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Evolution of Uganda’s districts

By The Independent Team 

1926: Significant border adjustments made between Uganda and neighbouring countries.

1945: Uganda divided into four provinces of Buganda, Eastern, Northern and Western. The provinces were sub-divided into districts.


1960: The status of provinces changed to regions, with no administrative functions. Districts became the primary divisions.

1962: Uganda became independent on October 9. Buganda, Bunyoro, Tooro and Ankole became kingdoms. Areas with district status were Acholi, Lango, Bombo, Bugisu, Bukedi, Busoga, Karamoja, Kigezi, Madi, Masaka, Mpigi, Mubende, Sebei, Teso and West Nile.

1966: The kingdoms were abolished after Obote abrogated the Independence Constitution and came up with another Constitution the following year. The status of Busoga changed from territory to district. Buganda Kingdom split into four districts: Bombo, Masaka, Mpigi and Mubende. Mbale became a territory created from a disputed area between Bugisu and Bukedi.

1967: Under a new Constitution, the status of kingdoms changed to districts. Mbale territory merged with Bugisu district. The capital of Bukedi moved to Tororo. The name of Bombo district changed to East Mengo and Mpigi district changed to West Mengo.

1971: Acholi district split into East Acholi and West Acholi, Karamoja divided into North Karamoja and South Karamoja. The changes brought the number of districts to 19.

1974: Uganda re-organised into 10 provinces, viz: Central, Busoga, Eastern, Karamoja, Nile, North Buganda, South Buganda, Northern, Southern and Western. Eastern comprised Bugisu, Bukedi, Sebei and Teso. The Northern Province was composed of Lango, East Acholi and some parts of West Acholi. The Nile was composed of Madi, West Nile and some parts of West Acholi. The Southern was made up of Ankole and Kigezi; while Western was made up of Bunyoro and Toro. The provincial capitals were Jinja, Kampala, Mbale, Moroto, Arua, Bombo, Gulu, Masaka, Mbarara and Fort Portal.

1980: Name of Buganda regions changed to Central. Uganda reorganised from 10 provinces into 33 districts, named after the major towns.

1990: Kalangala district split from Masaka.

1991: Kibaale split from Hoima; Kiboga split from Mubende; Kisoro split from Kabale; and Pallisa split from Tororo.

1994: Ntungamo district was carved out of Mbarara and Bushenyi districts.

1997: Five new districts are created, raising the number from 39 to 44. The new ones were: Bugiri split from Iganga, Busia from Tororo, Katakwi from Soroti, Nakasongola from Luweero and Sembabule from Masaka.

2000: Government announces the creation of 11 new districts, adding up to 56: Kamwenge was split from Kabarole; Kayunga from Mukono; Pader from Kitgum; Kyenjojo from Kabarole; Mayuge from Iganga; Sironko from Mbale; Wakiso from Mpigi; Yumbe from Arua; Kaberamaido from Soroti; Kanungu from Rukungiri and Nakapiripirit from Moroto.

2005: The government announces creation of 22 new districts, adding up to 78 districts. Many of the new districts are made of single counties.

New districts as of July 1, 2005

  1. Ibanda District, consisting of Ibanda county in Mbarara.
  2. Kabingo District, consisting of Isingiro and Bukanga counties in Mbarara.
  3. Kiruhura District, consisting of Kazo and Nyabushozi counties in Mbarara.
  4. Kaabong District, consisting of Dodoth county in Kotido.
  5. Kaliro District, consisting of Bulamogi county in Kamuli.
  6. Koboko District, consisting of Koboko county in Arua.
  7. Butaleja District, consisting of Bunyole county in Tororo.
  8. Nakaseke District, consisting of Nakaseke county in Luweero.
  9. Budaka District, consisting of Budaka county and the sub-counties of Kakoro, Kabwangasi, Kirika and Kadama in Pallisa.
  10. Amuria District, consisting of Amuria and Kapelebyong counties in Katakwi.
  11. Mityana District, consisting of Mityana and Busujju counties in Mubende.
  12. Manafwa District, consisting of Bubulo and Manjiya counties in Mbale.
  13. Amolatar District, consisting of Kyoga county in Lira.
  14. Bukwa District, consisting of Kongasis county in Kapchorwa.

New Districts as of July 1, 2006

  1. Oyam District, consisting of Oyam county in Apac
  2. Dokolo District, consisting of Dokolo county in Lira.
  3. Busiki District, consisting of Busiki county in Iganga.
  4. Abim District, consisting of Labwor county in Kotido.
  5. Bulisa District, consisting of Bulisa county in Masindi.
  6. A new district consisting of Tororo county in Tororo. The name and headquarters are yet to be decided.
  7. A new district consisting of Maracha and Terego counties in Arua. Its headquarters and name are yet to be agreed upon by local leaders.
  8. A new district consisting of Kilak and Nwoya counties in Gulu. Its headquarters and names are yet to be agreed upon by local leaders.
  9. The headquarters of each of the new districts will become a Town Council.

New Districts as of July 1, 2009

  1. Zombo district carved out of Nebbi district
  2. Amudat district carved out of Nakapiripirit district.
  3. Otuke district carved out of Lira district.
  4. Lamwo district carved out of Kitgum district.
  5. Kyegegwa district carved out of Kyenjojo district.
  6. Buikwe district carved out of Mukono district.
  7. Buyende district carved out of Kamuli district.
  8. Namayingo district carved out of Mayuge district.
  9. Luuka, district carved out of Iganga district.
  10. Kiryandongo district carved out of Masindi district.
  11. Ntoroko district carved out of Bundibugyo.
  12. Serere district carved out of Soroti district.
  13. Mukuju district carved out of the former Tororo district.
  14. Kisoko district carved out of the former Tororo district.

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