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