed the Ugandans themselves for the inequalities engendered by British colonialism and they imposed “collective punishment” on whole groups of people, regardless of their class, loyalties, or race.

Mass killings of Ugandans began at the very dawn of the postcolonial era. It is estimated that massacres of between 400 and 1,000 Ugandans occurred under the rule of Obote from 1966 to 1941. The first causalties were the Baganda people. Idi Amin’s regime, from 1971-1979 was responsible for the targeted murders of the Alcholi and Langi peoples. Amin focused on those in the military; thousands were killed at his behest.

Amin was removed from office during the Tanzanian war. After his ouster, those who had been loyal to him, or were suspected to be sympathizers, or just those who came from the region he called home, were killed: Muslims, Nubians, and people West of the Nile were especially targeted.

Milton Obote returned to power in in 1980. He refocused his genocidal efforts on Bagandans once again. This time, it is estimated that some 300,000 people were murdered. The terror didn’t stop. From 1986 to 2003, 100, 000 people in the Acholi region were killed and it is thought that 20,000 children (or more) had been abducted.

Ugandans native population was also reduced by forced exile. Whole groups were forced to leave the country. The first wave of expulsions occurred in 1969. The Obote government exiled some 30,000 people, the majority of whom were from Luos. Idi Amin expelled even more: some 75,000 Asians and Indo-Pakistanis were force out in 1972. In 1982 and...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 936 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Walter Fischer eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2013

write4,028 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial


laurto | Student

The biggest problems Uganda faces today is poverty and illiteracy. Only 66.8% of the population is literate. AIDS used to be a huge problem for them but today the percentage of Ugandans with AIDS is 6.4%. The Allied Democratic Forces is considered a violent rebel force that opposes the Ugandan government. The Lord's Resistance Army has caused tens of thousands of casualties and have displaced more than a million people.