Former WBS TV journalist Andrew Lwanga has been awarded 268 million Shillings as compensation for the injuries he sustained when he was assaulted by the former Old Kampala District Police Commander Joram Mwesigye.
The compensation covers 18 million Shillings as special damages and 250 million Shillings as general damages to cover the cost of medical care and the food he received while on treatment after the attack.
Lwanga was assaulted on January 12, 2015, along Namirembe road in Kampala when he and other journalists had gone to cover a demonstration by the unemployed youths. The group under the National Association of the Unemployed had decided to walk to Naguru police headquarters to petition the then Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kale Kayihura over what they termed as “unlawful arrests and harassment by police.”
He sustained head, chest and nerve injuries which affected his ability to walk. Doctors who examined Lwanga told the court earlier that he suffered permanent neurological damages that will likely impact on his future ability to work. Lwanga only got back to employment recently after years of seeking treatment both from within the country and abroad.
In 2017, Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court convicted Mwesigye on charges of assault and occasioning actual bodily harm. In her ruling, presiding magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu fined Mwesigye Shillings one million and ordered him to pay five million Shillings to the assaulted journalist in 30 days or face a one-year jail sentence.
But Lwanga appealed against the sentence and described the process as a mockery of justice. Now High court Judge Lydia Mugambe Ssali has granted him compensation which will also attract a 15 percent interest per year until full payment is made. She also ordered that the Inspector General of Police conduct an investigation on ASP Joram Mwesigye and punish him accordingly.
The judge says other police officers that Mwesigye worked with should be punished if investigations find them guilty too.