According to the census of 2014, there are 8 major religions in Uganda, 6 of which belong to the Christian fraternity making up 84.5% of Uganda’s population.
The Roman Catholic Church has the largest number of adherents (39.3%), followed by the Anglican Church of Uganda (32%).
Evangelical and Pentecostal churches take about 11.1% of the Christian fraternity, the remaining percentage is taken up by the Baptist Christians, Orthodox and seventh day Adventists. The Evangelical and pentecostal churches are the fastest growing religion in the whole country having grown from 4.7 (2002) to 11.1 (2014)
The next most reported religion of Uganda is Islam, Muslims represent 13.7% of the total Uganda’s population. The Muslim population is primarily Sunni; there is also a minority belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The religion has registered a growth of 1.7% from 2002
The remainder of the population follow traditional religions (0.1%), Bahai , or others 1.4% and non-religions (0.1%). Traditional indigenous beliefs are practiced in some rural areas and are sometimes blended with or practiced alongside Christianity or Islam.
In addition to a small community of Jewish expatriates centered in Kampala, Uganda is home to the Abayudaya, a native Jewish community dating from the early 1900s.
Indian nationals are the most significant immigrant population; members of this community are primarily Ismaili (Shi’a Muslim followers of the Aga Khan) or Hindu. More than 30 years ago, there were about 80,000 Indians in Uganda. Today there are about 15,000. The northern and West Nile regions are predominantly Catholic, while Iganga District in eastern Uganda has the highest percentage of Muslims. The rest of the country has a mix of religious affiliations.
Uganda has a history of religious conflicts also known as the religious wars in Buganda (the central part of Uganda) which were mainly among the Muslims, Catholics and Anglicans. The climax of these religious scandals gave birth to the martyrdom of many of the kings servants who were disobedient to him because of their affiliation to Islam, catholicism, or the Anglican faith.
Today Uganda is a home of several religious memorials for the people who died during that Era, the government designated 3rd June as the official commemoration day for the Uganda martyrs. Millions annually flood Namugongo catholic shrine which is the main center of these religious celebrations. Though the catholic church dominates the day, with visitors from around the world, there are also other memorial centers for the Anglicans and the Muslims in Namugongo.
Namugongo was the main execution ground for the Buganda Kingdom, and it is for this reason why why all the three core religions have memorials of their deceased in this town. However you cannot talk about religion in Uganda without sharing about the places of Worship which are the main tourism destinations when it comes to religion
The bahai faith was introduced in Uganda in 1958 and a House of worship was built and completed in 1961. The architecture is one of its kind in Africa being that Uganda is the only country in Africa with a Bahai house of worship. It is located 7 kilometers away from the city center on Kikaya hill along Kampala Gayaza road.
The house of worship has been in place for over 57 years and more, sitting on a diameter of 100 meters and a height of more than 130 feet. It has a dome composed of lace like tiles, rising over 124 feet and a 44 feet in diameter. The foundation goes 10 feet underground. The green dome that was used in construction of the temple made of mosaic tiles was from Italy and lower roof tiles are from Belgium. The walls of the temple are of precast stone quarried in Uganda. The timber used to make the doors was from Uganda and the colored glass in the wall panels was bought from Germany
Uganda is gifted with many cathedrals and places of worship, but there is no such place with matchless architecture like the Bahai temple. It is because of its uniqueness that it never runs out of photo shoots every weekend ranging from wedded couples to fashion houses and dating couples.
The temple is seated on 52 acres of land, and because of the vastness of its gardens, it attracts people from far. The place opens daily on 9:00am to 5:30 pm with a Sunday service at 10:30 am. Besides the beautiful architecture of the temple structure, People are amazed by the beautiful natural environment in which it stands.
Along the beautiful photographic scenery of the temple, gardens and the interior, it’s against the rules to take photos with in the temple since its considered place has to be given its reverence. While the gardens have spots where you can sit, relax and meditate, you are required not to litter the place in any way.
The cathedral stands on one of the original seven hills that make up Kampala city. Like the Namugongo catholic shrine, Rubaga cathedral is enshrined in the stained glass windows with memorials of the 22 Uganda martyrs. These martyrs are among the other Ugandan Christians that were burnt to death on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga II in 1885 and 1886 after refusing to renounce the so called white man’s religion by then.
However, the death of the martyrs only sparked the growth of the Catholic Church like a wild fire. Today the Catholic Church has the majority population in terms of religion in Uganda.
The place is open to tourists both local and international free of charge. It is accessible between 9:00 am and 5:30 pm. Besides the colorful painting mosaics that depict a mixture of both African and European influence united in their faith, it is a wonderful place to get access to the history of the Catholic Church in Uganda.
Namirembe cathedral is also located at one of the city hills well known as Namirembe hill. Namirembe can also be translated as mother of peace. Uganda is believed to have the highest number of Protestants in East Africa.
The Anglican Church is the second biggest church in Uganda after the Catholic Church. Namirembe cathedral also known as St Paul’s cathedral is the oldest Anglican cathedral in Uganda. One of the intriguing facts about the cathedral is that it has at least had four versions so far since 1890. The current version of the cathedral was constructed between 1915 and 1919 using earthen bricks and earthen roof tiles. It has also been recently renovated to just furnish it with a more appealing look.
Unlike other places of worship, Namirembe has within a walkable distance tourist places such as namirembe guest house, which was established by the commissioners and located on the outer slopes of namirembe hill. The Kabaka palace is also just near, and several shopping malls where you can do shopping
UGANDA NATIONAL MOSQUE
Islam is the third biggest religion in Uganda, composing of different sects. In the 1970s while Idi Amin was still the president of Uganda, he commissioned the building of the national mosque with architectural plans from M.A Karim that he concluded within a month after instructions from the president. The mosque was to be built at old Kampala hill, just two kilometers from Kampala city center. Unfortunately, after laying the foundation, it laid incomplete until 2006. It was then officially opened in June 2007. The mosque was completed through a donation from the fallen Lybian president Col Muammar Gaddafi. In 2013, its name was changed to Gaddafi national mosque after the new Lybian administrator was reluctant on renovating the mosques under the old name.
The mosque is on the upper floor which is only opened for special occasions like weddings and eid days while the offices are on the ground floor which open at all times. It is at this mosque where the headquarters of Uganda Muslim supreme council are found. The council is in charge of taking care of all Islamic affairs in the country.
The mosque is open to tourists both local and international. Entrance for local tourists is free while foreigners are charged ugx 10,000 which is almost 3 dollars. Before entering the mosque, you are required to leave your foot wear outside since it considered a sacred place for the supreme deity. All tourists are required to dress appropriately, that is; Women should wear loose fitting clothes covering to the wrist, ankle and cover their heads coverings are also available at the reception for those who might need them, however they should returned immediately after the visit, while Men should wear trousers, shirts with sleeves