NATIONAL SYMBOLS OF UGANDA
UGANDAN COAT OF ARMS
The Coat of Arms of Uganda is centred on a shield and spears on a green mound.
The shield and spears represent the willingness of the Ugandan people to defend their country. There are three images on the shield: those on top represent the waves ofLake Victoria; the sun in the centre represents the many days of brilliant sunshine Uganda enjoys; and the traditional drum at the bottom is symbolic of dancing, and summoning people to meetings and ceremony.
The shield is flanked on the right by a Crested Crane (Balearica regulorum gibbericeps), a subspecies of the Grey-crowned Crane and the national bird of Uganda. On the left is the Ugandan Kob (Kobus kob thomasi), a species of Kob that here represents abundant wildlife.
The shield stands on a green mound, representing fertile land, and directly above a representation of the River Nile. The two main cash crops; coffee and cotton, flank the river. At the bottom is the national motto: “For God and My Country”.
The Flag of Uganda was adopted on 9 October 1962, the date that Uganda became independent from the United Kingdom. It consists of six equal horizontal bands of black (top), yellow, red, black, yellow, and red; a white disc is superimposed at the centre and depicts the national symbol, a Grey Crowned Crane, facing the hoist side. The three colours are representative of African peoples (black), Africa’s sunshine (yellow), and African brotherhood (red being the colour of blood, through which all Africans are connected). The Grey Crowned Crane is fabled for its gentle nature depicted in the people of Uganda.
Oh Uganda! May God uphold thee.
We lay our future in thy hand.
Together we’ll always stand.
Oh Uganda! The land of beauty
Our love and labour we give,
And with neighbours all
At our country’s call
In peace and friendship we’ll live.
Oh Uganda! The land that feeds us
By sun and fertile soil grown
For our own dear land,
We’ll always stand,
The Pearl of Africa’s Crown
Uganda is located in East Africa across the equator. Its land area is 77,108 sq miles (199,710 sq kms). Its total area is 91,135 sq miles (236, 040 sq kms). Nearly one-fifth of the total area, or 44,000 sq kms, is open water or swampland. Uganda borders the Democratic Republic of Congo in the West, the Republic of the Sudan in the North, the Republic of Kenya in the East, the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Rwanda and the Lake Victoria, form part of the Southern border. Uganda is a landlocked country, with plains, hills, mountains, fertile soils that are well-watered with many lakes and rivers.
Uganda is strategically located at the heart of Africa, a region that includes some of Africa’s most economically important and resource rich countries with a substantial market and immense future potential.
Uganda’s equatorial climate provides sufficient sunshine, moderated by the relatively high altitude of most areas of the country. Mean annual temperatures range from 16° C in the south-western highlands; to 25° C in the northwest; but in the northeast, temperatures exceed 30° C for 254 days per year. Daytime temperatures average about eight to ten degrees warmer than night time temperatures in the Lake Victoria region, and temperatures are generally about fourteen degrees lower in the southwest.
Except in the north-eastern corner of the country, rainfall is well distributed. The southern region has two rainy seasons, usually beginning in early April and again in October. Little rain falls in June and December. In the north, occasional rains occur between April and October, while the period from November to March is often very dry. Mean annual rainfall near Lake Victoria often exceeds 2,100 millimetres, and the mountainous regions of the southwest receive more than 1,500 millimetres of rainfall yearly. The lowest mean annual rainfall in the northeast measures about 500 millimetres.
A Brief Political History of Uganda
When Arab traders travelled inland from their enclaves along the Indian Ocean coast of East Africa, and reached the interior of Uganda in the 1830s, they found several African kingdoms with well-developed political institutions dating back several centuries. These traders were followed in the 1860s by British explorers searching for the source of the River Nile. Protestant missionaries entered the country in 1877 followed by Catholic missionaries in 1879.
Independence through the 1960s
Uganda became a British protectorate in 1894 and she got her independence on October 9th 1962.
Religion and Language
Uganda’s religious heritage is tripartite: indigenous religions, Islam, and Christianity. About four-fifths of the population is Christian, primarily divided between Roman Catholics and Protestants (mostly Anglicans). Other Christian denominations include the Seventh-day Adventists, Baptists, Greek Orthodoxy, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and Presbyterians. About one-tenth of the population is Muslim, and, of the remainder, most practice traditional religions. A small number of Abayudaya Jews live in communities in eastern Uganda, the descendants of converts to Judaism in the 1920s. Large numbers of Sikhs and Hindus live throughout the country. Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the 1995 Constitution.
There are at least 32 languages spoken in Uganda, but English and Swahili both official languages—and Ganda are the most commonly used. English is the medium of instruction and of government, access to high office, prestige, economic and political power is almost impossible without an adequate command of the English language. Swahili was chosen as another official national language because of its potential for facilitating regional integration.
Uganda’s indigenous languages are coextensive with its different ethnic groups. In addition to English, French, and Swahili, Radio Uganda broadcasts in more than 20 indigenous languages including Alur, Ganda, Lugbara, Masaba, Rwanda, Nyankole, Nyoro, Soga, and Teso (Iteso). Most Ugandans can understand several languages.
Uganda’s economy is basically agricultural, and it occupies some four-fifths of the working population. Uganda’s moderate climate is especially congenial to the production of both livestock and crops.
The 1991 Investment Code offers tax and other incentives to local and foreign investors through the Uganda Investment Authority, which has made it easier for potential investors to procure licenses and investment approval.
The economy improved rapidly during the 1990s, and Uganda has been acclaimed for its economic stability and high rates of growth. It is one of the few African countries praised by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the international financial community for its economic policies of government divestiture and privatization and currency reform. Uganda has been particularly successful in soliciting international support and loans. In 1997 it was selected as one of the few countries to receive debt relief for its successful implementation of stringent economic reform projects and has continued to qualify for significant debt relief since then. Because of this, Uganda has been able to focus on eradicating poverty and expanding resource exploitation, industries, and tourism.