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Dave Dash: Five years under the haze


DRUG ADDICTION: About a month ago, Davis Lukwago, known to many as Dave Dash endured quite an embarrassing episode, when a video of him running on the street naked circulated on social media. The former NTV and Radiocity presenter who was reported as a victim of drug abuse checked into rehab. He shares his story with

Hi Dave Dash. A few weeks ago, social media was abuzz with a video clip and pictures of a man running on the streets naked. Was it you?
Yes it was me. I had had a breakdown after using drugs.

What really happened that day?
Three days earlier, I was going through an emotional situation. I felt as though the entire world had abandoned me; my wife had left with my son, our family land was sold off by people I trusted so much and thinking about my son being caught up in the middle of it broke me down. It was my fault. I broke down and thought that if I ran about naked, nobody would mind.

So were you high that day?
No. I was off weed for a day and the weed I was using is one of the strongest and I had used it for four months. I would smoke it every morning, afternoon and evening. That day, all I wanted was at least the scent of mango because the weed smells like mango, but I did not have access.

You could have undressed from your house. Did you have to run to the street?
I used to jog from Bunga pump to Kampala University twice a day, as I smoked but this time I did not have the weed so I undressed, took the same run, showered in the lake and was home by 9.45am. When I got home, I started receiving calls, and texts from people expressing concern.

Was that gesture meant to test how much people cared for you?
No. This was my break down. It was all about me, my wrongs haunting me. I had destroyed families including mine. I was the pope of darkness who knew everyone’s dark point and to wash away all those things, rehab was the only place for me to go. It was a personal decision.

Does this mean you took yourself to rehab?
Yes I did. No one told me or forced me to go there.

What is the main reason that took you to rehab?
I have a family to look after and I wanted to tell people about the dangers of drugs. We actually have an app that can help teach people about the beauty of being sober. I also went to rehab to be cleansed.

Which rehab did you go to?
I was in Butabika. It was an amazing experience. It made me reconnect with myself.

What really happens in Butabika or in rehab?
In there, no one judges you because everyone is mad. Mad in different aspects; some are stressed, others just gave up while others are there because of excessive drinking. It is a clean place for anyone who wants to reconnect with themselves and truth be told, everyone at some point may want to check into Butabika.


Dave Dash with Zziwa at Butabika Rehabilitation centre. He says Zziwa was one of his clients

What was your typical day like at Butabika?
I would wake up very early in the morning, exercise either by jogging around or playing football, and do the same in the evening.

Why did you emphasise so much on exercise?
Because it takes 120 days for the body to clean out toxic substances.

Are there stages you go through until you are announced sober?
Yes they are. The first stage is known as Bronze which is 16 days. Then after, you go to stage two (gold) which is 45 days. Thereafter, you graduate to stage three which is 120 (Platinum). After the 120 days, you make it to the sober banker. This is the final stage to being sober. However, you do not have to spend 120 days in rehab. Two weeks you are in honeymoon which is basically exercising and keeping your mind busy for about 16 days, you can either go home and refocus on your life or go for 45 days where you go for counselling until the 120 days are over. It is then that you reach what we call a wall. This is the final stage.

What would happen if you complete the 120 days and still come out and use drugs?
It is about self-discipline. If you go to rehab and come out and use drugs again, you would be stupid. Because after reaching the wall, your body has no urge. If there is anyone who is scared, let them use my testimony because I have done it all; used drugs and sold them.

How long have you been out of rehab?
It is now ten days since I left (Interview was done on Oct 31).

How sure can we be that you are not going to be tempted to use drugs again?
I have changed all the things that would tempt me and I now have a company that I think for and think of, a company (Brain Hub) that requires my full attention. I will never use drugs again.

Tell us about the first day you used drugs?
To be honest, they sneaked into my system. The first person to give me drugs never warned me what would happen. Drugs just found me at a vulnerable moment. The first thing that came to my mind was that I was going to undress so I got into my car, locked the doors, took the drugs but nothing happened. I drove home thinking I was going to cause an accident but I reached safely. In my head, thought I was stronger than them and they could not affect me. Soon I was addicted and before I knew it, I was a supplier.

What kind of drugs were you selling?
I was dealing in cocaine, crack and Ketamine from liquid to powder foam.

And what drugs were you using?
I was using coacine, purple Haze, Ketamine and crack.

For how long were you using these drugs?
Five years. I was on TV and radio but people did not know. That is how sleek drugs are. I had clients lining up in parking lots of places where I used to work and no one knew what business we had.

What kind of people were you selling to?
Corporates, businessmen, students, top guys and more. I would not want to disclose their identities but I was a drug lord of sorts.

Who used to supply you those drugs?
Uganda has shops. There are pharmacies that sell drugs; Ketamine is a tranquiliser that is used for big animals and deep wounds. It is used to stop pain instantly and people get addicted to these things. People get addicted to Codeine, a cough syrup which if taken in high volumes can give you side effects. So I used to supply them to people who had no access.

How much were you spending on drugs?
I would not say I was spending much neither would I say I was spending too little.

You have not answered my question.
I used to buy in plenty because I had to use some and sell some. A gramme of cocaine goes for about Shs100,000. I introduced what they call a ‘line’ in Uganda whereby I cut the price to 20k because I knew every 25 minutes, you will be coming back to me. There would be no business selling an entire gramme at 100k yet I could make money by selling it in bits. I am the guy who was behind that 20k line.

Was it drugs that made you leave TV and radio?
Yes. And to set the record straight, I was never fired. Whenever I decided to do something, I did it with utmost perfection. So I just gave up.

Are you still with your wife?
No, we are not together any more. My wife separated from me because of cocaine and other drugs.

What is your status now?
I am sober and focused. And I am enjoying it.

Now that you say you are sober, do you have plans of reconciling with your wife?
No, she is happy in a relationship with another man and they are having a baby soon.

And your son?
He is with his mother but I have been seeing him.

Is she in Uganda?
No, she travelled to give birth. But she stays in Uganda and has a job here.

What is your relationship with HairbyZziwa? He was the first to post a photo of you in rehab.
I gave Zziwa his first line in Uganda. I am the guy who told him there is stuff here in Uganda. He was another spec to the chain. He would always tell me this is the last time and would sneak into my phone inbox after 25 minutes.

Apart from Zziwa, which other celebrity were you distributing drugs to?
There are a number of celebrities lying to you every day that they are sober and are fit to talk to your children. Drugs are everywhere. But I cannot disclose names, at least not now. Let my testimony help them transform.

Will you ever go back to radio or TV?
Well, I do not know what better deal someone can come with apart from me educating the public about drugs. I could do a show or two, but I cannot be bound by a contract.

Is running on the street naked the worst thing to ever happen to you?
If you do not think it is, undress and we see. Just undress in front of two boda guys. I ran a distance that someone fully dressed cannot cover.

What do you think your family thought when they heard you had gone mad?
I lost both my parents but I told my siblings the truth; that I was an addict and they understood me.

What would you advise a person using drugs?
Stop using them today. No matter the situation you are in, just stop. You do not want to be in that situation I was in. Start by finding out why you are using drugs, then find out your purpose in life. I was able to fight cocaine addiction, which is the worst addiction. If you have not started, please do not even try because you might die after sniffing one line or you could run mad because our bodies respond differently.

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