Uganda Religion

Religion has an important place in social life and a large proportion of the population go to church, temple or mosque. Most Ugandans are Christians, but Islam and traditional African religions are also practiced. There are also small groups of Hindus, Jews and Baha’is and others.

Most Christians are Catholics. Protestants dominate the Anglican Church of Uganda, but various revival movements, such as Pentecostal churches, have grown in recent decades. There is also a smaller group of Orthodox Christians.

Conservative American Free Churches have in recent years helped to sharpen the negative view of homosexuality in Uganda.

The Muslims, most of whom belong to Islam’s main Sunni, live mainly in the north. Of the indigenous religions, the one practiced by the baggage people has the most followers. However, many Ugandans mix Christianity or Islam with traditional religious beliefs and customs.

Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Constitution. However, all religious groups must register. The constitution has some restrictions on what one calls religious “cults”. The authorities have also closed a number of Quran schools citing suspicions that they have been used as a cover for recruiting terrorist groups.

Religious education is compulsory in state schools.

Uganda Population Pyramid 2020


45 different ethnic groups live in Uganda. Almost half of Uganda’s population belongs to the Bantu tribes living in the south and west. They include the Ganda, Nkole or Banyankore and Soga. The Nilots and Hamito Nilots live in the north and northeast of the country. There are also smaller groups of Asians, Europeans and Arabs.

The official languages ​​are Swahili and English, in everyday life mainly Bantu languages ​​are used.

The illiteracy rate is very high at 52%. There is no compulsory education. Most of the schools are mission schools. Around two thirds of the population are Christians.

Uganda is a state whose population is particularly severely affected by the immunodeficiency AIDSis affected. 500,000 people have died of the disease since 1986. The number of people infected with HIV is estimated at almost 2 million. The disease is spreading rapidly, especially in rural areas. Whole areas are downright depopulated.

The influx of refugees from neighboring countries affected by unrest and civil war has posed major problems for Uganda. At the end of 1997 there were around 185,000 refugees in the country. The majority had fled Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. Civil wars in their own country have left around 300,000 internally displaced people who have left their residential areas. Around 100,000 Ugandans are refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

  • Countryaah: Population statistics for 2020 and next 30 years in Uganda, covering demographics, population graphs, and official data for growth rates, population density, and death rates.



Uganda opens border for Congolese refugees

July 1st

Uganda opens part of its border to receive thousands of people who have fled unrest in Ituri province of Congo-Kinshasa. At least 3,000 of them left their homes in May, but since then have not been able to cross over to Uganda, which, due to the corona pandemic, closed its borders in March. All refugees must now be quarantined.


Concern about increased spread of infection in Uganda

June 22

President Yoweri Museveni warns in a televised speech that Uganda is now entering a more difficult phase of the ongoing corona pandemic, as people have fallen ill and it has not been possible to substantiate how it has been infected. Up to now, most who have been ill have been people who have returned to Uganda from abroad or long-haul drivers transporting goods to and from neighboring countries. The authorities still decide to lift restrictions on both private and public transport in 33 districts, while remaining in districts with many refugees or areas with high border traffic. So far, Uganda has had 774 confirmed cases of covid-19, but no deaths from the disease have been reported.

The Election Commission wants to stop the elections in 2021

June 16

The Ugandan Election Commission presents a plan on how to run presidential and parliamentary elections in early 2021, sometime between January 10 and February 8. According to it, no meetings as a result of covid-19 may be held during the election campaign, which is criticized by opposition politician Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (better known by his artist name Bobi Wine). He says that because of government intervention, the opposition is difficult to reach via social media and radio broadcasts.


New easing of restrictions in Uganda

May 26

Uganda continues to ease the restrictions imposed by the ongoing corona pandemic. This applies to 95 of the country’s 135 districts, in the border areas they will continue to apply until further notice. Private motoring is allowed again and shops and restaurants can be opened. Public transport is expected to start on June 4. Then you are expected to know when the schools can be opened again. These reliefs had been announced earlier, but were postponed to allow the authorities to start distributing oral protection.

Museveni suggests that the presidential election may be postponed

May 12

President Yoweri Museveni suggests that the presidential election to be held in early 2021 may be postponed, unless the corona pandemic has come under scrutiny by July. Twenty-four people have so far expressed an interest in participating in the presidential election. The most famous is Robert Kyagulanyi, music star Bobi Wine. He has been harassed and arrested several times. Former General Henry Tumukunde, who has also stated his intention to participate, has been arrested and charged with treason, but is now free from bail. Uganda has 122 confirmed cases of covid-19, but no deaths from the disease have been reported.

Uganda receives crisis support from the IMF

May 6

Uganda receives $ 491.5 million from the IMF to help alleviate the financial problems caused by the corona crisis. Large parts of the economy have been closed down to prevent the spread of infection, while the government is investing large sums on health care.

Uganda eases the restrictions

May 5th

Uganda is now beginning to ease the restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of covid-19 in the country. Some companies are now allowed to resume their operations, including food markets, hardware stores and law offices. Restaurants are also allowed to reopen, but only for take-away food. At the same time, most of the emergency measures are extended for another two weeks, among other things, the schools remain closed and all traffic, both public and private, is still prohibited.


Museveni criticizes extra appropriations for corona information

April 29

Ugandan MPs agree to grant an additional grant of 2.6 million to disseminate information on coviod-19. It will be $ 2,600 per member. However, the decision is criticized by President Yoweri Museveni, who believes that it is a moral mistake for Members to give the money to themselves instead of to local committees created for that purpose. The President has previously banned individuals from handing out food and other supplies themselves, all relief efforts should be communicated through the committees. A member of the opposition has been arrested for violating these rules.

Police brutality reports against journalists

April 24

According to the Press Freedom Organization Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), several Ugandan journalists have been abused by police as they try to report on restrictions imposed by the government to prevent the spread of covid-19. Among those affected are Julius Ocungi, who in March monitored police intervention against bars in Kitgum in the north. Similar information comes from the Ugandan press freedom organization HRNJ-Uganda. This has happened despite President Yoweri Museveni saying that journalists are doing the necessary work.

The Corona crisis hits Uganda’s economy

April 21

The Ugandan Central Bank Bank of Uganda (BoU) states that the ongoing pandemic will hit hard on the Ugandan economy, it is about missing tourism, fewer foreign investments and that Ugandans abroad cannot send home as much money as before. BoU now lowers the interest rate to mitigate the effects of this and offers extra money to companies that have had difficulties. The corona crisis hits the service sector extra hard. Other economic analysts predict that Uganda’s GDP will continue to grow but at a slower pace than before.


Pastor is prosecuted for denying that covid-19 exists in Africa

March 30

A Ugandan pastor, Augustine Yiga of Revival Christian Church, is charged with denying to his congregation that the new corona virus is found in Africa. He is thus considered to have hampered the efforts against covid-19 in Uganda and risks being sentenced to seven years in prison. Yiga himself denies crime. In addition to leading the church, he runs a television station and has been known for harboring controversial views.

Uganda is being quarantined

March 30

President Yoweri Museveni announces that the entire country will be quarantined for 14 days to prevent the spread of the new corona virus. All private vehicle traffic is also banned, a nightly curfew is introduced from seven o’clock in the evening and all malls and shops selling other than food are ordered to close. However, people are allowed to move outside on foot. No groups of more than five people are allowed. Factories are allowed to continue with their operations, but only if the employees stay in the factory. The week before, Uganda banned all public transport, closed the borders and urged all residents to stay at home, but without any explicit ban.

Brutal police interventions to prevent the spread of infection

March 27th

Two people are taken to hospital for care since being shot by police while traveling on a motorcycle in Mukono, near the capital Kampala. They thus violated the restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of infection. According to the police spokesman, the men had said they did not know the rules. The day before, police intervened with batons against sellers and customers in markets and bars to prevent them from gathering in such large groups.

First case of covid-19 in Uganda

21 March

Uganda reports its first case of the covid-19 viral disease. According to authorities, it is a man who has entered the country by air from Dubai. In the past, Ugandan authorities have introduced rules that allow anyone who comes from infected countries to self-quarantine for 14 days, or refrain from traveling to Uganda.

Ex-general is arrested accused of high treason

the 13th of March

The former general and former minister Henry Tumukunde are arrested on charges of treason. Exactly what he is accused of is not known. Earlier in the month, March 3, he had announced his intention to run for president in early 2021. He was later released on bail. In 2005, he was arrested and charged with the same crime after he openly criticized President Yoweri Museveni for wanting to change the constitution so that he could once again run for re-election. Tumukunde was in prison for six years, then spent two years in house arrest. He was taken to the mercy of Museveni in 2015 and during the 2016 election campaign was behind a series of harassment by the opposition during the election campaign that year. After the election he was appointed Minister of Security, a post he held for 2018.


One million young voters run the risk of not being able to vote

February 29th

The Election Commission announces that about one million voters who recently turned 18 will not be allowed to vote in the elections in 2021. It points out that it lacks the resources to register all new voters. A number of MEPs object to this, including President Rebecca Kadaga, and criticize the Election Commission’s decision. Some analysts speculate that this is a deliberate attempt by Muiseveni and the government to exclude young voters, where they have weak support.

Military is deployed to combat grasshopper swarms

February 19

Uganda is deploying military to fight grasshopper swarms. They are now spraying areas where they believe the grasshoppers have laid eggs, which if hatched can cause even greater problems than those seen today. According to FAO, a swarm of grasshoppers containing 40 million to 80 million insects in one day can harvest crops that could feed 35,000 people. Uganda is one of nine East African countries that have experienced major problems with grasshopper swarms this year. The grasshoppers have spread to the region from the Arabian Peninsula, where extensive rainfall in late 2019 created favorable conditions for the insects. Climate experts believe that the increasing number of cyclones in the Indian Ocean is contributing to the growth of grasshoppers.

Activist, convicted of harassment by Museveni is released by court

February 20th

Academic, feminist and activist Stella Nyanzi, one of President Yoweri Museveni’s top critics, who in 2019 was sentenced to 18 months in prison for harassing President Yoweri Museveni online, is now being released by Uganda’s High Court (High Court). The Court considers that the lower court that sentenced Nyanazi was not entitled to hear the case and that she did not have sufficient opportunity to defend herself. Nyanazi, released during some turmoil, advocates “radical dishonesty” that has traditionally been used as a way to hold power holders accountable. The convict 2019 came after she wrote a poem about President Museveni where he was in his mother’s vagina.

Uganda and Rwanda agree on prisoner exchange

February 2

Uganda and Rwanda agree on a prisoner exchange between the two countries. This happens after a meeting between presidents, Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame in Angola’s capital Luanda. It is one of the first advances reported since the countries in the summer (see August 2019) agreed to try to reduce tensions between them. However, nothing is said about how many prisoners it is about and when the exchange is to take place. Further, Museveni and Kagame, who were previously close allies, promise to work for stability and mutual trust. A new meeting between the two will be held on February 21.


Bobi Wine is arrested in connection with a political meeting

January 6

Opposition politician Bobi Wine, alongside two other MPs, is arrested by police as he tries to hold a public meeting with his supporters in his constituency outside Kampala. Police use tear gas to disperse participants. Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, intends to present his program to the presidential election next year. He will be released later that day.

Museveni on six day march through the jungle

January 5

President Yoweri Museveni begins a six-day march through the jungle. It is the same road that, in total, nearly 20 miles, used by his guerrilla movement when it took power in 1986, from Galamba north of Kampala to Birembo south of the capital. Critics believe the march is a propaganda number for the now 75-year-old president ahead of the 2021 presidential election.

Uganda Religion