Frontal face of a man. Andrew Lwanga's portrait

Uganda: the journey of a survivor of police brutality

12 January 2015 started like any other day for cameraman Andrew Lwanga. He did his usual 45 minute morning run and then went to Wavah Broadcasting Services (WBS)’ news room for the 7 am morning editorial meeting.

During the editorial meeting, he was assigned covering an unemployment protest by youth demanding jobs. While he was covering the protest on Namirembe Road in Kampala, Uganda, a police officer hit him with a baton on his shoulders and head, behind his ears, until he fell down. As he was falling down, the police officer also kicked him in the back near his spine with his knees. Unconscious, he was then driven to old Kampala Police Station and to be held in an overcrowded police cell. He was held overnight without treatment, released without charge the next morning and admitted to Nsambya hospital for 26 days. Two spinal cord discs were found to be sprained, affecting his bladder control.

His only crime was doing his job as a cameraman.

Since his assault, Lwanga’s life has not been the same. Because of the injuries he sustained, he underwent an operation in a South African hospital to try to repair his sprained spinal cord. He is awaiting a second operation.

Nearly two years after the assault, Lwanga looks back on his journey for recovery and justice.

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