Uganda. According to
COUNTRYAAH, Uganda's ambitious economic reform program was
rewarded during the year with debt relief and new
multi-billion dollar credits. The proportion of poor people
in the population has dropped significantly during the
1990s, and Uganda, like few other African countries, has
managed to get almost all children to attend school.
Political reforms, on the other hand, seem distant. More
than 90% of the participants in a referendum in June
approved the partyless system. The principle that the
country should be governed by an all-encompassing "Movement"
aims to avoid the ethnic and religious violence that
characterized the years 1971-86. However, the turnout was
only 47%, and the opposition had called for a boycott.
About 1,000 members of a Christian doomsday cult were
found dead in southwestern Uganda in March. Nearly 500 were
burned inside the sect's church, and as many were found
strangled or poisoned in the surrounding area. They probably
had been persuaded to abandon all property in the belief
that the earth would collapse at the turn of the millennium.
When they then demanded their assets back, they were
murdered. The sect leaders were believed to have escaped.
An outbreak of Ebola disease hit northern Uganda during
the fall. By the beginning of December, 156 people had died.
A WTO report showed that the Museveni government's
economic reforms have attracted foreign investment and
contributed to growth in the country. As part of the reform,
the trade sector has been liberalized. Up to 2001, GDP had
risen by about 6% annually. The government deficit was
reduced and so was inflation, which had improved the
economic situation in the country. Agriculture accounted for
about 42% of GDP and 80% of employment.
In March 2002, Uganda and Sudan entered into the fight
against the LRA partisan movement, led by "Prophet" Joseph
Kony, who wants to rule Uganda on the basis of the Bible's
10 commandments. The movement has become entrenched in the
border between the two countries and, as part of its
tactics, is abducting thousands of Ugandan children made
into child soldiers.
In October, the government evacuated 400,000 residents
from the battle area before intensifying the fight against
the LRA. In December, an agreement was signed with UNRF
after 5 years of negotiations.
In May 2003, the last Ugandan forces withdrew from the
Republic of Congo and were followed by tens of thousands of
refugees asking for asylum in Uganda. In August, Uganda's
former dictator, Idi Amin Dada, died at a hospital in Saudi
In February 2004, 200 people were murdered in a refugee
camp in the northern part of the country by LRA rebels. The
president declared that there had been a lack of military
Following pressure from the donor countries, the
government showed a willingness to allow the country to
develop towards a multi-party system. At the same time, the
existing constitution made it impossible for Museveni's
participation in the next presidential election in 2006. A
number of analysts now pointed out that it was possible that
Museveni, while changing the constitution to a multi-party
democracy, would introduce the possibility that he could
stand for himself in 2006.
Although a ceasefire agreement was announced in December
between the government and the rebels in the Lord's
Liberation Army, in January 2005, Museveni declared that the
government would resume the fight. The explanation was that
the Liberation Army had rejected the ceasefire agreement.