2015 winners and finalists

The following are the profiles of winners of the Uganda National Journalism Awards 2015. The Uganda National Journalism Awards are a programme of the African Centre for Media Excellence.

Follow the links to read their stories and submissions of all the category finalists.


Agriculture reporting (Click to view all finalists in this category)

Winner – Malnutrition in Western Uganda by Abubaker Tyaba Ssettumba, NBS Television

Abubaker Tyaba 1Abubakar Tyaba Ssettumba has more than nine years of experience as a journalist. He started his career working in an independent production house and in February 2009, he joined NBS Television where he has risen to the rank of News Editor. Previously Mr Tyaba headed the health and agriculture desks at NBS TV where he reported numerous stories on health, land and environment. He is currently part of a team of senior journalists and teachers implementing a five-year project called ‘Supporting informed healthcare choices in low income countries’ together with Makerere University and Johns Hopkins University.

The story – Malnutrition is one of the leading public health concerns in Uganda. The Western Uganda region is largely considered the country’s food basket, making the high levels of malnutrition there a striking anomaly. The three-part series explored the malnutrition problem and how the region is grappling with associated challenges.

The first episode garnered significant attention and led to much discussion and debate online. Shortly after the second episode aired, a leading Ugandan nutritionist approached NBS TV and offered to further explain the problem and discuss possible government interventions. He was hosted during a news bulletin, just after the third and last episode was broadcast. This increased audience engagement on critical, persistent issues on agriculture and nutrition.

Arts and culture (Click to view all finalists in this category)

Winner – Cherotich did not have to die by Caroline Ariba, New Vision

Caroline Ariba is a graduate of Development Studies from Makerere University. While still a student, she developed a passion for community issues and the need to amplify the voices of those on the margins of society. She started her career in journalism by sending short stories to New Vision and with every story published, came a greater desire to carry on.

The winning story is of the death of a young woman in Kween district in Northeastern Uganda who was forcefully mutilated while in labour by a traditional birth attendant. It explores the choices of those who continue to practice female genital mutilation and details the challenges of many who are speaking out.

Business, finance and economy (Click to view all finalists in this category)

Winner – Government stops guaranteeing bank loans by John Semakula and John Masaba, New Vision

John SemakulaJohn Semakula and John Masaba are senior journalists at New Vision.

The story: After the government payroll was decentralized at the beginning of the 2014/15 financial year, government stopped guaranteeing public officers who were seeking salary loans. As a result, financial institutions raised the bar on who could access loans by demanding for security, like land titles, from civil servants. For many in the public sector this was a surprise. Through all this, the government was silent. Saturday Vision reporters, John Masaba and John Semakula, investigated the matter to uncover the winners, losers and key policy drivers.

Following the publication of the story, government went public with its assessment of the situation, going even as far as allowing Chief Administrative Officers permission to guarantee public officers who wanted salary loans.

Data journalism (Click to view all finalists in this category)

Winner – Hot district that will determine winner of the 2016 presidential elections by John Semakula, New Vision

John Semakula is a senior journalist working with the weekend newspapers at New Vision. He graduated with a degree in journalism of Uganda Christian University, Mukono in 2006. His first job in journalism was as a freelance reporter for Daily Monitor and later for New Vision. In 2010 he became a full-time staff writer for New Vision.

Mr Semakula’s winning story interrogated the partial data of the 2014 national census released by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics. It went beyond the numbers to investigate how population distribution could be used to predict the winner of the 2016 presidential election and to trace voting patterns. It was only one of a handful of news reports in 2014 that analysed the census data to understand Uganda’s current political climate and future voting trends.

Editorial cartooning

Winner – Amama Mbabazi, the Secretly General by Chrisogon Atukwasize, Daily Monitor

Chrisogon Atukwasize ‘Ogon’, as he is popularly known, is a full-time cartoonist and illustrator, published in several newspapers since 2013. He now works with Daily Monitor and Ennyanda newspapers, subsidiaries of Monitor Publications Ltd. Ogon holds a Bachelors Degree in Industrial and Fine Arts from the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts, Makerere University where he graduated as an Illustration major in January 2012. He previously worked at MK Publishers Ltd, Longman Publishers, Mango Tree Uganda as an Illustrator and at The Kampala Sun as the editorial cartoonist under the penname ‘Atuk’.

The cartoon – One of the biggest political stories of 2014 was the sacking of former Prime Minister of Uganda, Amama Mbabazi. Mbabazi appeared to be very unfazed by the move and he stunned people by the blasé way he responded to questions on his sacking. Who was this man? Could he be really that calm in the midst of the storm? Was it an act or was the public making a mountain out of a molehill? Importantly, what did his former boss think?

With no clear answers, call in the funny man.

Winning entry - Amama Mbabazi, The Secretly General

Energy, oil, gas and mining (Click to view all finalists in this category)

Winner – Oil and the environment: Policies, players and implementation challenges by Edward Ssekika, The Observer

Part 1 ,Part 2 ,Part 3

Edward SsekikaMr Ssekika is a Ugandan journalist with eight years experience in media. Currently, he works with The Observer newspaper where he primarily reports on extractive industries and politics. In the last four years Ssekika has won several fellowships and several journalism awards. In 2013, he won the coveted, United Nations Post 2015 Development Journalism Awards for reporting on development issues. He was nominated for the David Astor Awards that honors excellence in journalism in Africa. He has also won the European Union Development Journalism Award, 2013 and last year he won first place in the political reporting category of the Uganda National Journalism Awards.

In the course of his investigation, the reporter came across the evidence of authorized oil waste disposal. Though, scientists said it was not toxic, locals feared that it could be toxic. He set out to investigate the conflict between residents burdened with the waste and the National Environment Management Agency (NEMA) that is tasked with closely monitoring the disposal of waste. What came to light were the enormous manpower, financial and logistical challenges that NEMA faces and the immediate need for government intervention to save Uganda from an oil-related environmental catastrophe.

Environment reporting (Click to view all finalists in this category)

Winner – NEMA’s latest mess by Ronald Musoke, The Independent

Ronald MusokeRonald Musoke is a 33-year-old Ugandan journalist who has covered environment, health, business, oil and gas, politics and sports for the past seven years. Over the past two years he has worked for The Independent magazine, a politics and business-oriented publication.

Prior to writing this story, several media houses in Kampala had covered the destruction of a strategically located wetland near Kampala city with little success of eliciting a response from the government and other agencies mandated with securing the environment. This story does not only concentrate on the few acres of the wetland left, it tries to go beyond the obvious and attempts to show its significance to the local ecology and its implications for the wider geography of the area, including Kampala city’s water sector and to a smaller extent the transport sector with a little focus on Jinja Road, the gateway to Kenya.

Explanatory reporting (Click to view all finalists in this category)

Winner – Sh7,000 per pupil is more than enough, say private schools by Andrew Masinde, New Vision

In 2010, Mr Masinde was recruited as an office messenger at New Vision. Not content with this assignment and curious about the reporters whom he served, Masinde started asking questions about journalism and offering story ideas that concerned the people with whom he lived and worked every day. Today he is a staff writer on the features desk.

Mr Masinde’s winning story set out to explain the rationale behind government’s decision to lower the capitation grants for schools under the Universal Primary Education programme. By investigating the story through the lens of private school management, the reporter was able to test well-worn arguments about the underfunding of public schools and to explore government’s financial policy on primary education.

Features (Click to view all finalists in this category)

**Winner – Eaten alive by Frank Walusimbi, NTV Uganda (Part 1, Part 2)

Mr Walusimbi is a graduate of mass communication from Uganda Christian University, Mukono. He started his career in journalism as a radio presenter at Green Channel FM (Radio Uganda) and a freelance writer for Sunday Vision. In February 2005 he was recruited to work for Daily Monitor but he did not stay there long. A year later he was hired as one of the pioneer staff of NTV Uganda where he has worked as a reporter, news anchor and show host.
In 2005 Walusimbi won the Golden Pen Award as the Arts and Culture Journalist of the Year.

Mr Walusimbi’s story is an intriguing investigation that sheds light on the mysterious and murky world of cannibalism in Rakai district.

Health reporting (Click to view all finalists in this category)

Winner – The burden of neglected tropical diseases by Bamuturaki Musinguzi, Daily Monitor

MusinguziMr Musinguzi is a Ugandan journalist with experience in news reporting with various local and international media houses based in Kampala. Currently, he is a Special Correspondent with The EastAfrican and he also writes for Daily Monitor, newspapers both published by the Nation Media Group. Musinguzi primarily writes feature stories on education, health, agriculture, arts and culture, business and African history.

This 13-piece story series set out to investigate whether Uganda will be able to meet its goal of eliminating neglected tropical diseases (NTD) as a public health problem by 2020. The Government of Uganda developed the ‘National Master Plan for Neglected Tropical Diseases Programme 2013-2017’ focused on scaling up the NTD control efforts with the eventual aim of achieving prevention, control, elimination and or eradication of these diseases in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) roadmap for elimination of NTDs in the world by 2020.

Investigative reporting (Click for link to all category finalists)

Winner – Entebbe Airport yellow fever scam exposed by Edris Kiggundu, The Observer

Mr Kiggundu is the Political Editor of The Observer newspaper. He joined The Observer in March 2005 as a fresh graduate from Makerere University. During his time there he has risen from a freelance reporter to a senior editor.
Kiggundu is a graduate of Sociology and Political Science from Makerere University. He is also an Edward R. Murrow Fellow at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA, and a Research Associate with the Global Development Network (GDN), a network of international researchers.

This article is about a racket of workers at Entebbe International Airport that is minting millions of shillings daily from unsuspecting travellers to China by extorting money from them to process a yellow fever vaccination certificate. After the story was published, Dr James Eyul, the administrator of Kazuri Medical, which is contracted by the Civil Aviation Authority to provide medical services at the airport got back to The Observer first to thank the paper for exposing the racket and secondly to announce that stringent measures had been put in place to ensure that the medical facility is not used by conmen.

Justice, law and order (Click to view all finalists in this category)

Winner – Whose baby? by Joan Akello, The Independent

Joan AkelloIn October 2012, Ms Akello graduated with Bachelors of Arts in Mass Communication from Uganda Christian University, Mukono. She has worked at The Independent magazine as a reporter since 2012. In 2013, Akello was nominated and emerged among the top ten finalists for the David Astor Journalism Award. In the same year, she was given the Court Reporting Human Rights Award by Legal Brains Trust Uganda in conjunction with Uganda Court Reporters Association.

In the last two years, Akello has covered business, energy, human rights, human interest issues, politics and general news. She has also undertaken different trainings to effectively report on the stock market, finance and economy and the extractive industries.

The story – One woman’s search for her baby unveils several issues in gathering evidence, delays in delivering justice and conflict resolution. This is one of the many stories that highlight frustrations of litigants and the need for competent investigators and prudent systems to enhance the delivery of justice at the right time.

Local reporting (Click for link to all category finalists)

Winner – Remembering NRM’s massacre at Namukora by Jimmy Kwo, Daily Monitor

Jimmy KwoJimmy Katura Wokorach-Oboi (penname Jimmy Kwo) is a reporter with Daily Monitor and 102 Mega FM, a radio station in Gulu. Mr Wokorach-Oboi is largely a self-taught journalist o for more than a decade has written for a number of media outlets like New Vision, Daily Monitor, Mega FM and Rupiny newspaper.

The story – The 20-year insurgency in northern Uganda was traumatic, complex and multilayered. It was not just about the various rebel groups, like the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army, and their infliction of great suffering on local people. In the shadows, spoken about only in whispers were numerous claims of atrocities committed by the National Resistance Army (later the Uganda People’s Defense Force). In 2014 President Yoweri Museveni himself admitted that the government forces did commit murderer in the region, but he did not go as far as to assign specific blame.

This story tells the tale of a terrible crime committed by government forces in Namokora, the sub-county in Kitgum district where former Ugandan president, General Tito Okello Lutwa, was born. To date the exact number of people who died in the army invasion is unknown, but this report memorialized the few whose deaths are confirmed. It also highlights the concerns of the local population about the potential effects of the ‘massacre’.

Recently, the National Memory and Peace Documentation Centre based in Kitgum archived this article as part of its historical documentation about the war in northern Uganda.

Multimedia journalism (Click for link to the category finalists)

Winner – MDG debate: Whose Millennium Development Goals? by Pascal Kwesiga, Campus Times

Pascal Kwesiga started out as a reporter at Radio Hoima 86.8 FM after finishing his final year examinations for a National Diploma in Journalism at Uganda Rural Development Training Institute in Kagadi, Kibaale district in 2008. He worked as a volunteer reporter for Radio Hoima for about five months before moving to Spice FM. In 2010 Kwesiga left Hoima to pursue a journalism degree in Kampala. Since then he has been appointed a staff reporter at New Vision.

This story set out to examine Uganda’s performance on all the eight goals, to gauge people’s understanding of MDGs, what the people think has been done to achieve MDGs, their personal and the issues that ought to shape the post 2015 MDG development framework.

National news (broadcast) (Click for link to the category finalists)

Winner – Kampala’s ticking time bomb by Solomon Serwanja, NTV Uganda

Solomon SserwanjaMr Serwanja is a news reporter and anchor with NTV Uganda with a strong bias towards investigative reporting, political reporting and news analysis. He has worked with NTV Uganda for three years now. Prior to joining NTV Uganda, Serwanja was a reporter at Uganda Broadcasting Corporation Television. He also did a small stint as a freelance reporter with New Vision.

His winning story is about the Mogas Uganda Limited fuel reserve station located in the heart of a residential area, just opposite Kyambogo University, Kampala. It explores the possible risks and dangers of situating a fuel reserve worth four million liters in the middle of a large population. The story also investigates the authorities behind the sanctioning of dangerous facilities such as these in residential areas and questions government and city policies on public safety.

Solomon Serwanja’s story was debated in the Parliament of Uganda. It resulted in the creation of a Ministry of Energy-sanctioned committee to investigate planning and location of fuel reserves throughout the country.

National news (print) (Click for link to the category finalists)

Winner – Underfunding hits free primary education by Pascal Kwesiga, New Vision

Pascal Kwesiga started out as a reporter at Radio Hoima 86.8 FM after finishing his final year examinations for a National Diploma in Journalism at Uganda Rural Development Training Institute in Kagadi, Kibaale district in 2008. In 2010 Kwesiga left Hoima to pursue a journalism degree in Kampala. Since then he has been appointed a staff reporter at New Vision.

The story – The article looks at the government’s funding of Universal Primary Education. It not only details the existing challenges of underfunding, but also speaks to the frustration of school heads about remittance delays and systemic management problems.

Photojournalism (Click for link to the category finalists)

Winner – The male circumcision ceremony by Daniel Edyegu, New Vision

Daniel Edyegu Enwaku is a stringer with New Vision based at the paper’s Mbale bureau in wastern Uganda. He primarily writes about the environment, social issues, health and business. Edyegu is a passionate photographer.

PHOTO STORY – The launch of the male circumcision season
This story includes two photos
1. Bamasaaba boys dancing at Mutoto cultural centre during the launch of the traditional male circumcision ceremony (imbalu) on 19 August 2014.
2. A mumasaaba boy stands firm before being circumcised during the launch of the traditional male circumcision season at Mutoto cultural grounds in Mbale.

Circumcision among Bamasaaba is a rite of passage from boyhood to manhood. The boys photographed were part of the launch of the traditional circumcision season at Mutoto cultural grounds in Mbale district, eastern Uganda.

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Political reporting (Click to view all finalists in this category)

Winner – Amama Mbabazi vs. President Museveni: The inside story by Charles Mwanguhya Mpagi, Daily Monitor

Charles Mwanguhya MpagiFor more than a decade, Charles Mwanguhya Mpagi worked as a political reporter and talk show host with Daily Monitor and its sister station, KFM. Prior to that he worked as a reporter and anchor at Voice of Toro in Fort Portal.

The story of Amama Mbabazi in 2014 came to be defined by the character of an intelligence brief titled ‘India’. This article digs into the origins of the intelligence report, the drama surrounding candidates to succeed President Museveni and the rising profile of Mbabazi – codename: India.

Sports reporting (Click to view all finalists in this category)

Winner – Investigating the impact of sports betting on Arua residents by Hafiz Bakhit, Radio Pacis

Hafiz BakhitHafiz is a graduate of social sciences from Makerere University. He joined the journalism profession in 2007 through a mentoring programme organised by Radio Pacis, the most influential radio station in the West Nile. In 2008 Hafiz was selected among the few successful trainees and given contract as reporter and newscaster. The same year he was assigned an additional responsibility of News Editor.

Hafiz was among the finalists of the first Uganda National Journalism Awards in the environmental reporting category and he is a fellow of the African Centre for Media Excellence Enhanced Media Reporting on Transparency and Accountability programme.

His winning story is about the impact of betting on sports with focus on local sports in Uganda. It highlighted the challenges around rise and management of sports betting and subsequent dwindling interest in local sports.

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