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Battered scribe Lwanga hopes to walk again

Andrew Lwanga, the WBS TV journalist who was battered by a police offer, hopes to resume work after his scheduled last operation this week.

Lwanga expressed his optimism during a visit to the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders offices (NCHRD) in Ntinda on September 16. He looked healthier and ably supported himself on crutches.

He noted that he was looking forward to his second operation and was optimistic he would come back ready to resume his journalism profession.

“Before my first surgery, I wasn’t able to sit for long and I could not support myself like this. I still feel a bit of pain in the spinal cord,” he said.

Lwanga’s life turned on its head in January last year after he was assaulted by Joram Mwesigye, the former Old Kampala police station commander (DPC). Lwanga was filming police officers arresting youth activists at Bakuli, in Kampala when Mwesigye hit him four times with an electric cable.

Andrew Lwanga (L) following court proceedings in the assault case against police officer Joram Mwesigye

The assault injured Lwanga’s spinal cord and left him a damaged man. The case is still in courts of law. For more than a year, he could not control his bowel functions and wore diapers. Doctors diagnosed his condition as posterior disc protrusions, commonly referred to as slipped disk. His healing has been a very costly process.

An injection costs Shs 110,000 at Norvik hospital. It was estimated that $55,000 was required for his full recovery. With the help of well-wishers and organisations, part of the money was collected and this covered his first operation in St Johnstone hospital, South Africa.

Lwanga is hopeful that since the first operation made him feel a lot better, he will be able to get back to work after the second one which he is to undergo this week.

“This second surgery will make me better and I will be able to do my work as I used to. Hopefully I won’t need these crutches,” said Lwanga.

Although he is optimistic about healing, the WBS journalist isn’t certain if justice will be delivered expeditiously. He says it is now coming to two years yet judgment has not been delivered.

“My case is moving at a slow pace yet I gave court a lot of evidence.”

Even after calls from civil society organizations and human rights bodies for police to stop violence against journalists, the force still tops the list of journalists’ abusers.

According to the 2015 press freedom index report published by the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-U), the police accounts for 75 per cent of abuse cases against journalists documented last year.

Of the 143 cases documented by the organisation, 107 cases against journalists were committed by the police.

Lwanga left for South Africa on Sunday and NCRHD handed him Shs 2 million as facilitation. Brenda Kugonza, the NCRHD national coordinator, also amplified Lwanga’s call for an expeditious hearing. She urged police to stop manhandling journalists because they reveal human rights abuses and are agenda setters in the country.

This post was syndicated from Breaking and latest news, analysis, comments, business, lifestyle, entertainment and sports from Uganda. Click here to read the full text on the original website.

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