The number of Ugandan districts might be overwhelmingly high from what you have seen else where in countries of almost similar size … hello! Welcome to Ugandan politics. Keenly, you are just about to know how this country is governed and divided – about the number, we are still counting…
… And perhaps this will answer some of your questions and give you a more understanding of the administration structures here.
Uganda has lots of districts – in fact 132 (including the Capital – Kampala), which figure could have changed by the time I finish posting this.
It might still be fair to say that each of these Ugandan districts has its own history but I am not sure any more about the traditions and culture especially with the new ones whose formation has been fast and rather politically motivated over the last 15/30 years.
… But let’s see a morsel of where the creation of Ugandan districts starts;
In 1926, the final border adjustments were made between Uganda and its neighbouring countries. By 1945, Uganda was divided into four provinces; Buganda, Eastern, Northern and Western which provinces where further divided into districts.
In 1960 – two years before independence (1962), the status of the provinces changed to regions but with no administrative function. The districts became the primary division – It is rightly factual to say that this is when Ugandan districts started to take shape.
And then … there were the kingdoms; In 1962 (independence), the kingdoms retained their status with a few areas given district status; Acholi, Lango, Bombo, Bugisu, Bukedi, Busoga, Karamoja, Kigezi, Madi, Masaka, Mpigi, Mubende, Sebei, Teso and West Nile. And moving on … by 1966, the kingdoms had been abolished, splitting those areas into new districts and territories.
Ugandan history will tell you that by 1971 after all the radical and far-reaching changes and with a new constitution in place, there were 19 Ugandan districts.
Fast forward… In 1980, the country was re-organised creating 33 districts (named after the major towns) from the 10 provinces. By 1997, the counting was on; there were 44 districts (majority created for political reasons). In 2000, 11 new districts were added taking the number to 56; Kamwenge, Kayunga, Wakiso and Nakapiripiriti were some of those created.
… Another 22 created in 2005 took the number of Ugandan districts to 78.
And come 2009, which should be the most recent – sure? Hmm, they could have lost me in either the counting or the creation … but another 34 new districts joined the ever growing list of Uganda districts to the current 112.
To sum it up, Ugandan districts have seen considerable changes year after year …. and who knows what the next district will be? A lot of the old provinces, regions and areas have been split into smaller districts to facilitate the distribution of resources further to the grass root level rather than to the chief towns and cities.
Each district is further divided into counties and municipalities, down to the sub-counties, parishes and villages.
Administratively, apart from Kampala which is headed by a lord Mayor, each district is headed by a district Chairperson who together with the district council over see the running of the district.