Names Of Uganda's Top 20 Journalists Revealed

search geneva;”>Two tabloid scribes, a cartoonist at a mainstream newspaper and a humorous morning show radio presenter have been named as Uganda’s best journalists for the year 2011.

Uganda’s top 20 journalists have been named by East Africa’s leading investigative news website

Researchers took 27 days to compile names of independent-minded journalists whose work has shaped generations.

Research was carried out from October 13 to November 9.

The study was done to motivate the ‘roving eyes’ and inspire young generations into journalism.

“Journalists fight for the rights and welfare of millions of folks, save their own. Rarely do we appreciate their sweat and blood,” said Giles Muhame, an internationally-reputed journalist who supervised the research.

It was agreed by the mighty that this website’s reporters are not included to avoid conflict of interest and bias.

The website analysed works of reporters and editors of mainstream newspapers, radio stations, tabloids, Television Stations, Magazines and news websites.

Our team carefully scrutinised the recent works of journalists and editors for open-mindedness, vibrancy, accuracy, truthfulness and balance. Investigative human interest pieces had an added advantage. Creative editors were recognised as well as humorous presenters and cartoonists. Areas covered include politics, tourism, health, business, entertainment and sports.

1,000 respondents were interviewed orally. Researchers went further and talked to reporters, businessmen, newspaper vendors, sports fans and University students.

Below is Part 1.


Sheila Naturinda is Uganda’s best Parliamentary reporter for year 2011. During our research, she faced stiff challenge from Emmanuel Gyezaho, Isaac Imaka and Yasiin Mugerwa, all from daily Monitor. Naturinda has written widely about Parliamentary debates, giving readers an insight into the secret political bickering in NRM and opposition. She is the first female reporter to provide Ugandan online readers with the now-popular LIVE FEED updates during the famous oil Parliamentary debates last month.


Uganda’s best photographer is Edward Echwalu. His exclusive photographs have found their way in top media houses including Guardian (UK) and are usually used by Reuters News Agency. He has covered top functions including the 2010 African Union Summit in Kampala. In In his early 20s, Echwalu is the only journalist in the country whose photographs tell stories better than words. In recognition of his work, Echwalu was a few years ago invited to inspire Makerere University Mass Communication “freshers.” He is a graduate of the same University. At the time he left campus several media houses were stampeding for his services. Congratulations Echwalu.


Uganda’s most humorous radio presenter is Capital Fm’s Ramesh. Our research shows over 60% of Uganda Capital radio listeners are attracted by Ramesh for his early morning humour. Alongside Ramesh, the Big Breakfast show is hosted by Alan and Jackie Lumbasi.


The best cartoonist is New Vision’s Mr. Ras. In his late 30s, Mr Ras managed to dominate this area for over a decade. Mr Ras has mastered the art of exposing ironies in our society using graphical illustrations. Mr Ras stands out from the rest for making big points and critiquing society using the humble power of a cartoon. The message embedded in his cartoons is comprehensible and can be retained in one’s memory for decades. Mr Ras takes time to ensure his cartoons are instantly understandable and also allows for artistic license with embellishing certain characteristics. What Mr Ras communicates using cartoons wouldn’t necessarily fly or come across in the written word. He is not only an entertainer but a powerful communicator.


Observer’s Shifa Mwesigye takes this slot for her sacrifice during this year’s Presidential campaigns. Mwesigye left her lovely twins with a house maid in Kampala to join President Yoweri Museveni’s convoy for news. “As I searched for a place to sleep, I imagined Jojo searching around for my bust, half asleep, tossing and turning. He was probably looking for a mouth to place his little foot in before he throws a tantrum, sits in bed and screams for attention. When it is not forthcoming, he puts his head down, and slips back into sleep,” recounts Shifa. “Chan, my little girl, usually kicks her blanket, sucks on her tongue and enjoys her sleep. I imagined what I would be doing, ignoring them, so they could learn that I cannot be around every time they need me. They have had to live…” For enduring such gruelling pain till end of campaigns, Shifa, you are the best female journalist for the year 2011.


Red Pepper’s Claude Muhigirwa tied with Daily Monitor guru Edgar Batte. Research found out that Muhigirwa’s gossip stories are always well-researched and not exaggerated. Others found his features informative, truthful and well-balanced. Batte is credited for his skilful command of English in his articles. In his writing, Batte shows a rare sense of responsibility and accuracy.


New Vision’s Ibrahim Kasiita maintains a clear lead. Our research discovered the better part of business readers have considerable trust in Kasita’s work. He has extensively covered oil and Uganda’s general economy. His articles are hugely informative and well-researched. His exhaustive reports on tax disputes between government and oil companies leave no shed of doubt he is the country’s best business writer. His story “Oil Rigs Could Cost Uganda” published on September 21 in New Vision proves how investigative Kasiita is.


Morris Mugisha of NTV is the best. His voice is bold and clear. He has made NTV English news hour very popular in the country. Research also shows most advertisers targeting women prefer Mugisha’s sound bite.


Uganda’s best columnist is Red Pepper’s Arinaitwe Rugyendo. He faced a tough competition from Independent’s Andrew Mwenda. However, Rugyendo was the respondents’ favourite for being balanced, articulate and clear in his articles. Rugyendo was the public’s darling for his extensive and non-partisan research and at sometimes provocative. “It’s very hard to determine which side of the fence Rugyendo falls unlike other columnists who exhibit persistent narrow-mindedness,” a respondent said.


Despite facing fire for abusing his Column in Sunday Vision to attacks sports personalities, Aldrine Nsubuga has the largest number of readers. Amusingly, respondents said they admired his boldness and sensationalism! Nsubuga boasts of a clear command of English language which his rivals can hardly match. Alan Ssekamate was trailing.


Red Pepper news editor Ben Byarabaha oversees the most-independent newsroom in the country. His reporters confided in us that as long as the story is authentic, Byarabaha will roll it to press, no matter the consequences. He maintains a cordial relationship with his reporters and coordinates their investigations. “The air is the newsroom is filled with love whenever Ben is around. He cracks jokes but is serious when it’s time for business,” a reporter told our researchers. Besides, Byarabaha last year broke the story of the sale of Entebbe Airport to a filthy rich minister. Daily Monitor’s Alex Atuhaire was as well acknowledged as a friendly and independent-minded editor.

More names coming next Friday


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