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There are different accounts about his place of birth. In some accounts, he claimed to have been born at the place where the International Conference Center stands today. Others say he was born in Koboko to a Kakwa father and a Lugbara mother. His actual year of birth is not clear too. It is said that he was born between 1925 and 1928.
Amin’s childhood was a total wreck because he was abandoned by his mother when he was still a baby. He, however survived the street-wise way, selling snacks and doing casual work to earn a living.
In 1946, Amin, who had hobnobbed with soldiers in his early life, courtesy of his mother’s marriage to a Kings African Rifle Clerk, joined the Kings African Rifles. It is not clear whether he joined directly as a soldier; however some sources claim that he was first recruited as a kitchen cook. But soon, he became a real soldier.
It was while with the KAR that the word ‘Dada’ was added to his name because he kept mentioning it whenever he greeted a lady. In between soldiering, he enjoyed different sports activities, including boxing in which he rose to the level of a National Heavy Weight Champion, he tried out athletics as a sprinter and played rugby. He was all the time jolly.
He was a distinguished soldier, easy to pick out from the crowd, largely owing to his actions. During an attack against the Mau-Mau in Kenya, he fought bravely in places like Kinyoma and Kangema in which he killed several of them.
He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 1955 and he became a Commissioned Officer in 1961. He was deployed as commander of a unit in Karamoja that was supposed to stop cattle rustling in the area.
By the time Uganda got her independence, Idi Amin was one of the leading soldiers who formed the first Uganda independence army. By 1964 he had been named Deputy Army Commander while Shaban Opolot was the Army Commander.
Milton Obote then deployed him to help the Katanga rebels who were fighting against Zaire government. Later, it emerged that Amin had indeed sold gold and diamonds given to him by the rebels in return for arms. Much later, the issue went before parliament for debate; however Obote snuffed it in the bud by arresting all the ring leaders, hence saving himself and Amin.
Having struck a ‘wonderful’ chord, when Obote fell out with Kabaka Fredrick Muteesa, it was Idi Amin, then a Colonel of the army that he turned to for survival. On 24th May 1966, Obote sent a force commanded by Idi Amin to attack the Lubiri in order to bring the Kabaka alive or dead. Amin carried out this order diligently.
While he obeyed his master’s orders to the letter, Amin had his personal ambitions up his sleeve. For example, he was recruiting hundreds of his kinsmen into the army. These were to come in handy later when he decided to take over high office. Among these included Sudanese and Congolese.
By the early 1970s, Amin had created a sizeable force within the Uganda Army that could answer to his whims and Obote recognized this too. A fall out started and finally, it culminated into the 1971 coup. At that time Obote wanted to arrest Idi Amin for various cases including murder. Then, Major General Amin however used his men to stop the move and was soon declared President while Obote was attending a Common Wealth Conference in Singapore.
There was jubilation when Amin captured power, largely because Obote had lost popularity. But soon, it was noticed that Amin was not the savior the country thought he was. Nonetheless, he started off by releasing all political prisoners who had been imprisoned by Obote.
He appointed an all inclusive cabinet, full of professionals and experts-which were hailed by both local and international commentators.
But underneath this all, there was murder going on-especially of Langi soldiers in the Uganda Army. According to various accounts, over 1,000 soldiers from Privates up to the rank of Colonel were murdered in the first days after the coup. Outside the army, the first few years of Amin`s regime saw the murder of several prominent personalities including Ben Kiwanuka (Attorney General).
By 1972, the economy which he had found in a good condition was shriveling. He had already caught up with religious extremism and had shifted from being a ‘darling’ of the Western world- UK, to the East, especially Russia. He claimed to stand for the Palestinian cause and vowed to fight for it.
However, it was his ‘dream’ to chase away the Asians, who hitherto owned most key businesses that shook the world. He gave them just 90 days to leave or perish. Many of them left, others did not, but instead chose to commit suicide. Asian businesses were then distributed amongst his cohorts.
He then embarked on building his army as one of the best in Africa at the time, with fighter planes MIGs from Russia, tanks among others. He was so smitten with his abilities that he threatened to fight the ‘imperialists’ in South-Africa and the Israelis from Palestine.
In 1974, he got an international respite when he held the OAU conference in Kampala. Notable developments at the time included the construction of both Nile Hotel and Nile Mansions to host the conference.
While killings continued unabated, Amin further took his antics to the international level. In 1976, he allowed a high-jacked Air France Plane, bound for Israel to land at Entebbe airport. The Israelis however attacked and rescued their citizens a few days later. His claim on land at the border with Tanzania, and earlier claims of land at the border with Kenya continued.
In 1978, Amin`s soldiers launched an attack on the Kagera Salient in Tanzania and captured it. Little known to Amin, this was the sign that the Tanzanians and various exile groups wanted to get rid of Amin.
By late 1978, they attacked and by April 1979, Amin had been defeated. Amin fled to Libya and later Saudi Arabia where he died on August 16, 2003.
Officially, Amin had five wives, all of whom he treated as ‘First Ladies’ at different functions. They included Kay Amin, Nora Amin, Medina Amin, Sarah Amin and Malyamu Amin. The number of children he fathered is above 30.
The seasons determine the distribution of birds. Palearctic migrants arrive in October and head back in March. Some birds arrive in April and leave in October while others arrive in August and remain until April. These cycles are determined by the species. Therefore, there can be some overlapping of various birds. Intra-African migrants arrive in July and start leaving in December.
Upon arrival to Uganda, the birds can be found in various parts of the country; such as the River Nile, Lake Munyanyange, Kazinga Channel, Ishasha sector.
Located on the shores of Lake Victoria, Lutembe bay which is a famous site for birding safaris in Uganda is considered among the wetlands of International Significance or commonly known as the Ramsar site having received the status in the year 2006.
The shallow sheltered bay is positioned at the northern shore of Victoria Lake in the district of Wakiso is sheltered from the main lake by huge Papyrus Island and its vegetated, sheltered shoreline along with the Islands that are muddy present roofing and nesting sites for counts of birds along with other biodiversity always encountered on Uganda safaris
Lutembe Bay is known to be among the main migration stop overs and stands as one of the remarkable bird watching sites in the Lake Victoria Basin. The site acts as a host of both indigenous and millions of Palearctic migrants especially the enormous flocks of White-winged Terns and Grey-headed Gulls. A range of other Species of interest includes the Hottentot Teal, Caspian Tern, Temminck’s Stint and the Broad-billed Sandpiper and Great Knot that have been recorded of recent.
The Lutembe wetland is part of the greater Murchison bay which is rich in the counts of Plant and animal Species. The bay provides materials for construction and craft products the local communities, energy products, fish, medicine and drinking water. The Lutembe wetland goes ahead to play a significant role as it acts as spawning ground for fish, feeding and roosting grounds for fish, wastewater cleaning, transport, retention of pollutants and sediments and defending floods.
Lutembe Wetland features bird species that are globally threatened bird species, the cichlid fish which is endangered and over 100 Species of butterfly. It acts a rich ground for Lung and Clarius fish breeding and supports over 52% of the counts of White-winged Black Tern always encountered by travelers on safari in Uganda
Lutembe bay is close to Kampala city and the Entebbe International Airport thus making its accessibility easier. It can also be noted that being an Important Bird Area, it has a site support group steered by the local community responsible for the conservation and sustainable utilization of the area’s natural resources and this support Group is known as Lutembe Wetland Users association (LWUA).
Visiting the Lutembe bay is such a wonder that one should endeavor to undertake. Encountering the millions of birds as they fly in patterns at once creating a shadow after blocking the sun and then they land again making the place quiet again presents one of the rewarding bird views one can ever have in Uganda
The migratory birds are noted to be flying from liberia without stopping up to Lutembe in Uganda which is a wonder to hear of. The birds come as far as Scandinavia, Russia and the Main land Europe. The bird thrive for nine (9) months in Uganda and then fly back to Europe to breed whereas some fly without stopping to and from the famous Caspian Sea.
In fact around 2000, the Lutembe Wetland had close to the entire white winged terns populations counting to more than 3.5 million birds. These birds are noted to start arriving in September and October and then depart amid February and March. In their European habitats they are encountered amid May and June and it can be noted that in each year the birds come with their young ones that they hatched in the last season. On their flight to Uganda, the terms make en route stops in Egypt and Sudan along the Nile River while the gulls have the capacity to fly from Caspian Sea to Lutembe without stopping.
This combine to justify your Uganda tour to Lutembe bay.
It is bordered to the east by Kenya, to the north by South Sudan, to the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the south-west by Rwanda, and to the south by Tanzania. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, shared with Kenya and Tanzania. Uganda is in the African Great Lakes region. Uganda also lies within the Nile basin, and has a varied but generally a modified equatorial climate.
Uganda takes its name from the Buganda kingdom, which encompasses a large portion of the south of the country, including the capital Kampala. The people of Uganda were hunter-gatherers until 1,700 to 2,300 years ago, when Bantu-speaking populations migrated to the southern parts of the country.
Beginning in 1894, the area was ruled as a protectorate by the British, who established administrative law across the territory. Uganda gained independence from Britain on 9 October 1962. The period since then has been marked by intermittent conflicts, including a lengthy civil war against the Lord’s Resistance Army in the Northern Region, which has caused hundreds of thousands of casualties.
The official languages are English and Swahili, although “any other language may be used as a medium of instruction in schools or other educational institutions or for legislative, administrative or judicial purposes as may be prescribed by law. Luganda, a central language, is widely spoken across the country, and several other languages are also spoken including Runyoro, Runyankole, Rukiga, and Luo.
The president of Uganda is Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who came to power in January 1986 after a protracted six-year guerrilla war.
The ancestors of the Ugandans were hunter-gatherers until 1,700–2,300 years ago. Bantu-speaking populations, who were probably from central Africa, migrated to the southern parts of the country.
According to oral tradition, the Empire of Kitara covered an important part of the great lakes area, from the northern lakes Albert and Kyoga to the southern lakes Victoria and Tanganyika. Bunyoro-Kitara is claimed as the antecedent of the Buganda, Toro, Ankole, and Busoga kingdoms.
Some Luo invaded the area of Bunyoro and assimilated with the Bantu there, establishing the Babiito dynasty of the current Omukama (ruler) of Bunyoro-Kitara.
Arab traders moved inland from the Indian Ocean coast of East Africa in the 1830s. They were followed in the 1860s by British explorers searching for the source of the Nile. British Anglican missionaries arrived in the kingdom of Buganda in 1877 (a situation which gave rise to the death of the Uganda Martyrs) and were followed by French Catholic missionaries in 1879.The British government chartered the Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEAC) to negotiate trade agreements in the region beginning in 1888. From 1886, there were a series of religious wars in Buganda, initially between Muslims and Christians and then, from 1890, between ba-Ingleza Protestants and ba-Fransa Catholics.Because of civil unrest and financial burdens, IBEAC claimed that it was unable to “maintain their occupation” in the region.British commercial interests were ardent to protect the trade route of the Nile, which prompted the British government to annex Buganda and adjoining territories to create the Uganda Protectorate in 1894.
People & Culture
The different peoples of Uganda…
Belonging to many ethnic groups, Ugandans speak over 30 different African languages. English and Swahili are the country’s official languages.
Swahili is a useful communication link with the country’s Eastern neighbors of Kenya and Tanzania, where it’s also spoken.
The largest group in Uganda (around a fifth of the population) are the Baganda, who live in the Kampala region and speak Luganda.
Other Bantu-speaking groups include the Ankole, Toro, Banyoro and Basoga. To the east and north are groups of Nilotic/Cushitic origin, including the Teso, Karimojong, Acholi and Lango.
The common pre-fixes of ‘Mu-’, ‘Ba-’ and ‘Bu-’ are used for ‘a member of’, ‘a people’ and ‘the land they occupy’. So for example, a Muganda is a member of the Baganda, who live in Buganda. The name of the country comes from the fact that in Swahili, the prefix ‘U-’ is used instead of ‘Bu-‘.
…and their dances
As in many African countries, dance is an important part of ceremonies and special occasions. Uganda’s different peoples have their own special dances.
For example, in the eastern region, the Basoga practice a dance known as Tamenhaibunga which expresses the importance of love and friendship. Its name literally means ‘good friends drink together and don’t fight in case they break the gourd holding the drink’.
Probably the most widely recognised Ugandan dance is the Kiganda, where the performers move their lower body to a drum-beat. It’s a tricky dance, requiring great skill to keep the upper torso controlled and rotate to the music from the waist down. The dance has many variations for different occasions, but the version often seen is the one performed in honour of the Baganda king.
Mixing old and new beliefs
Religion plays an important part of daily life in Uganda. Over four-fifths of Ugandans are Christian, either Protestant or Catholic. Around 10% are Muslims, a legacy of the Arab traders who came here in the 19th century.
Ugandans are strong in their faith and see no conflict in holding to some traditional beliefs. In times of trouble, as well as praying to the Christian or Muslim God, people may also consult a local oracle or healer. Many shrines to the spirits are still in active use.
Many people try to understand Africa’s children by looking at poverty or education reports. But the variety of backgrounds shown by the Our Africa reporters reminds us that differences across the continent can be greater than similarities.
A child growing up in a developed suburb in Cape Town may have far more in common with a child in Torquay, than with one on the streets of Dakar.
It is also important to remind ourselves that a child’s contentment is heavily influenced by their level of expectation. Children can adapt to widely different circumstances.
Youngsters can be happy without being wealthy. Children who have a number of household chores such as fetching water, looking after siblings, taking animals to graze, gathering firewood, or helping to raise crops in the family’s fields may enjoy a happy childhood.
Nonetheless, many children in Africa do not lead happy lives. In some cultures, there is a very strong age hierarchy which acts to the detriment of children.
Where adults cannot farm or find work, or suffer from debilitating illnesses, children often become the main income-earners. Some hawk goods or beg on the streets, some find items to sell from rubbish dumps or work in the fields. They may be sent to relatives or non-related adults, to work as domestic or farm servants. Adults may treat them kindly or abuse them, in which case children often have little prospect of help.
A key factor in determining whether children have a good quality of life (and also a decent life expectancy, education and prospects) is the survival of their family unit. Focusing on supporting families to stay together is a proven model to improve the lives of children. Strengthening families starts by studying why families break up in each location and then tackling the problems.
Improving children’s health
The spread of HIV/AIDS has resulted in an increasing number of child-headed households where parents have died. Children often have to drop out of school to look after themselves and younger siblings.
Most African countries are taking steps to improve children’s basic health. Many initiatives are low-cost and extremely effective, for example:
- the widespread distribution of insecticide-soaked mosquito nets to protect children and pregnant women against malaria,
- immunisation programmes against preventable diseases such as measles and polio,
- the provision of food supplements to young children, for example, those which contain vitamin A (which helps prevent blindness, boosts children’s immune systems and helps build strong bones and teeth),
- the training of women health workers to make childbirth safer and support women during the first few months of their baby’s life,
- the widening of access to rehydration mixtures (with salt and sugar) for treating children with diarrhoea, greatly improving survival rates.
Some charities and non-governmental organisations working in Africa focus their efforts on improving the availability of clean water in villages and shanty towns. Safe drinking water and proper waste disposal cuts down the prevalence and spread of many diseases, such as cholera.
The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
A child’s rights
The charter theoretically takes precedence over any custom, tradition or practice, cultural or religious, which doesn’t fit with the rights, duties and obligations set out. This means practices which do not conform to the charter – such as child marriage, conscription into armed forces and using children to beg – are legally prohibited.
In 1999, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child was adopted by the African Union (originally known as the Organisation for African Unity).
Called the Children’s Charter, this document sets out the rights of children in all aspects of life – civil, political, economic, social and cultural.
Countries signed up to the charter report to the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. This body oversees development progress. It also has the power to investigate issues relating to the charter in a member state.
In theory, children themselves can petition the committee about infringements of their rights, though most are unaware of this. But informing children of their rights is only helpful if realistic support to improve their situation is available.
The effects of poverty
A large percentage of Africa’s population live in poverty, therefore many African children suffer from:
- family break up from poverty,
- lack of clean water,
- little access to healthcare,
- lack of sanitation and means of waste disposal,
- poor nutrition and susceptibility to illness and disease.
It is therefore little wonder that globally, 38 of the 40 countries with the highest child mortality rates are located in Africa.
In sub-Saharan Africa, one in every six children (160 per 1,000 live births) fails to reach his or her fifth birthday. The most dangerous time in a child’s life is the first 28 days after birth, when over a quarter of all child deaths occur.
With a range of climates and growing conditions, the ingredients for African cuisine are diverse. However, certain foods are common to many regions.
Food in the North
The food of North Africa has been heavily influenced over the centuries by the ingredients brought by traders, invaders and migrants.
The Arabs introduced spices such as saffron, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Sweet pastries and other baked foods were brought by the Ottoman Turks.
Wheat and its by-product, semolina, were introduced early on. The nomadic Berbers adapted semolina into couscous, one of the main staples of the region.
Olives are an important local harvest in North Africa and olive oil is frequently used in cooking.
Food in the South and East
Cattle are regarded as a symbol of wealth across much of Africa. So while farmers may use them for dairy products, often the animals are not used for their meat. Many people in the South and East rely mainly on grains, beans and vegetables, with fish providing protein in coastal, lake or river regions.
The domestic pig was originally introduced by the Portuguese from their Asian colonies.
Ground maize or corn (called ‘sweet corn’ in the UK) is used as the basis for many meals. Maize flour is cooked with water to form a stiff porridge (called ugali or nsima in certain countries). Sometimes it’s made into a dough. This starchy staple is served with sauces or stews.
South Africa’s food blends the traditions of many cultures and influences. Maize and soured milk were historically key components of the diet. As Europeans arrived, South African cuisine began to include meat dishes such as sausages and pies. Malays and Indians brought curries and spices.
Arabic influences can be seen in East African cuisine. For example, steamed rice is served with spices such as saffron, cloves and cinnamon. Indian workers and immigrants also brought their foods with them, such as spiced vegetable curries, lentil soups, chapattis and pickles.
Oranges, lemons and limes are frequently used in cooking, while other fruits such as mangoes, papayas and pineapples are eaten for dessert.
Food in the West
The cuisine of West Africa tends to rely on heavy starchy foods (known as carbohydrates), which provide energy. Typically, West Africans will give their meals taste with hot spices and chilli peppers, or sauces such as peanut.
An example of a typical starchy food is Fufu. This is made from root vegetables such as yams, cocoyams, or cassava. It is normally accompanied by sauces or stews.
The staple grain varies from region to region, but maize/corn is common in many areas. Rice dishes are also widely eaten in the region, especially across the dry Sahel belt.
Along coastlines, rivers and lakes, fish are an important source of protein.
And to drink?
Palm wine and locally brewed beers (made from a variety of native plants or crops) are popular beverages. However, water also has a very strong ritual significance in many African nations (particularly in dry areas) and is often the first thing an African host will offer his/her guest.
Cattle, goats and sheep are raised (varying by region), though meat is often a luxury for poor families.
Food in Central Africa
Many parts of Central Africa have remained true to their traditional foods, perhaps because until the 19th century, there weren’t many external influences on the cuisine.
Plantains (a variety of banana picked unripe and cooked as a starch) and cassavas continue to form the basis of many meals. Starchy staples are often served with meat, bean or vegetable stews.
Meat from livestock can be costly and where they can, families use ‘bush meat’ from wild animals such as monkey, antelope and wild.
Games & Sport
Africa is home to two of the oldest-known board games, one of which is still played today all across the continent.
The ancient game of Senet was popular in Egypt from around 3,500BC. Senet boards have been discovered in burial chambers and depicted on the walls of Egyptian tombs. Unfortunately, no one wrote down how it was played.
Count and capture
Mancala/Mankala is played by transfering stones, counters or buttons around a number of ‘bins’ or dips in the ground. There are more than 200 different versions of this ‘count and capture’ game, which is known by many different names in Africa, including wari/owari, kombe and aweet.
Another board game which dates back to ancient times is Mancala/Mankala, which remains popular in Africa today. Different versions are found in nearly every African country. Played with carved boards of wood/ivory or simply on the ground, the game is enjoyed by leaders and commoners, adults and children alike.
Some board games are popular in particular countries or regions, for example:
- Morabaraba or Umlabalaba (Southern Africa),
- Zamma (North Africa),
- Butterfly (Mozambique).
Singing and clapping
Across Africa, children take part in singing and clapping games. Circle games of all sorts are popular and sometimes similar to those played in other parts of the world. See the video of children playing in Namibia – People & Culture.
African children play a large variety of games, some of which are played the world over, such as ‘hide and seek’ and ‘leap frog’.
Unlike in the West, children’s toys in Africa are often home-made rather than shop-bought. For example, boys may play with hoops from the rims of tyres. Girls might skip with ropes or play with home-made wooden dolls.
And of course, African children love ball games such as football, basketball and volleyball.
Football is the most popular sport throughout Africa. Watch a football match and chances are you’ll see an African football star, such as Yaya Touré and Didier Drogba from Ivory Coast, or Michael Essien from Ghana. Everywhere in Africa youngsters can be found kicking a football, many dreaming of becoming one of the great players.
Africa has its own Olympic Games. The All Africa Games (originally known as the Friendship Games and then the Pan-African Games) were first held in Madagascar in 1960, organised by French-speaking countries. Over the following years, other African nations joined. Official recognition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) came in 1965, when the Games were held in Brazzaville, Congo. Like the Olympics, the All Africa Games is now staged every four years, each time hosted by a different country.
The first African Olympians
The first Africans to participate in the International Olympics were South African marathon runners Len Tau and Jan Mashiani, who competed in St Louis in 1904 as members of the British Team.
African countries are also represented in the International Olympics. African athletes, such as Haile Gebrselassie from Ethiopia, have been particularly successful in long-distance running events and become household names.
Cricket is another sport played in Africa, particularly in South Africa and Zimbabwe. In wealthier countries such as South Africa, golf is rising in popularity. Among younger generations, capoeira – a martial art with elements of dance, acrobatics and music – is hugely popular in countries such as Mozambique and Angola.
DID YOU KNOW
Flanked today by the city of Jinja, the waterfall described by Speke now lies submerged beneath the Owen Falls Dam, Uganda’s main source of hydro-electric power. Still, a visit to the source of the Nile remains a moving and wondrous experience, no less so to those who have seen the same river as it flows past the ancient Egyptian temples of Luxor some 6,000 km downstream.
The source of the Nile, alluded to hazily in the ancient writings of Ptolemy, stood as one of the great geographical mysteries of the Victorian Age.
Closer to home, the Nile downriver from Jinja offers some superb white water rafting and game fishing. Its crowning glory, however, is Murchison Falls, where the world’s longest river funnels through a narrow fissure in the Rift Escarpment to erupt out of the other side in a crashing 43 metres plume of white water. The river below the falls is no less spectacular in its own way, with its profuse birdlife, thousands of hippos, and outsized, gape-mouthed crocodiles.
The average tourist planning to visit Uganda will have heard about the rich wildlife offerings in the national game parks, especially in western Uganda.
History will place Jinja somewhere in their books, owing to the renowned source of the River Nile. Needless to say, Jinja stands out as the prime tourist destination in eastern Uganda. It boasts of exciting adventures such as Quad biking, bungee jumping and water rafting. Lately, attractions such as the Kagulu Hill challenge have been hyped to promote tourism in the region.
Tourism in eastern Uganda has embarked on a journey to overcome a past that was marred by insecurity.
“Compared to the western region, the east suffered setbacks due to the historical colonial reasons and political instability, particularly in Karamoja and Gulu. This limited its attraction to tourists,” says Herbert Byaruhanga, the President of Uganda Tourism Association. He singles out Kidepo Valley Nation Park as one of the areas that suffered this misfortune.
According to Steven Wasswa, the chief executive officer of Kakungulu Safaris, a tour and travel firm based in eastern Uganda, today, the region is a tourist hub given the attractions in other districts such as Mbale, Tororo, Karamoja and Kapchorwa, among others, as well as the deliberate efforts to promote them. Many of the promotion drives spearheaded by tourism associations and enthusiast are being pegged to activities and causes so as to encourage local tourism.
Most recent is the Tororo Rock hike by Eastern Entrepreneurship and Tourism Network (EETN), which is a cluster of companies run by young entrepreneurs keen on driving entrepreneurship towards developing tourism in the eastern part of Uganda.
The second of its nature, the hike, set for tomorrow, is aimed at popularising Tororo Rock, the district’s prime tourism spot as a must-visit location. The chief hiker, Tourism minister Maria Mutagamba, will be joined by corporates. The cause attached to this promotion drive is transforming the look of Salvation Army School orphanage located in Tororo, by painting it using the proceeds.
Stephen Asiimwe, the chief executive officer Uganda Tourism Board, argues that when it comes to Tourism, we should not scale it in terms of the western part or the eastern part, as all regions make up Uganda. However, enthusiasts such as Mackay Mbeingwa, a member of EETN, believe some areas could do with the boost, especially media-related. “Tourism sites in eastern Uganda need a lot of media publicity. If the media can always write about these sites, I am sure we shall get more tourists coming into the country and in particular the eastern part of Uganda,” he said.
With the recent race to make all parts of Uganda tourism hot spots, decentralising of the promotion has been taken on by the different bodies.
Location. Tororo Rock lies 5km south east of Tororo Town, 48km from Mbale and 210km East of Kampala. The rock summit commands a view of Tororo Town and surrounding areas. It has narrow tracks, grass, bamboo and different varieties of bushes.
Activity. There will be a group of 27 beauty queens from the Miss Tourism pageants; the aim of the hiking is to raise funds for painting Salvation Army School orphanage in Tororo.
Payment. The hike is open to all Ugandans. Participants from Kampala will pay Shs60,000, which includes transport to and from the venue and meals. For participants not paying for transport and meals, the hike will cost Shs25,000.
Other tourist attractions in eastern uganda
Busitema forest is home to baboons, monkeys, birds and various tree species. The forest is shared by Bugiri, Tororo and Busia but the biggest part is in Tororo. According to John Baraza, a local tour guide in Ndaiga village in Tororo, about seven visitors, mostly from Kenya and neighboring countries, look for tour guides to take them to the forest. The visitors who go to his office always sign a visitor’s book and he has so far registered more than 300 people forest since the beginning of this year.
The mountain is found in Mbale on the border of Uganda and Kenya. Its peak is called Wagagai. It is 4,321 metres high and it is the 17th highest in Africa and the 4th highest in Uganda. It has got caves, including Ngwarisha, Makingeny, Chepnyalil, and Kitum. Locally grown Bugisu Arabica coffee can is also found on the slopes of the mountain. Coffee tours are organised through guides with knowledge of coffee farming, processing and roasting.
Imbalu cultural ceremonies
The Imbalu culture is also another activity that attracts tourism in the Bugisu region. Imbalu is a cultural practice in Bugisu, which involves circumcision of boys as a way of turning them into men. Today, the Bagisu treat imbalu as a special ceremony which distinguishes them from people from other tribes. The tradition happens mid every even year and it attracts many people from different places.
Sipi Falls is a series of three waterfalls in Kapchorwa District, northeast of Sironko and Mbale lying on the edge of Mt Elgon National Park.
When one hikes around the falls, they get a nice view of the Karamoja plains, Lake Kyoga, and the slopes of Mt Elgon. There are a number of activities, lodges and backpackers/campsites in the area, offering a range of accommodation to the tourist who always come to visit the falls.
It is impossible to write the history of the imposition of colonialism in east and north-eastern part of Uganda (the area that was referred to as Bukedi) without mentioning Semei Kakungulu. He was the mercenary whom the British used to impose colonialism in that area. While that may not be contestable, there is disagreement as to the role Kakungulu played in that area.
Some Baganda chauvinists think Kakungulu was a great philanthropist who took religion and education to that area. They sometimes go as far as saying he took civilisation to the area.
There are also those of us from the area who think Kakungulu was a ruthless mercenary of the British. In this article, I would like to present that view. The source of the material I use for this article is an article, Kakungulu in Bukedi by Sir John Milner Gray. The article was published in the Uganda Journal, Vol 27, No 1, 1963, pp31-63 .
Sir John Milner Gray joined the colonial service in Uganda in 1920. He tells us that during the time he was in Uganda, he was assigned to inquire into Kakugulu’s grievances in 1924.
Sir John had numerous interviews with Kakungulu during which he (Kakungulu) indulged in numerous reminiscences which, although not relevant to Sir John’s assignment, were nonetheless of general interest and so he recorded them and later used the records to write his article.
Semei Lwakirenzi, who was later awarded the honorary title Kakungulu, was the son of a Muganda called Semuwamba who was originally from Kazinga village near Seguku in Busiro County.
At an early age, Semuwamba left Busiro for the Kingdom of Kooki. There, he joined the service of the Omukama of Kooki, rising to the high post of Katikkiro. He had seven children, one of whom was Semei Lwakirenzi. Later Semuwamba fell into disfavour and was executed, together with his wife.
Kakungulu fled to Buddu in Buganda where he developed friendship with, and became a blood brother of Yusufu Bijakuno, the son of the Pokino (county chief of Buddu). It was around this time that Kakungulu embarked on the career of elephant hunting. Then early in Kabaka Mwanga’s reign, he became the Mutongole chief of Kirumba in Buddu.
In 1893, when Colonel Henry Colville made a punitive attack on Bunyoro, Kakungulu commanded 15,000 Baganda soldiers who went with Colville. This mission greatly enhanced Kakungulu’s reputation.
Colonel Colville was to write about Kakungulu. “…for his ready acquiescence to all my orders, his well-directed influence with all his chiefs and men, his simultaneous concentration at Karuma of his 15,000 troops, and for his brilliant surprise and defeat of Kabalega’s army in Budongo forest.”
In April and May of 1895, Kakungulu was again sent on a mission to capture Kabalega who had taken refuge in Lango. The mission failed because the troops were afraid of going deep into unknown territory. However, much as they had not gone that far, they looted over 500 head of cattle. The journey into and out of Lango took a mere three days.
This booty was to set Kakungulu on a new course. It had been agreed that half of any cattle captured would be given to the fighters and the rest to the Buganda administration. Apolo Kaggwa asked that he be given whatever was due to the Buganda administration, Kakungulu refused and appealed to the British commander. The British commander ordered Kakungulu to comply with the Katikkiro’s orders.
Kakungulu refused and resigned the chieftainship he was holding. It is said that Kakungulu said he was going to found for himself another kingdom. His resignation did not bring his military career to an end but just opened new opportunities. Following the defeat of Kabalega, the colonial authorities gave all Bunyoro territory south of River Kafu to Buganda. Kakungulu was given the task of containing any resistance.
In mid-1896, Kakungulu went to war against the Langi who had been fighting the Itesot. It was a disaster for Kakungulu. Despite expending all his ammunition, he had to beat an ignominious retreat, having lost 50 men and 27 guns.
The capture of kings
At this time, Sir John tells us, Kakungulu was not subsidised by the Uganda government; he and his men paid themselves handsomely in form of cattle and other booty that they captured.
Then in March 1899, Kakungulu joined Major Evatt in the operations that captured Kabalega and Mwanga in Lango. Kakungulu himself was personally responsible for their capture as they were trying to escape from the village of Oyam in Dokolo Country. Kabalega had been so wounded that his arm had to be amputated.
Kabalega’s three sons were with him. One of the sons called Jaasi died of bullet wounds a few weeks later. Another one, Andereya Duhaga, who was to become Omukama, reported that when Kakungulu arrived on the scene, Kabalega asked him to kill him. Kakungulu refused and handed the two kings to Major Evatt. Major Evatt then assigned Kakungulu to escort the duo to Kampala.
In his report about the capture of the two kings, Major Evatt observed that he believed Kakungulu desired to add the territory where the operation took place to the territory under his control. Sir John tells us that from information given to him by Kakungulu himself, Major Evatt’s surmise was accurate.
Kakungulu also told Sir John that in June 1899, after he had delivered his prisoners to Kampala, he returned to establish himself in Lango. Lango was not easy for Kakungulu; most of his fortified outposts were dangerous.
Kakungulu did admit to Sir John that in 1899, he suffered a number of defeats in Lango. In one of these battles, Asanasiyo Gwentamu, whom Kakungulu had appointed Katikkiro was killed in Dokolo. The pressure from the Langi eventually made him abandon several of his outposts that he had established in the area.
In January 1900, the Rev. T.R. Buckley arrived at Kakungulu’s post in Kiweri. The Rev. Buckley reports that at that time, Kakungulu had about 250 armed followers. Kakungulu offered the Rev. Buckley escorts to where he was going, a 10-hour walk. On the way, one of the escorts attempted to steal a hoe, provoking a stand-off in which the Langi drew their spears and the escorts their guns.
Fortunately the Rev. Buckley managed to diffuse the situation. The Rev. Buckley was to observe that much as the Baganda had guns, the Langi were not afraid of them. Sometime in the later part of 1900, a scare developed around Mt. Elgon. A number of Sudanese mutineers, together with some Baganda and Basoga rebels were reported to be operating east of Mpologoma River. Tribes in the region were also raiding Busoga and were hostile to colonisation.
These incidents triggered fears that things might escalate and disrupt communication with the coast. To deal with this situation, Kakungulu was instructed to proceed to the foothills of Mt. Elgon.
Kakungulu with considerable armed following, moved along the northern shores of Lake Kioga and arrived at Naboa, some 10 miles west of Mbale. This was to be his introduction to the area.
In the October 2013 issue of Africa Geographic magazine we meet the Uganda Bird Guide Club and chat to them about their lives spent birding in Uganda. This beautiful country must be on any birders bucket list and this is our list of the top 10 birds to see in Uganda.
The Shoebill is endemic to Africa and birders from around the globe flock to Uganda to catch a rare glimpse of this clumsy giant. For a long time this bird was not protected and its eggs where frequently stolen from nests until the Uganda Bird Guide Club’s efforts succeeded in making it illegal to trap these birds and steal their eggs.
2. Green-breasted Pitta
The Green-breasted Pitta is a difficult bird to find despite its relatively common status in the central African countries. It lives, well camouflaged, in the lowland tropical forests and photographing one of these little-guys is a bird lovers dream.
3. African Green Broad bill
The vivid colours of this eye catching bird can only be seen in two places in the world – The Itombwe Mountains in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda’s Bwindi Forest. The species is declining due to loss of its habitat from forest clearing and degradation.
4. Great Blue Turaco
The Great Blue Turaco as well as the White-crested Turaco are some of the largest, most exquisite birds found in Uganda. These birds are actively hunted as their meat and feathers are highly sought after commodities.
5. Shelley’s Crimsonwing
Undoubtedly one of the world’s rarest birds, the Shelley’s Crimsonwing can be found on most bird-bucket lists. They live in a thin strip of mountains and volcanoes – known as the Albertine Rift – that borders Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photos of these beauties in the wild are almost non-existent, in fact this is the only known photo of this elusive beauty.
6. Standard-winged Nightjar
This picturesque bird is characterised by the central flight feathers that appear during breeding season on the males. Raised vertically during display, it is a dream come true to see these birds during this short time span when their feathers can stretch up to 38cm in length.
7. Short-tailed Warbler
The Short-tailed Warbler can be found primarily in Uganda’s forest undergrowth while the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda are also home to this camouflaged species.
8. Doherty’s Bushshrike
Found in the subtropical montane forests and moist shrub-lands of central Africa these brightly-coloured birds are one of the more common birds seen in Uganda and thankfully, their population levels seem to be stable for the most part.
9. Bar-tailed Trogon
This beautiful medium-sized bird lives in high altitude forests and has a large range throughout central and southern Africa although it is rarely seen.
10. Black-breasted Barbet
The giant Black-breasted Barbet has been seen by very few individuals and is highly sought after by bird watchers. Unfortunately it tends to live in areas of conflict and so it is rarely seen by tourists to this region with Uganda being one of the safest regions to possibly catch a glimpse of this magnificent bird.
Whether tourism operators and armchair lion-lovers like it or not, there are now to
Formerly known as Bukedi, Tororo District is one of the districts that already existed at Independence in 1962. It then consisted of present day Pallisa and Busia District. In 1980 Bukedi became Tororo District.
Tororo borders the districts of Pallisa in the north, Mbale in the north-east, Iganga in the west, Bugiri in the south and the republic of Kenya in the eats.
The district has over 555,574 people, 282,354 are female and 273,220 are Male.
Japadhola, Lusamia-Lugwe, Ateso, Lugwere and Lunyoli.
Agriculture with main emphasis on food crops such as millet, cassava, cow Pease, potatoes, beans, Simsim and sunflower. Cash crops cotton. Vegetables such as Onions.
The district has a total of 257 primary schools with 233 government, 16 private and 8 community schools. For secondary schools, the district has over 53 schools, 24 are government, 23 private and 6 community.
There 6 technical institutions, 4 teacher training colleges, 1 commercial college, 1 National Teachers Training college.
The district has 11 Government dispensaries (II), 14 health centres (III) at county, 3 health centres (IV) at sub-district with 3 hospitals. More so, it has 6 private/NGO dispensaries, 31 clinic, 1 health centre (III) and 1 hospital. There is Tororo Hospital with 226 beds and Busolwe Hospital with 100 beds, Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau- St Anthony’s Hospital, Tororo with 110 beds.
There is Tororo Rock which rises to about 1800 m above sea level and can be seen for miles before reaching it. Its view from the top is fantastic.