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Cartoonist Jimmy ‘Spire’ wins human rights accolade

Media personality Jimmy ‘Spire’ Ssentongo last evening won an award as the national human rights defender of the year.

Ssentogo posing with his award. Besides him is the Iganga District Resident Judge, Justice David Batema

Among the hundreds of nominees that were up for the prize, he stood out for his pothole and health exhibition social media campaigns, which were vital in revealing some of the challenges Ugandans go through on a daily basis as they try to access health services amidst a poor road network.

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He was also recognised for his satirical cartoons published by the Observer Newspaper, which highlighted some gross human rights cases, such as police beating up journalists and ordinary people.

While speaking to the media after being declared the winner, Ssentongo said that there is a need to reduce the powers of the executive, who he said are responsible for most human rights violations in the country.

I am so grateful for being recognised for the little I have done to fight against human rights violations in the country. There is so much power in the executive and I think the ultimate solution is to reduce its powers because it is responsible for much of the human rights violations taking place today,” he said.

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He also cautioned human rights activists to be mindful of the kind of environment in which they are working, as it would help them know how to do their work effectively and thus avoid head-on collisions with the state.

Ssentongo was awarded during an event organised by the National Human Rights Defenders Coalition of Uganda (NHRC-U) in Jinja City to commemorate International Human Rights Defenders Day.

The organisation also awarded other human rights defenders from different regions who stood out for their contribution to the fight against human rights violations. In eastern Uganda, Peter Ogik stood out, William Okabo Achol stood out in northern Uganda, Joy Kyalimpa stood out in western Uganda, and Winfred Mugambwa stood out in the central region.

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