However, recent reports suggest that HIV infection rates are increasing again
Since 1962, Ugandans have suffered gross violation of human rights, including genocide, governmentsponsored violence, acts of elimination of elites, forced exiles and expulsions, imprisonment without trial, and denial of the other basic human rights. More than 2 million people have been killed, maimed, imprisoned, or forced into exile. Various political elites have sought power to control and to distribute resources at the expense of human rights. Ugandans have not yet developed mechanisms to change government leaders by peaceful means. Political change has been effected through violence, and this has invariably led to other forms of violence. The distribution of resources along ethnic and racial lines was a legacy of British colonialism. During the colonial period, the Europeans and Asians received the highest incomes because they controlled the state and business, respectively. Among the African population, the Baganda were the richest because they produced cash cropsotton and coffeend played the role of colonial subimperialists. Western Uganda became a reservoir of labor for the colonial state as well as the managers of the cash crop economy in Buganda. The armed forces of the colonial era were recruited mainly from the Luo and Sudanic speakers of the northern region. This specialization along racial and ethnic lines became the source of instability and violence in postcolonial Uganda. Unsophisticated leaders like Obote and Amin exploited the politics of ethnicity and historical imbalances to entrench themselves. They branded whole populations guilty for the inequities of British colonialism and imposed collective punishment regardless of class or political association and sympathies.
Thousands of Ugandans have suffered from acts of genocidal massacre. Since independence in 1962, Uganda has witnessed massacres directed against certain ethnic and consolidated social groups. Between 1966 and 1971, the first Obote regime targeted the Baganda, and 400 to 1,000 people were reported to have been killed. The Amin Regime (1971979) targeted the Acholi and Langi, particularly those in the armed forces, and thousands were eliminated. During the Tanzania-led war to oust Amin, groups of people suspected of supporting or sympathizing with Amin or even those who only came from the ethnic groups in his home region were killed. These included Muslims in the Ankoleasaka areas, the people of West Nile, and Nubians scattered in the urban centers. In the second Obote administration (1980985), the Baganda were again targets for killings. The activities of both the government and the guerrilla armies in the Luwero Triangle caused the deaths of more than 300,000 people and the flight of many more from the area. From 1986 to 2003, the people of the Acholi region in northern Uganda were indiscriminately terrorized. More than 100,000 people were killed and more than 20,000 children abducted. These killings were managed by individuals trying to destabilize the political machinery of the Uganda state.
The fall of Kampala on April 11, 1979. A Tanzanian soldier uncovers mutilated bodies at the State Research Bureau, headquarters of Idi Amin's dreaded secret police. [BETTMANN/CORBIS]
The Elimination of Political and Commercial Elites
The violent struggle to control the state has led those in power to eliminate their political rivals. In the period from 1962 to 1971, many political opponents of the first Obote regime were either imprisoned (including Grace Ibingira, George Magezi, Balaki Kirya, Lumu, Ben Kiwanuka, and some…