This is an extract of the research paper “HIV/AIDS in Uganda: The Power of History, Religion, Social Class and Gender” which I wrote in April 2018. The research report will be available online soon.
Uganda has an incredible culture, and religion remains extremely important today, an aspect of Uganda that was brought to Africa by British colonists in the late 1800s. Following the colonization in 1877, members of the British Missionary Society arrived in Buganda, a kingdom within Uganda. Two years later, members of the French Roman Catholic White Fathers travelled to the nation with missionary goals. In 1894, after granting Britain the rights to Buganda (which was later on going to fuze with Uganda), it became a British protectorate. At the beginning of the 20th century, Britain gave Buganda its autonomy, when it officially became controlled by Protestant chiefs. A half of a century later, Uganda was given an internal self-government, to then become a republic four years later. Buganda’s autonomy was then put to an end in 1966 when then-president Milton Obote promoted himself to the presidency (BBC 2017).
Given the history, one could argue that the colonization of Uganda as a Protestant and Christian nation has led Uganda to be governed using religious values. This is something we can see in the adoption of the “ABC” programme and other campaigns which will be discussed in the following section. Furthermore, the policies and programmes put in place regarding sexuality were strongly supported and funded by the Ugandan and American governments, as well as being endorsed by “powerful religious leaders in Uganda” (Cohen and Tate 2006, p. 174). The state keeps a religious mindset while teaching about sexuality to its youth as it has been shown that the president at the time, Yoweri Museveni, was a strong supporter of the abstinence-only methods and was publically sharing his anti-condom point of view via statements (ps.174-175).