Uganda has a rich oral storytelling tradition
that today lives on in a thriving theater scene. There
is an active national theater in Kampala. Uganda has
some of East Africa's most influential playwrights,
notably John Ruganda, Murry Carlin and Robert Serumaga.
The country's foremost writer is Okot p'Bitek. He
reached a large audience with his breakthrough
song Song of Lawino (1966), a long poem
combining African storytelling tradition with Western
influences. The poem was originally written in the
language of Acholi, while the sequel Song of Ocol is
written in English. A recurring feature of Okot
p'Bitek's poetry is sharp, often satirical, criticism of
Westerners and their influence in Africa.
Latest population statistics of Uganda, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
The Femrite Foundation helps bring out new female
writers. One of Femrite's members, Doreen Baingana, is
translated into Swedish, the short collection Tropical
Fish. A younger author generation also includes Moses
Isegawa and Monica Arac de Nyeko.
Popular music is influenced by Congolese music such
as soukous. Uganda's internationally best-known musician
is Geoffrey Oryema, who mixes traditional African music,
sung at acholi or Swahili, with pop and rock. Musician
Philly Lutaaya, who died in AIDS in 1989, also had
success in the West. Lutaaya, who for a time lived in
Sweden, was the first known Ugandan to dare to say he
was HIV-infected. It was of great importance for the
fight against the disease in Uganda.
Rap star Keko is a big name in East Africa. Other big
stars are Iryn Namubiru and Eddy Kenzo.
A film industry in Uganda is slowly being built up.
In recent years, a series of low-budget films have been
recorded in Kampala, which is described as a mix between
western films and Chinese kung fu films.
Public video views are also popular. There are
hundreds of video booths, bibands, around the country
where entertainment films and sports broadcasts are
mixed with informational films provided by government
Freedom of the press is enshrined in the
constitution, but there are a number of laws that allow
the state to intervene in the media. Journalists who
have written on sensitive issues, such as corruption in
the top state government run the risk of being arrested,
beaten or exposed to other harassment. In connection
with the elections, President Yoweri Museveni and his
party favor NRM in state ethereal media. But some
newspapers are rather on the side of the opposition.
It is mainly the newspapers that challenge power. The
publication of the leading opposition newspaper The
Monitor has been stopped several times and its
journalists have been repeatedly imprisoned. It also
appears that media are temporarily shut down by the
authorities after publishing / sending inconvenient
material to the government. Some of the violence against
journalists also comes from ordinary citizens. Governors
also use advocacy laws to silence uncomfortable voices.
Authorities routinely refuse journalists to release
material that should be public
There are several extensible laws that are used by
the government to attack the media, mainly provisions on
rioting, slander and a law on counter-terrorism,
according to which information "likely to encourage
terrorism" can provide up to ten years in prison. New
legislation from 2014 also gives the authorities greater
powers to monitor what is written online and to
intercept mobile phones.
Even before the 2016 election, the authorities
intervened in independent media, including the radio
station Endigyito FMav of the authorities after sending
an interview with one of the opposition candidates in
the presidential election. At the same time, it was
clear that the regime had failed to stop criticism of
the government that came via social media.
The radio is the medium that reaches the most in
Uganda. In addition to the state-controlled UBC Radio,
the larger of the more than 200 radio channels, the
private Radio Sanyu and the music station 91.3 Capital
FM. Daily Monitor also broadcasts radio. A number of
local radio channels have been started in recent years.
Most of them are not particularly critical of those in
power because they are driven by people close to the
There are about 40 TV channels. The national channel
UBC TV reaches Kampala and its surroundings. Even the
private ones, NTV Uganda, owned by Aga Khan's
Kenya-based Nation Media Group, WBS, NBS and Bukedde TV
have many viewers.
The largest daily newspapers include the
English-speaking New Vision, where the government is
majority owner. It still manages to maintain a
relatively independent line, except in elections and
political protests. Newspapers like Daily Monitor,
Observer and Independent, contain more criticism of the
government. Several new magazines have been started in
the 2000s, including Red Pepper and Rolling Stone, with
a great deal of sensation-oriented material.
FACTS - MASS MEDIA
Percentage of the population using the
24 percent (2017)
Number of mobile subscriptions per 100
The President rejects Parliament's demands
President Museveni rejects Parliament's request for a temporary halt to all
new oil agreements, citing that the country cannot afford it.
Protests against inflation and corruption
A4C organizes new protests against high food and fuel prices (inflation in
September was above 28 percent) and corruption. Protesters clash with riot
police in Kampala.
MPs demand a halt to new oil agreements
Accusations that ministers received millions in bribes from the oil company
Tullow Oil are leading a majority of the parliament to vote for a halt to all
new agreements in the oil sector. This means that no new agreements can be
concluded before new legislation is completed. At the same time, the MPs demand
greater transparency in the government's oil business and that the details of
the settlement with Tullow Oil would be made public, and that the company's sale
of its shares in the French oil company Total and the Chinese CNOOC be stopped
until a tax dispute has been resolved. They demand that all ministers who have
been appointed for bribery leave the government. The ministers involved are
Prime Minister Mbabazi, Foreign Minister Kutesa and former Minister of Energy
Behind the initiative in Parliament stands a group of young members, some of
whom belonged to the ruling party while others are independent candidates.
Several accused of corruption
Former Vice President Gilbert Bukenya is imprisoned (see May 2011).
Three other ministers are also charged with corruption, including Foreign
Minister Sam Kutesa, former Transport Minister John Nasasira and Labor Minister
Mwesigwa Rukutana. Critics claim that the trials were a way to appease the
donors by pretending to address the corruption in the country.
Two people convicted of bombing
In the middle of the month, the prosecution is closed to five people who were
suspected of involvement in the bombing during the 2010 World Cup because of a
lack of evidence. Two people acknowledge that they had been involved in the
attacks and sentenced to five and 25 years in prison respectively.
The government distances itself from legislative proposals against
At the end of the month, the Cabinet, the government's inner circle, will
distance itself from the proposal to tighten legislation against homosexuality.
However, individual MPs say they intend to continue pursuing the issue.
The vice president is dismissed
Museveni dismisses Vice President Gilbert Bukenya on charges of corruption.
Opposition politician in house arrest
Besigye's home is surrounded by police and the opposition politician is in
practice under house arrest.
Unarmed protesters are killed
Up to the middle of the month, nine people have been killed and hundreds more
injured in connection with the protests. According to the human rights
organization Human Rights Watch, the victims were unarmed protesters shot to
death by security forces.
More and more dissatisfied with the government
The authorities' harsh methods seem to get more and more people to join the
protests. Reports that Museveni spent $ 350 million on the election campaign
earlier that year, as well as the decision to buy a $ 740 million battle plan,
Big protests against the government
On April 11, opposition politicians Besigye and Norbert Mao have been
arrested since they called on Ugandans to walk to work to protest high food
prices and large fuel increases (prices of some foods had risen by more than 30
percent in the second half of 2010). However, they are released against the
bail. New events will be held later in several cities. In some places, clashes
between police and opposition supporters occur. Besigye and other opposition
leaders are arrested several times and released on bail. The government is also
trying to prevent further protests by blocking social media on the internet. The
allowance is made despite the fact that the demonstrations did not initially
gather any large crowds.
Government in continued control of Parliament
In the parliamentary elections, NRM wins 263 seats, against 34 for FDC. At
the same time, 40 independent members are elected to the House, many of whom
have previously belonged to the ruling party.
The President is re-elected
In addition to Museveni, five candidates stand in the presidential election.
The EU sends 130 observers to the elections. Museveni clearly wins with 68
percent of the vote, against 26 percent for Besigye.
Oil discoveries provide new government revenue
The discovery of large amounts of oil in the country's western part of 2009
is expected to provide the state with new revenue. However, the agreements on
the emerging oil industry are surrounded by secrecy. The oil revenues give the
president more opportunity to give generous election promises and before the
election, the government side is accused of buying votes.
The government side has the lead in elections
Presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on February 18. Before
the election, it is clear how much more resources the government side has
compared to the opposition. Despite a dissatisfaction with the widespread
corruption and shortcomings in health care, schooling, roads and electricity
supply, the president is considered to be able to win votes on relative wealth
(the economy has grown by 5-8 percent in recent years) and the relative calm
that prevailed under his rule. In his election speeches, the president blames
problems such as unemployment and the electricity shortage of the opposition
which, according to him, has stopped his development plans.
LGBT activist murdered
LGBT activist David Kato is found murdered in his home. Just a few weeks
before, he has won in court against the Rolling Stone magazine which published a
list of gay Ugandans (see also Social conditions).