Republic of Uganda
November 9-10

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Area 241,040 Much of the land is fertile and well-watered. The climate is temperate in the highlands. Long known as the 'Pearl of Africa'.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 21,778,450 +2.84% 90 per sq. km.
2010 29,830,737 +3.13% 124 per sq. km.
2025 44,435,310 +2.43% 184 per sq. km.

No one knows the numbers who perished during Amin's dictatorship and the subsequent civil wars, famines and tribal killings. Estimates vary from 800,000 to 2 million. The impact of AIDS has been devastating and slowed population growth.

Capital Kampala 1,200,000. Other major city: Entebbe 50,000. Urbanites 13%.


Over 56 ethnic groups; four major divisions.

Bantu 64.8%. 26 peoples, largest: Ganda 3m; Nkole 1.91m; Kiga 1.63m; Soga 1.61m; Hutu 1.18m; Masabu (Gisu) 880,000; Nyoro 580,000; Tooro 570,000; Tutsi 522,000; Konjo 424,000.

Nilotic 27.9%. 18 peoples, largest: Teso 1.17m; Lango 1.14m; Acholi 874,000; Alur 459,000; Karamojong 391,000.

Sudanic 5.4%. 8 peoples: Lugbara(2) 1.14m; Madi(2) 226,000.

Other 1.9%. Congolese, Rwandan, Kenyan, Sudanese, etc.

Literacy 62%. Official language English. All languages 46. Languages with Scriptures 15Bi 5NT 4por 9w.i.p.


Fertile with good soil and three annual growing seasons. The main export crop is coffee. The healthy economy of the 1960s was damaged by the expulsion of the Asian business community in 1972 then virtually destroyed by tyranny and wars. There has been a slow, but steady improvement since 1992, but continued warfare in the north and west and the ravages of AIDS and disease keep the majority of the population in deep poverty. HDI 0.404; 158th/174. Public debt 48% of GNP. Income/person $330 (1% of USA).


Independent from Britain in 1962. An attempt to delicately balance the political powers of the southern Bantu kingdoms and northern Nilotic peoples ended in 1967, when the northerner Milton Obote took complete control, favouring his own tribe, the Lango. Anarchy increased until Idi Amin seized power in 1971. The crazed dictatorship of Amin brutalized the country as the army pillaged and murdered with impunity. Amin's invasion of north-west Tanzania in 1978 provoked a vigorous response, and in 1979 Tanzanian and Ugandan exile troops deposed the military regime, restoring Obote to power. Continued inter-tribal warfare and government incompetence racked the country. Yoweri Museveni gained power in 1986 and has gradually brought a measure of stability unknown for 25 years. A 'no party' democracy constituted out of expediency. The Rwanda-Burundi wars and subsequent Central African War have involved Uganda in military adventures in Congo, Sudan and against the terrorism of the so-called Lord's Resistance Army in north-west Uganda.


Under Amin there were restrictions and intense persecution of Christians. For a time the Muslim minority was favoured. There is now freedom of religion.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Christian 88.65 19,306,596 +2.9%
Muslim 6.00 1,306,707 +2.8%
Traditional ethnic 4.15 903,806 +1.5%
non-Religious/other 0.60 130,671 +6.7%
Baha'i 0.40 87,114 -1.7%
Hindu 0.20 43,557 +2.8%

Most Muslims live in the northwest, but some are sprinkled all over the country. No group has a Muslim majority, but there are large minorities among the Kakwa, Madi and Woga. The majority of traditional religionists are of four or five north-eastern peoples – the Karamojong, Pokot, etc.

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 39 6.39 1,391 +7.1%
Independent 24 2.67 581 +2.9%
Anglican 1 39.40 8,580 +3.0%
Catholic 1 41.92 9,130 +3.0%
Orthodox 2 0.14 30 +1.4%
Marginal 2 0.04 9 +4.0%
Doubly affiliated   -1.91 -416 n.a.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Catholic C 432 5,217,143 9,130,000
Ch of Uganda A 13,000 3,747,000 8,580,000
Pentecostal AoG P 2,400 192,000 480,000
New Apostolic I 625 125,000 250,000
Seventh-day Adventist P 651 106,119 190,000
Elim Pentecostal Fell P 667 80,000 177,600
Ch of the Redeemed P 620 62,000 124,000
Ch of God (Cleveland) P 500 70,000 120,000
Deliverance P 220 33,000 66,000
Baptist Ch of U P 785 32,700 60,000
Other Indigenous [7] I 65 26,000 52,000
Ch of God (Anderson) P 420 25,000 45,000
Full Gospel P 39 11,818 39,000
Jehovah's Witnesses M 34 2,370 7,000
Reformed Presbyterian P 12 3,000 5,000
Latter-day Saints (Morm) M 2 1,000 2,000
Doubly affiliated     -182,000 -416,000
Other denoms [48]   1,744 213,900 393,500
Total Christians [70]   22,216 9,766,000 19,305,000

Trans-bloc Groupings pop. % ,000 Ann.Gr.


10,079 +3.6%


4,251 +4.1%


1,299 +6.9%

Missionaries from Uganda
P,I,A 773 in 19 agencies to 9 countries: Uganda 730, Zimbabwe 9.

Missionaries to Uganda
P,I,A 552 in 93 agencies from 25 countries: USA 200, UK 96, Korea 59, Germany 49.
C 1,400. O 10. M 50.

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Answers to Prayer

1 Uganda is the first country in the world with a massive AIDS problem to halve and even reduce the numbers of the afflicted from possibly 25% in 1992 to possibly 8-10% in 2000. Both government and churches faced up to the terrible calamity and have successfully worked to achieve this reduction.

2 The East African Revival brought new life and fervency to the large Church of Uganda and other smaller denominations for 30 years after its beginnings in 1936. Its characteristics were the centrality of Christ expressed in repentance, brokenness and walking in the light. Internal divisions and the awful years of persecution and suffering between 1967 and 1986 damped the fires of revival.

3 Renewed revival from 1986 onwards – widespread prayer movements, the amazing growth of the Pentecostal Assemblies and a revival movement in the Catholic Church in 1995 are manifestations of this. Renewal in the latter has led to gospel preaching, healings and the burning of fetishes.

Challenges for Prayer

1 The devastation of the Amin and Obote years with unrestrained terror, murder, tribal warfare and corruption destroyed much of the economic and social fabric of the nation and hastened the spread of AIDS. Recovery will take many years. Pray for peace – in the international Central African War and internal fighting by terror groups and robber gangs. Pray for the government that it may exercise its authority with even-handed honesty.

2 The Church though in part being revived and growing, needs prayer for:

a) Loving unity in Christ. Reconciliation is needed between tribes, between Protestant and Catholic, revived and non-revived, charismatic and non-charismatic.

b) Continued renewal. While most of the population claims to be Christian, widespread polygamy, a culture of promiscuity and paying mere lip-service to God, belies this.

c) Training of a new generation of leaders. Uganda Christian University (formerly Bishop Tucker Theological College) once strongly evangelical, has some liberal teachers on the faculty. There are several Pentecostal Bible schools and a Baptist Seminary. YWAM provides short-term training in their Discipleship Training School. Pray for the preparation of spiritual, godly leaders.

3 Major ministry challenges for the Ugandan Church:

a) The AIDS disaster. Though the infection rate is falling, the devastation for families and communities is great. Maybe 3 million are living with the disease. There are nearly 2 million orphans of AIDS and war. Much is being done by churches and agencies in AIDS support (CMS, YWAM), caring for orphans (Watoto Childcare Ministries caring for over 1,000 – PAoC/Pentecostal Assemblies) and preventive ministry in promoting Christian values – chastity outside marriage and faithfulness within it (SU – Aid for AIDS). Pray for these.

b) Young people's ministry. This is fundamental for rebuilding the country in the wake of the devastation of AIDS. Pray for the extensive ministry of SU in schools and for FOCUS(IFES) in Makarere University (where the Christian Union has a membership of 500 among the 9,000 students) and ministry on 64 other campuses. Life Ministry (CCCI) on the university campus, disciples faculty and students and challenges those with the maturity for involvement in world missions. Pray also for effective youth programmes in churches – not a priority in the past.

c) Children in crisis. The large number of orphans and the increased levels of poverty deprive many of care, finance for education and hope. Pray especially for:

i) Abducted children. The Lord's Resistance Army has abducted over 10,000 children as child-soldiers or sex-slaves; 70% of their 'army' is made up of drugged, brainwashed children. Pray for all seeking to rehabilitate those who are physically freed (WVI, others).

ii) Street children, who have multiplied in Kampala (AIM, others).

d) Refugees are housed in many camps – over 100,000 Sudanese in the north, many Congolese in the west and Rwandans in the south-west. There are also Ugandan refugees forced into camps in the LRA-affected areas in the north-west. This is an immense extra burden for the country. Pray for all who seek to minister to them. MAF's role in flying help to them is important.

4 Missions vision in the Ugandan Church. The large number of committed Christians and the experience of both revival and suffering give Ugandans a unique basis to share the gospel elsewhere. A growing number are serving abroad – most short-term (Life Ministries). A number of Ugandan cross-cultural ministries have been formed – UEMA (Uganda Evangelical Mission Agency), Agape United Mission and Here is Life – the latter for ministry among Muslims in the north-west.

5 Expatriate missionaries are appreciated. Most had to leave the country during Amin's dictatorship. Uganda's economic and social condition makes for many opportunities for expatriate Christian ministry. The dominance of Western agencies belongs to the past, so pray for a close fellowship between expatriates and Ugandan believers and the calling of those eager to serve the Church in reconstruction, development, Bible training and other ministries. Some of the larger missions: MAF (63 workers), CMS-MAM (62), IMB-SBC (28), Pentecostals (22), Diguna (19), YWAM (10 and 58 nationals), TEAR Fund (8), CCCI (2 and 66 nationals).

6 The remaining unreached are still in need of pioneer workers. Pray for:

a) Muslims who are a minority in many peoples. The Kakwa (100,000 – 13%), Madi in the north-west and Soga (15%) in the south-west have significant numbers of Muslims. There has been a rise in Islamist extremism. Arab states have poured large sums of money into education. The Muslim University in Kampala is one part of their strategy. Relatively little has been done to sensitively reach out specifically to them, and converts have been few and persecuted.

b) The northeast peoples – the Karamojong, Pokot (67,000) and Jie (75,000), who are only partially-reached nomadic peoples. In the last few years many Karamojong have turned to the Lord after years of vicious tribal warfare and severe cattle disease. The big challenge is to plant viable congregations that fit the style of a semi-nomadic people with a growing culture of violence and gun-bearing.

7 Christian support ministries:

a) The Bible Society has done much to promote new Bible translations and publish Bibles. Sales have gone down because of poverty. In the 1980s average annual sales were 200,000. This was reduced to 50,000 in 1998. All Christian literature ministries are similarly crippled. Pray for the provision of the Scriptures. There are 13 languages remaining without God's Word – 4 definitely needing a translation. SIL is now assisting in this ministry.

b) MAF's flying programme has been a blessing to many – with a float plane to the isolated island communities in Lake Victoria, and other planes serving Christian ministries to churches, refugees, in health and vaccination programmes, etc. The dangerous roads make this a vital ministry.

c) The JESUS film. Forty languages are targeted, 19 have been completed and a further 16 are in preparation.

d) Christian radio and TV programmes are aired on the national network and are widely appreciated. Pray for effective programming and lasting fruit.

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