Buganda was one of the few pre-colonial states in Africa that had its flag. It is now an integral element of the Uganda flag and also the coat of arm granted by Queen Elizabeth.
When Uganda became a colony of the British Empire, the British added a distinct symbol “Crested Crane” to its blue flag for the region. It also used the symbol for the rest of the official banners of Uganda. The crane became the national symbol.
The Democratic Party that ruled the country at the time, proposed the Uganda flag first. At first, the Uganda flag was a tricolor flag with vertical stripes.
A narrow yellow line divided each green, blue, and green stripes. In the middle of the flag, there was a silhouette yellow crane. The ruling Democratic party used their colors for the first Uganda flag’s design.
When the Democratic Party lost the election and the newly elected party took control, it changed the flag. This time the Uganda flag was based on the tricolor flag of Uganda People’s Congress flag.
Ugandan Minister of Justice, Grace Ibingira designed the new flag of Uganda. The flag consists of three horizontal stripes—red, yellow, and black.
Before Uganda’s independence, the British administration approved the new Uganda flag (current flag).
Symbolism in Uganda flag
The three colors in the current Uganda flag symbolize a different aspect of life and culture in Africa. The black color represents the native ethnic of Africa, the yellow color represents Africa’s sunshine, and the red color symbolizes brotherhood.
African believe all of them connected through brotherhood. Another symbol in the Uganda flag is the gray crane. It’s the symbol of Uganda and also the military badge of Uganda soldiers of British colonial time.
The bird is fabled for its gentle nature. The crane on the Uganda flag is on the move with one leg raised.
The raised leg of the crane symbolizes the forward movement of the country.
Symbols and elements in the coat of the arms of the Uganda flag
The coat of the arms is for military purposes. The Uganda Legislative Council adopted Uganda’s coat of the arms, three weeks before the proclamation of the independence.
It was Walter Coutts the governor of Uganda who officially initiated using the coat of the arm.
Elements in the Uganda coat of arms are as follows:
•Shield and spears—symbolize Ugandans willingness to defend their country
•Images on the shield—the sun represents the brilliant sunny days of Uganda, the waves which represent Lake Victoria and Lake Albert, and the drum which represents summoning people to dance and ceremonies
•On the left side of the shield, there is a crested crane, a subspecies of gray-crowned-crane which is the national symbol
•On the right side of the shield, there is Ugandan Kob which represents the abundant wildlife in Uganda
•The shield stands on the green mound which represents the fertile land of Uganda.
•Under the shield, there is water flowing downward which is a symbol that Uganda is in the Basin of Nile River
•The two cash-crop, cotton, and coffee at the sides of the river represents the two main agricultural products of the country
•At the national motto is written at the bottom,” For God and my country”.
Uganda Flag Color Codes
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About the republic of Uganda
Uganda is an African country that is located in east-central Africa. Uganda has no connection to the sea and its surrounding area is all land. Such countries are referred to as landlocked countries as well.
Uganda’s population is 37 million and this country is one of the poorest nations in the world. Uganda is a big country which is usually compared equally to the size of Britain.
Agriculture is the backbone of the economy of the country and its soil is richly fertile. Uganda exports coffee, oil, base metal and products, fish, cement, tobacco, maize, tea sugar, hides and skins and, flower and some other products.
During the time Uganda was under British rule, Winston Churchill visited the country.
Calling Uganda as “the pearl of Africa,” he wrote “Uganda is a fairy-tale. You climb up a railway instead of a beanstalk, and in the end, there is a wonderful new world.”
Although lands surrounded the country, Uganda has many lakes. Most of the lakes are located in the south of the country. The biggest lake in Uganda is Lake Victoria which contains many islands.
Most of the important cities in the south of the country exist near this lake including the capital, Kampala and Entebbe. Other lakes of Uganda included: Kyoga, Lake Albert, Lake Edward, and the smaller Lake George.
A brief history of Uganda
The people of Uganda lived as hunter-gatherers until 1,700–2,300 years ago. In southern of the country, Bantu speaking people live who probably migrated from central Africa.
According to the oral tradition, there has been an Empire called Kitara which ruled over a great part of Uganda including the areas around the lakes.
Other kingdoms existed within the Ugandan territory simultaneously included Toro, Ankole, and Busoga, and Buganda.
A series of foreigners who consecutively visited Uganda resulted in a chain of upheaval and domestic violence later.
In the 1830s, Arab traders moved inland from the Indian Ocean from the coast of Africa. Flowing the Arab traders in the 1860s, the British explorers who were in search of the source of the Nile River came into the country.
They were followed by British missionaries who came into Buganda in 1877s. Later French Catholic missionaries entered Uganda in 1879. In the following years of French missionary’s visit, a series of religious wars broke out in Buganda.
First, it was Muslims and Christians who fought and later ba-Ingleza Protestants and ba-Fransa Catholics.
At the beginning of 1888, a British company “Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEAC)” was established in London.
The company aimed to discuss trade agreements in the African region under the control of the British Empire.
Because of the social unrest and financial burden, IBEAC could not manage the business well. British commercial interests were at risk and they were committed to protecting the trade route—the Nile river. A
s a result, the British merged Buganda and other territories under a single protectorate country of Uganda.
Uganda Protectorate of British
Imperial British East Africa Company was established in Buganda with the permission of Kabaka in 1888. Six years later in 1894.
The British Empire announced Buganda as a British protectorate state. Extended its control over Bunyoro, Ankole and, Toro, the British government changed these societies’ administrative systems as Buganda.
It was in the 1890s that the British Empire brought 32,000 laborers from British India to work on Uganda Railway.
They were contracted as indentured laborers. However, most of them returned to their home country but 6,724 of them remained in east Africa. Those remained in East Africa started cotton ginning and clothe making business.
In 1905, the British Colonial Office took control of the country. Under the control of the new administrator, Busoga Railway and the cotton industry established.
Later, the cotton industry was affected by World War I and depression years of 1932–33. Commercial production of sugar and coffee established after 1920 and after World War II, high prices of coffee and cotton created a boom in economic.
In 1921 when a legislative and executive council set up, it was the beginning of a gradual power transfer to locals.
The parliament of the British passed the Independence of Uganda under the name of the Uganda Independent Act in 1962.
This act would transform the Uganda Protectorate into a sovereign state with Queen Elizabeth II as the ceremonial head of the state.
A year later in 1963, the Parliament of Uganda revised and changed the constitutional law.
Uganda became a republic with the president as the head of state and it maintained membership to the commonwealth nation.
Although Uganda changed to republic still the non-sovereign monarchies such as Buganda continued in existence.
The existence of the Buganda kingdom and some other problems altogether overwhelmed the country after gaining independence.
When Uganda was a protectorate state for the British Empire, Buganda existed as a non-sovereign monarchy inside the country.
The colonial governor never came up with a clear plan on how to make it easy for both entities to coexist in harmony. When Uganda became an independent state, the problem rose high. Buganda did not cooperate with the central government.
Although Buganda never tried for independence, it wanted recognition of special states within the country.
Meanwhile, within Buganda, there were two divisions among people. Some people were in favor of joining the rest of the country for a modern secular state and some favored Kabaka as a dominant monarch.
As a result of the argument between the two groups, they made two different parties. The two parties were the Kabaka Yekka and the Democratic Party.
The tension intensified when Kabaka disliked the Democratic Party’s leader, Benedicto Kiwanuka. It was the time that the first post-colonial election was approaching.
A northern Ugandan politician, Milton Obote forged alliances among politicians outside Buganda who did not favor the special statues of Buganda.
These politicians altogether formed Uganda’s People Congress (UPC). Milton Obote’s speeches around the country brought more alliances and supporters for UPC.
Meanwhile in the parliament also members from the two other parties, KY and DP joined UPC which made it the leading party. In the new members who joined UPC was the DP’s leader too.
While the UPC was winning elections around the country and gaining more control, Kabaka remained silent.
In 1964 UPC was at the peak when internal problems rose at the party. The problems were further intensified when the members of DP and KY joined UPC. Ethnic, religious, regional, and personal interests made the party unstable.
In 1964 the party members had a conference in Gulu which a southern city in Uganda. It was the first time that members demonstrated that Milton Obote was losing control of the party.
In the meantime, there was a bitter battle over the Secretary-General of the party between two candidates Grace Ibingira and the radical John Kakonge. With this, the KY supporters outside the party saw Milton Obote weak and vulnerable.
For examining the subsequent events and the problem between Buganda and the central government, this is an important factor to look at.
UPC divided into two parts based on ethnic factors. At one side was Grace Ibingira with mostly people from the south at his back and on the other side, Milton Obote with northern backers.
The problem further increased when Obote arrested and imprisoned the mainly Bantu ministers who backed Ibingira. Later on, Buganda people who are Bantu supported Ibingira.
Ibingira used the opportunity and spread the word that Milton Obote wants to overthrow Kabaka. On the other hand, the army and police were exclusively recruited from northern people who are Nilotic and supported by Milton Obote.
In April 1966, Milton Obote recruited more than eight hundred new army personnel with seventy percent Nilotic. At the time Colonel Idi Amin was army chief of staff for Obote.
On the northern side of the country, there were varying degrees of anti-Buganda feelings among Uganda people.
Particularly people were discontent with the “special status” of the Buganda Kingdom and the social and economic benefit come along the label. This gap widened as time went by. The anti-Buganda mentality in the north caused the northerner/southerner political divide in the country which still exists to some point.
In an unprecedented decree, Milton Obote dismissed Kabaka and wrote offices of president and vice-president cease to exist.
Obote dismissed Opolot who had relations via marriage with Buganda from the commander of army position.
He increases the authority of Amin who was the army chief of staff.
He assigned him as the army commander. Obote put an end to the existing constitution and suspended election.
It accused Kabaka of requesting foreign troops to help him in domestic issues by going to the media.
He further breaks down Kabaka’s authorities and announced the following measures:
- Abolition of independent public service commissions at the federal level. As a result, Kabaka lost the authority to appoint a civil servant
- Abolition of the lands that were specified for the Buganda chiefs
- Abolition of the judicial authority of Buganda by abolishing the high court
- Harnessing the financial management of Buganda under the control of the central government
When Kabaka accepted the presidency, They divided people in Buganda into two groups. This division in people made Buganda a week to oppose central government decisions.
Meanwhile, in Buganda, there were three different views among people—young politicians who saw Kababka unresponsive to their bits of advice, traditional politicians who did not care about what was going on until their traditional benefit maintained, and the Kababa himself.
Finally, Kabaka and Buganda parliament demanded the Uganda government to leave Buganda including the capital, Kampala. Obote ordered the army commander, Idi Amin to attack Kabana’s palace.
Kabaka and his guard’s resistance were beyond expectation. The 120 armed men, kept fighting for 12 hours.
Finally, the army had to bring heavier artillery to defeat Kabaka and take control of the situation.
The estimation of causalities indicates around 2000 dead. Obote was concern about the rise of other locals in Buganda against his government but that did not happen.
Later in a press talk, Obote announced his victory. Kabaka escaped and went to London where he died three years later.
In a military coup in January 1971, Idi Amin who was the army commander.
He removed Obote from the power and seized the control of the country. With support from the military, he changed the system to dictatorship.
For the next eight years, Amin ruled the country as a brutal dictator. To maintain his rule, he used mess killing which consequently 80,000–500,000 Ugandans lost their lives.
During his supremacy, Amin expelled entrepreneur Indians from Uganda. When Tanzania invaded Uganda with the help of Ugandan exiles, they put an end to the tyrannical Amin’s regime.
Geographical location of Uganda