Winners of Uganda National Journalism Awards 2021 announced

African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) has announced the winners of this year’s Uganda National Journalism Awards at a colourful cocktail party held at Mestil Hotel in Kampala.  

The awards, organised by ACME since 2014, celebrate and promote exceptional, in-depth and enterprising journalism that informs public debate and holds the powerful to account. They are open to all journalists working for media outlets in Uganda or regional media houses with wide circulation and significant audience reach in the country.

A panel of 13 expert judges from academia, public communications and the media assessed each story on the basis of reporting accuracy, writing, reporting rigour, analysis, relevance and enterprise.

Winners’ citations


This award recognizes the best agriculture writing or production on farming practice, agricultural policy, research and innovation, hunger, food and nutrition.

The winner of the agriculture reporting award is recognized for a comprehensive, enlightening and interesting story on the challenges of Uganda’s agriculture food chain. The winner is John Odeke of Transformation Magazine for the story, ‘Farmers in Teso paradise of oranges agonize over glut’.

First runner-up- Paul Murungi of Daily Monitor for the story, ‘Pearl Daary dilemma: Farmers stare at bleak future’.

Second runner-up- Stuart Twinomujuni of Urban TV for the story, ‘Fighting unemployment using banana fingers’.


This award recognizes excellence in reporting, based on one’s own initiative, scrutiny and investigation of matters of public importance.

The winning entry demonstrated that sometimes, the best investigations are not ones that uncover the unknown, but those that connect the dots, explain trends and analyze the undercurrents of societal debates. The winners are Solomon Serwanjja and Joshua Mujjunga of NBS Television for the story, ‘The ayes have it’.

1st runners-up are Daniel Lutaaya and Godfrey Badebye of NBS Television for the story, ‘The Milkshake: Inside a gang of extortionists’.

2nd runner-up is Irene Abalo Otto of Daily Monitor for the story, ‘Alleged sexual abuse of deaf girls puts officials on the spot’.


This award is given to photojournalists or video journalists who display excellence and creativity in the visual presentation of a news story, feature or subject.

The winners, for a stark and moving video feature of an empty Kampala in lockdown, are Collins Rukundo, Songa-Stone Mwesigwa and Victor Opira of Storyteld. This production is a demonstration of the power of simple and inventive visual reporting of public affairs.

The 1st runner-up is Nicholas Bamulanzeki of The Observer for a photo essay titled, ‘Ugly side of the Pearl of Africa’.

The 2nd runner-up in for the Photo and Video Journalism Award is Abubaker Lubowa of Daily Monitor for his photo series titled, ‘Drawing the lines’.

Songa Samuel Stone of Storyteld won the Photo and Video Journalism award. Photo by Zahara Abdul
Songa Samuel Stone of Storyteld won the Photo and Video Journalism award. Photo by Zahara Abdul


The Public Works and Infrastructure Reporting category is new to the Uganda National Journalism Awards this year. With a significant amount of public finance set aside for the works sector annually, it is important for journalists to consistently provide quality reporting on contracts, administration, budgeting, engineering, design and accountability.

The winner is Canary Mugume of NBS Television for reporting that provided an in-depth and informative 360-degree analysis of Uganda’s infrastructure crisis.

The 1st runners-up are Samuel Sanya and Shamim Saad of New Vision for the story, ‘Kampala flyover construction: Project expanded, to take longer’.

The 2nd runner-up in this category is Simon Ssemazzi of Urban TV for the story, ‘Uganda gets first airbus’.


This category recognizes stories that provide relevant context, background and analysis of the creative arts. This is an important Award because the time and space dedicated to arts reporting in Uganda is on the decline although the arts industry grows year-on-year. We encourage more journalists and media managers to interest themselves in covering the exciting and impactful work of creative artists throughout Uganda.

The winner of the arts reporting award is heralded for using his years of reporting on creative arts and his storytelling prowess to present an in-depth, interesting and comprehensive story of the impact of Covid-19 on Uganda’s creative economy. The winner is Frank Walusimbi of NTV Uganda for the story, ‘The impact of Covid-19 on the arts’.

The first runners-up are Daniel Lutaaya and Thomas Kitimbo of NBS Television for the story, ‘Party after party in the lockdown’.

The second runner-up, for the story, ‘Arts and politics’, is Joseph Sabiti of NBS Television.


The data journalism award is given to exemplary data-driven investigations and reports. It focuses on the effectiveness of the use of data to tell a story, data presentation, statistical analysis, interpretation and visualization.

The winner of this award is recognized for excellently analyzing and explaining the impact of the ongoing pandemic on Uganda’s electoral system. Using data and sound investigative techniques, it demonstrated how public finance, politics and governance were affected by Covid-19. The winner is Nobert Atukunda of Daily Monitor for the story, ‘Covid data contradicts EC campaign freeze campaigns’.

The 1st runners-up for the data journalism award are Jonan Tusingwire and Felix Basiime of InfoNile. Felix Basiime, an experienced and much-loved journalist and mentor, passed away after a short illness this year. May his soul rest in peace. Jonan and Felix win the 1st runner-up award for the story, ‘Karangura: Caught between the dual dangers of Covid-19 and a water crisis’.

An honorable mention for this category is given to Blanshe Musinguzi and Christopher Kisekka of Uganda Radio Network for the story ‘Between indecisiveness and thumbprint lies’.


This award is given for the skillful illumination of complex information in interesting, entertaining and enlightening ways. Entries received may be comics, maps, charts, diagrams, videos or cartoons. Only a handful of entries were submitted for competition and we strongly urge creatives in Uganda media houses to take advantage of this award to showcase their best work.

The winner of the News Illustration Award is Walter Mwesigye of NTV Uganda for illustrating, through video, the devastating impact of floods in Kasese on Kilembe Hospital.


This award recognizing reporting of politics and power that informs and engages audiences.

With every media house reporting on the campaign season, political jostling and fast-changing power dynamics, in 2020 it was difficult to separate the noise from the news. One story managed to rise above the fray by telling an objective story of politics and power through the use of a good range of sources and strong explanatory journalism. The winners of the Political Reporting Award are Paul Kayonga and Godfrey Badebye of NBS Television for the story, ‘The NUP Dilemma’.

The 1st runner-up is Paul Kayonga of NBS Television for the story, ‘Gang of 7’.

The 2nd runner-up is Benard Yiga of Uganda Broadcasting Corporation for the story, ‘The impact of Kyagulanyi and the People Power wave on Uganda’s politics’.


The energy and extractives reporting award is given to stories that enhance understanding of Uganda’s energy and natural resources sectors.

The winner of the Energy and Extractives Reporting Award is a story that masterfully illustrated the nexus of natural resource extraction, environment and land and governance. With clear storytelling and strong sourcing, it presented the challenges and opportunities that Uganda’s oil resource presents for the current and future generations. The winner is Gerald Tenywa of New Vision for the story ‘Concerns raised over the crude oil pipeline’.

The 1st runner-up is Dennis Sigoa of Uganda Broadcasting Corporation for the story, ‘Mwelo Rock land acquisition saga’.

The 2nd runners-up for the Energy and Extractives Reporting Award are Lydia Nabakoza, Sswaliki Ssali and Hassan Wasswa of NBS Television for the story, ‘The rich but poor Kilembe mines’.


This award is for exemplary storytelling that presents, breaks down or analyses complex public affairs issues. Winning stories in this category were judged on the journalists’ understating of issues, clarity in writing and presentation, and factfulness.

The winner of the Explanatory Reporting Award is heralded for his first-rate analysis of a crisis that hit the center of learning excellence in Uganda. The winner is Canary Mugume of NBS Television for the story, ‘Ivory Tower in flames: What happened that day’.

The 1st runner-up award goes to Nobert Atukunda and Isaac Mufumba of Daily Monitor for the story, ‘Money spent in the name of coronavirus’.

The 2nd runner-up award goes to Dennis Sigoa of Uganda Broadcasting Corporation for the story, ‘Uganda’s iconic buildings, sites and monuments under threat’.


This award goes to a journalist or journalists who cover sports with originality. It recognizes reporting that brings sporting occasions and events to life with creativity, and stories that tell the unreported concerns of the sports fraternity.

The winner of the Sports Reporting Award gave a face and voice to an experience of hundreds of athletes across Uganda. The story demonstrated the tension between sporting ambition and retrogressive cultural norms about women. It was excellently sourced, well-crafted and engaging. The winner is Olivia Nakate of Urban TV for the story, ‘Female athletes and menstruation: The unspoken battle’.

The 1st runner-up is Baker Lwesabula of BBS Terefayina for the story, ‘Omuzibe azannya ebikonde’.

The 2nd runner-up is Solomon Ssaka of NBS Television for the story, ‘Wonder Kid’.


The Education Reporting Award recognizes reporting that makes an exceptional contribution to public awareness and understanding of issues around education policy, research, learning outcomes, teaching practices, finance and innovation in Uganda. 

The winning story in this category presented, through a well-researched, well-sourced and engaging storytelling, one of the most pressing issues of the past two years. For the story, ‘Covid-19 complicates education’, the winner of this Award is Isaac Khisa of The Independent.

The 1st runner-up is Culton Scovia Nakamya of BBS Terefayina for the story, ‘Okusoma mu muggalo’.

The 2nd runner-up award goes to Damali Mukhaye of Daily Monitor for a series of investigations on the Makerere gowns crisis.


This award recognizes a single story or a series of stories told in creative narrative style, using techniques such as character development, use of dialogue, visualization and sense of place. 

The winner of this category told a story of trauma and violence with pathos that can only come from lived experience. Careful consideration was given to the characters whose stories were told, and they were presented not merely as victims, but survivors with agency and a voice. It is a standout example of what feature writing is and can achieve. The winner of the Features Award is Irene Abalo Otto of Daily Monitor for her story series titled, ‘Scars of the LRA war’.

The 1st runner-up is Culton Scovia Nakamya of BBS Terefayina for the story, ‘Underrepresentation: What has changed about disability and politics’.

The 2nd runner-up in the features category is Kalungi Kabuye of New Vision for the story, ‘Covid-19 lockdown: Will the slay generation survive?’


The Health Reporting Award is given to distinguished reporting on a wide range of issues including public health, medical research, the business of healthcare, disease and health ethics. This category attracted some of the highest-scoring entries in the entire competition – a testament to the growing interest and excellence in health sciences reporting.

The winning story in the Health Reporting category will be remembered by many as one that demonstrated the reporter’s resilience and courage to illustrate, through his own experience, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The winners are Daniel Lutaaya and Godfrey Badebye of NBS Television for the story, ’15 days with Covid’.

Two entries also tied for the 1st runner-up award. ‘Preeclampsia: The silent but dangerous women and neonatal killer’ by Michael Wambi of Uganda Radio Network and ‘Blood shortage’ by Agnes Kyotalengerire and Ritah Mukasa of New Vision.

Two entries tied for the 2nd runner-up award. ‘Save births amidst Covid-19: Celebrating midwives’ by Benard Yiga of Uganda Broadcasting Corporation; and ‘Postpartum hemorrhage, leading cause of maternal mortality’ by David Mafabi of The PML Daily.


Judging of the Justice, law and Order Reporting Award was based on journalism that examines or illuminates one or a range of issues related to the court system, human rights and the rule of law, police and prisons.

The winning entry in this category used the story of one girl to shed light on a persistent evil in Uganda. While the topic of the report is well-known, this entry stood out for linking the experience of victims of crime to the challenge of access to justice. The story was told with compassion for its main subject, and clearly outline the regulatory changes necessary to create a better country for the youth of Uganda. The winner is Jamila Mulindwa of NBS Television for the story ‘Obuliisa maanyi e Rukungiri’.

The 1st runner-up, for the story, ‘How Covid-19 affected women in Uganda’, is Lillian Namusoke Magezi of New Vision.

The 2nd runners-up in the Justice, Law and Order Reporting category are Carol Kasujja, Joseph Makumbi and Michael Odeng of New Vision for the story series on a city pastor and a baby swapping scandal.


The Local Reporting Award recognizes the work of reporters based outside of Kampala who provide a clear understanding of events and issues of importance to their locality. It honors reporters who demonstrate excellence and versatility in covering local issues for a local, regional or national audience.

The subject of the winning entry rose to prominence because of a single picture shared across social media. Many told her story, but only a few attempted to follow what happened next. This entry is a good example of the purpose and power of Day Two journalism and demonstrates why a curious mind is important for any good journalist. The winner is John Dibaba of Radio Pacis for the story, ‘How the Nurse of the Year 2020 rose to the limelight and what happened next’.

Tied for the 1st runner-up award are Herbert Kamoga of NTV Uganda for the story, ‘Domestic violence: Nakeseke mother of 7 sleeping in the cold with her children’; and John Okot and Jesse Muto of Northern Uganda Media Club for the story, ‘Gulu’s eco-entrepreneurs melt plastic waste into low-cost face shields’.

The 2nd runner-up is Sabir Musa of Radio Pacis for the story, ‘The impact of rock blasting activity by Dott Services on the community in Oluko’.


The National News Reporting Award is granted to stories that illuminate and explain issues of national concern through powerful explanation, sourcing, analysis and storytelling. Two Awards are given in this category – one for broadcast and one for print and online stories.

The winner of the National New (Broadcast) Award is Samuel Ssenono of Uganda Broadcasting Corporation for going back in time to explain how Covid-19 spread through Uganda, who was most affected and what government did – or did not do – to contain the outbreak of the pandemic. The winning story is titled, ‘Detecting Uganda’s first Covid-19 case’.

The 1st runner-up is Culton Scovia Nakamya of BBS Terefayina for the story, ‘Porous borders: Can Uganda survive the Covid-19 pandemic’.

Tied in third place are Benjamin Jumbe of KFM for his series of reports on defilement, and Daniel Lutaaya and Godfrey Badebye of NBS Television for the story, ‘The hands that fed us’.


The winning entry looked at a single event from multiple angles, providing readers with clarity in the midst of great confusion, and suggestions for future solutions. The winners are Carol Kasujja and Umar Nsubuga of New Vision for the story, ‘MAK fire: Why police should not burn alone’.

The 1st runner-up is Gerald Tenywa of New Vision for the story, ‘Lake Victoria under threat as key city drainage wetland is invaded’.

The 2nd runner-up of the National News (Print) Award is Franklin Ezaruku Draku of Daily Monitor for the story, ‘Covid-19 promises: What went wrong with implementation’.


This award is given to a story or series of stories on business, economics, public or private finance in Uganda that demonstrate excellence, creativity and journalistic merit.

The winning story in this category was well-sourced, detailed and provided the type of explanatory reporting that audiences desire to understand the vagaries of Uganda’s economy. The winner is Paul Murungi of Daily Monitor for the story that asked: ‘What can Uganda do with her milk surplus?’

Sharing the 1st runner-up award are Patricia Akankwatsa of The Independent for the story, ‘Coronavirus catastrophe’, and Robert Atuhairwe of New Vision for the story, ‘Oil industry: FID delay hits local companies’.

The 2nd runners-up in this category are Lydia Nabakooza, Sswaliki Ssali and Hassan Wasswa of NBS Television for the story, ‘The Kenya-Uganda trade war’.


The Environment Reporting award recognizes a story or a series of stories that have the potential to make a significant contribution to public awareness and understanding of environmental issues. 

The winning entry in the environment reporting category was a clear standout in 2020. The reporter was commended by the panel of judges for his tenacity and persistence in reporting on a single issue through the year in order to highlight a critical issue of our times. This story series demonstrated the reporter’s depth of knowledge, curiosity and passion to tell under-reported environmental issues with engaging storytelling. The winner is Gerald Tenywa of New Vision for his ‘Save Bugoma Forest’ story series.

The 1st runner-up award is Franklin Ezaruku Draku of Daily Monitor for a series of in-depth stories that explained the nature and impact of pollution in Lake Victoria

The 2nd runner-up award for environment reporting goes to Henry Okurut of Uganda Broadcasting Corporation for the story ‘Homeless creatures: UWA stuck with 1,000 wild birds at Parliament’.

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