Uganda: Issues Ignored Essay

1702 words - 7 pages

IntroductionUganda, a Sub-Saharan country located in Africa, straddles the equator and is made up mostly of fertile highlands (Uganda: Land and People, 2005). Kampala is the capital of Uganda. Once ruled by brutal dictator Idi Amin, what is more formally known as the Republic of Uganda gained its independence on October 9, 1962, now a nationally celebrated holiday. Since 1986, Yoweri Kaguta Musevini has been the president, chief of state and head of government. Prime Minister, Apollo Nsibambi assists the president in supervising the cabinet, who are appointed by the president from a choice of elected legislators (Politics of Uganda, 2005). Uganda has a population of 24,699,073 (Demographics of Uganda, 2005), ninety percent of whom live in rural areas (Uganda: Land and People, 2005). Though English is the country's official language, approximately seventy percent of the people speak a Bantu language (Uganda: Land and People, 2005). Approximately two-thirds of Uganda's population is Christian, while the rest practice animism or follow the teachings of Islam (Culture of Uganda, 2005).Full of exotic animals and beautiful landscapes, it is no wonder that Uganda is called the "Pearle of Africa." However, Uganda's natural beauty veils a country devastated by the effects of civil war, poverty, AIDS, and the suppression of women.War & ViolenceSince 1987, the people of northern Uganda have been relentlessly plundered, kidnapped, raped, tortured, and murdered by a rebel group looking to overthrow the current Ugandan government, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The victims of the LRA have been primarily the Acholi people, of what is known as the Acholiland. The Acholiland consists of the districts Kitgum, Gulu, and Pader. Since 2002, these attacks have spread into other districts as well. Since the beginning of this eighteen year conflict, up to 12,000 people have been killed, 1.5 million civilians are internally displaced persons (IDPs) and an estimated 20,000 children have been abducted for use as sex slaves and soldiers (Lord's Resistance Army). In some cases, women who are abducted by the LRA are forced to become the wife of a commander. Though some of these women have managed to escape, almost 100 percent of them suffer from syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases. In many cases, the abducted children have been forced to murder their own families. It is not hopeful that the LRA will be withdrawing any time in the near future. Considering the amount extreme cruelty that has occurred during this insurgency, Uganda has received little media coverage in the United States; in fact, many Americans aren't even aware of what is going on in Uganda.AIDS / HIV and Other Health IssuesUganda has been viewed as a success story because it is one of the few African countries whose HIV rates have been on the decline (War in Uganda Threatens AIDS Successes, 2004). Some of the factors that have contributed to this national decline are the encouragement of...

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