Customs and traditions
Socializing in Uganda, both in professional and purely social contexts, is on the one hand more calm and relaxed and on the other more formal and hierarchical than in most European countries.
According to Abbreviationfinder, Ugandans spend considerable time getting to know people you meet, greet and listen to each other’s small talk. It can also mean that you let agreed times pass by so as not to interfere with the relationship with the person you are meeting. The tone is normally quiet and strong feelings are rarely shown in public.
- Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of Uganda, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
On the other hand, Ugandans are generally more formal in other ways. Greeting phrases are exchanged more carefully and more carefully than is typical in the West. You are often careful to keep track of hierarchies and give special attention to the chief executive in a company – or in other contexts the oldest visitor.
This is also reflected in how workplaces are organized – the culture is more reminiscent of American hierarchy and top management than Scandinavian co-determination. Many businesses have detailed sets of rules for how things should be handled.
Although customs are changing rapidly and Uganda’s business community today has many features in common with Westerners, there are still traces of an African consensus culture, where one would like to negotiate a solution that everyone can accept.
According to Countryaah, traditional customs still remain in the countryside. For example, in some groups it may mean that women are very submissive and avoid all eye contact, while it does not occur anywhere else. In cities, this type of traditional behavior has largely disappeared.
When it comes to clothing, keep in mind that Ugandans usually dress up in at least a shirt, tie and trousers or blouse and skirt, often a suit or suit, for all types of office work. Many Ugandans are working hard on elegant and well-worn shoes. A visitor in t-shirt and shorts looks different.
Typical Ugandan food is some kind of casserole with vegetables or beans and to the southern typical mashed cooking banana matoke. Otherwise, rice, cassava and “posho” are eaten throughout the country, a kind of corn porridge as a base food. Meat is relatively uncommon, especially in the north, and goat more common than beef or chicken.
As Uganda is well into Africa, the country is dependent on connections to the coast through neighboring Kenya and Tanzania. Both import and export goods are mainly shipped via the port city of Mombasa in Kenya. The goods are transported there by truck and to some extent by rail. An alternative is the ferry line across Lake Victoria from Jinja to Mwanza in Tanzania and from there by rail to the coast.
Since the late 1980s, large aid-financed investments have been made to improve communications. Nowadays, all major cities are linked to functioning roads.
There is an international airport in Entebbe, four miles from Kampala, with direct traffic to Europe and a number of African cities. In addition, there are ten smaller airports.
The national airline Uganda Airlines has been closed down, but after several unsuccessful attempts in 2007, a new national company, called Air Uganda, was formed by the Aga Khan Foundation. However, the traffic was shut down in 2014 after the aviation authorities revoked its license, citing security shortcomings.
In total, there is about 125 miles of railway, but only a few lanes still have traffic. Long-term plans are in place to build new rail lines from the coast of Kenya to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan with the help of Chinese money. The hope is that it will reduce transport costs and pave the way for foreign investment.
More than 40 Rwandans are charged with terrorism
Some 40 Rwandans arrested in the Uganda-Tanzania border area are being indicted for terrorism. The arrested have been resident in Uganda, where they claim to be active as Christian ministers. However, Rwanda claims that they belong to the Rwanda National Congress (RNC), an opposition party formed in exile by people previously allied with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, and as the Rwandan regime labeled as a terrorist organization. Rwanda should be pressured to bring charges against the suspects.
Constitutional change beds for re-election of Museveni
After a three-day and somewhat chaotic debate, Parliament adopts a controversial constitutional amendment that will abolish the current age limit of 75 years for presidents. The proposal is adopted by 315 votes to 62. The amendment reintroduces a rule that says the president can only be re-elected once. However, the new rule should not start to apply until after the next presidential election in 2021. The changes open the opportunity for President Museveni, now 73 years old, to be re-elected a number of times in the future. The proposal also extends the mandate of MPs from five to seven years. This means that the next parliamentary elections will be moved forward from the year 2021 to 2023. At the beginning of 2018, the constitutional change will come into force after it was signed by the president.
Media executives are charged with treason
Eight editors and managers within the Red Pepper group (who publish newspapers in English and several local languages) are arrested and charged with “high treason” after publishing texts that Museveni was planning a coup against his Rwandan colleague Paul Kagame. They run the risk of being sentenced to seven years in prison. In December, they are released on bail. The trial is scheduled for January 19, 2018.
Besigye is released to the castle, but is arrested again
Kizza Besigye and several other FDC politicians are released on bail after being charged with, among other things, for causing violence. However, they only have to be out of action for five hours before being arrested again, according to data from FDC representatives.
Opposition politicians are arrested
Opposition leader Kizza Besigye is arrested along with two other high-ranking FDC politicians. They are accused of causing the deaths of two protesters in connection with government-critical protests, but also for battering, eliciting violence and for organizing demonstrations, despite being banned.
Security forces scan offices and seize material from voluntary organizations that have been involved in organizing the protests.
The US embassy in Uganda criticizes the security forces’ harsh methods.
Later, information will come that all MPs have received a lump sum of the equivalent of $ 8,000 to investigate what residents in their constituencies think about the planned constitutional change. The opposition criticizes the decision and calls it an attempt to bribe. Later, at least eight MPs announce that they have repaid the money.
Two dead in connection with protests against constitutional change
Two people are killed when police fire tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters in Rukungiri who are protesting against plans to change the constitution by removing the age limit for the country’s president. The protests have been going on for several days at various locations in the country.
The week before, for the first time during a party meeting, Museveni has taken a position on the constitutional change.
Death threat to opposition politicians
The bill to abolish the age limit for the president is tabled in Parliament. Almost no opposition politicians participate in the session, either because they have been banned from being there or because they boycott it. It must now be prepared by a parliamentary committee before any decisions can be made. At the same time, reports that hand grenades have been thrown at the homes of two opposition politicians. No human being is injured. Both politicians Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (also known as singer Bobi Wine) and Allan Ssewanyana. Kyagulanyi says he receives death threats daily because of his opposition to the constitutional change. A government spokesman denies that the government has anything to do with this. He suggests in the government-run newspaper The Vision that death can be a way for the opposition to throw down the government.
Protests against constitutional change
Chaos is breaking out again in Parliament when it is debating the question of the age limit for the president to be abolished. After six hours of debate, the opposition prevents the Assembly from voting on the matter by singing the national anthem. The situation leads to several members taking fists to each other. Once again, President Rebecca Kadaga is forced to cancel the session. Outside the parliament building, riot police clash with students who defy the demonstration ban to mark their dissatisfaction. 19 people are arrested, including opposition leader Kizza Besigye. The proposal to abolish the age limit is not only criticized by the opposition, but also by religious leaders, a number of organizations and other parts of the government party. The day after (September 27), several opposition members are dragged out of Parliament by civilian-clad security personnel. At least five of them may go to hospitals to receive care.
Opposition protests in Parliament delay controversial decision
Uganda’s parliament would have voted today to remove the age limit for the presidential post, but the session is updated before the motion is presented, as opposition politicians act to delay the process by loud other matters. The session is postponed to the following week. Outside Parliament there are protests, despite the fact that the authorities have introduced a demonstration ban. About ten people are arrested by police.
The NRM plans to cut the age limit for presidential candidates
NRM MPs are voting for the party to submit a bill to erase the age limit for presidential candidates (it currently runs at age 75). The measure paves the way for Museveni to be re-elected in the next presidential election in 2021.
There is some uncertainty about how old the president is, but many believe he was born in 1944, which, by today’s rules, would disqualify him as a candidate. However, there is a certificate of baptism claiming that he was born in 1947.
Museveni is currently in its fifth term as president. Even within NRM, there are forces that think he has already sat for too long on the presidential post, but few say it openly. One of them doing so is Theodore Ssekikubo, who is urging the president to go in honorable forms.
Nearly 6 million children are vaccinated against polio
Uganda launches a vaccination campaign against polio to prevent the disease from spreading there from neighboring countries South Sudan and Congo-KInshasa. Nearly 6 million children will be vaccinated.
One million refugees from South Sudan
The number of refugees from South Sudan now amounts to 1 million (see also Population and languages). Women and children make up about 85 percent of those who have moved.
56 arrested for illegal meetings
56 members of the opposition movement Democratic Change Forum (FDC) are arrested by police for participating in illegal meetings. The arrests have taken place since the political debate was heated after information that the government wants to change the constitution so that President Museveni can stand for re-election in 2021. Currently, a presidential candidate can be a maximum of 75 years. Museveni will be 77 years old at the next election.
Livestock deer against border villages
About 20 men in South Sudanese uniforms are accused of cattle raids against two Ugandan villages, raising fears that the conflict in the neighboring country risks spreading across the border. They must also have attacked two South Sudanese refugees living in one of the villages. South Sudan’s army denies any involvement.
Uganda has at the same time strengthened the security of refugee camps in the area of concern for armed groups to enter there to kidnap refugees.
Music star wins filling choice
Music star Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, better known as Bobi Wine, or His Excellency the ghetto president, wins a seat in Parliament in a campaign election in Kampala. He is running as an independent candidate, winning the election by 78 percent of the vote. Kyagulanyi Ssentamu says he wants to be a voice for change in Uganda and is critical of President Museveni. His song lyrics have always had a political cap (the single Freedom was banned by the authorities as soon as it was released in the fall of 2017).
New support for refugee reception, but the money is not enough
Uganda promises $ 358 million in aid to receive refugees from South Sudan, but the need for money to assist them is far greater. According to the UN Refugee Agency, Uganda has received 974,000 refugees from neighboring countries. The UN believes that another half a million South Sudanese will resort to Uganda until the turn of the year 2017/2018 (see also Population and Languages).
Forces are taken home from the Central African Republic
The Ugandan military announces that the country will withdraw its forces from the Central African Republic where, among other things, they have been hunting the leader of the Ugandan rebel movement Lord’s Liberation Army (LRA) Joseph Kony. According to the government, Kony is no longer a threat to the government.
Critical researcher gripped
Scientist Stella Nyanzi is arrested after criticizing President Yoweri Museveni’s wife, Foreign Minister Janet Musaveni, on social media. Nyanzi had criticized Museveni for breaking a promise to give schoolgirls free religious protection.
Burundian refugees are urged to go home
Ugandan authorities announce that almost 46,000 Burundian refugees will be sent home. This happens after the Burundi government launched a campaign to urge Burundians in exile to return to their home country and say it is safe to return. According to Ugandan Minister of Emergency Management Hillary Onek, Burundians who refuse to return home will be provided with a three-month visa. However, the Deputy Minister of Onek’s Ministry says that no refugees should be forced to leave the country against their will.
Presidenton gets advisory role
Museveni’s son Muhoozi Kainerugaba is appointed Special Adviser to the President for Special Military Operations. According to some analysts, this is because Museveni wants to prepare him for even greater responsibility in the future. At the same time, the commander who led the operation in Rwenzururu at the end of 2016 is promoted to new army chief.