Ugandan academic, cartoonist, and human rights defender, Jimmy Spire Ssentongo is the recipient of the 2024 EU Human Rights Defenders Award. Dr. Spire Ssentongo was recognized for having used social media to highlight issues of accountability.

The Award, which is now in its 13th year, is given to a human rights defender who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of human rights in their community over the past twelve months.

Ssentongo is one of the brains behind the Agora discourse which has used social media to expose corruption and maladministration in government. He together with fellow activists like Agather Atuhaire in March had an” exhibition” on parliament.

Their expose of corruption in Uganda’s Parliament raised eyebrows following documents revealing how the Speaker of Parliament, Annet Anita Among had been dishing out huge sums of public money to cronies. They have run “exhibitions” of potholes in Kampala and the state of health services in Uganda.

Dr. Ssentongo has also used satire through his cartoons to push for change and better service delivery. He has drawn critical cartoons of some public figures including President Yoweri Museveni, his son Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, and others.

“He uses satire to make the reader laugh as they ponder the message behind the drawings. His cartoons tend to annoy his victims, yet to him, that is a triumph. He uses humor as a powerful tool for balance of power,” a commentator said.

Ssentongo is an Associate Professor of Ethics and Identity Studies at Uganda Martyrs University. He also teaches Ethics and Research methods at Makerere University.

Signe Winding Albjerg, Danish Ambassador to Uganda announced Dr. Ssentongo the winner of the 2024 EU award.

Speaking at the award event, the Danish Ambassador also saluted the two runners-up in this year’s EU Human Rights Defenders Award, Jesca Ruth Ataa for her advancement of the rights of Karamajong Women and Doreen Namyalo-Kyazze for defending the rights of vulnerable people in prisons.



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