KAMPALA –There was tension at the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council – UMSC headquarters at Old Kampala on Thursday after a group of faithful under the command of controversial Haj Abdu Kiyimba arrived with a court order stopping anyone from conducting any business on behalf of the council.
The group was momentarily denied entrance into the premises of the headquarters – leading to a standoff but was eventually allowed.
The chaos resulted from an order issued by the Registrar of Mengo Chief Magistrate’s court, Patrick Ngereza Talisuna following a miscellaneous application by tycoon Hassan Basajjabalaba together with three others against UMSC and the Mufti, Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje.
“An interim order of injunction is hereby issued against the respondents, their agents, employees, officials, assignees, and all persons acting on their instructions restraining from carrying out any/and or conducting functions and or activities of and/or on behalf of the UMSC…,” reads, the January 10, 2023 order in parts.
The Kiyimba group was also armed with a January 11, 2023 letter, Jimmy Chepkrui Shunnu had endorsed on behalf of the Inspector General of Police addressed to the Old Kampala DPC.
“The order is to the effect that an interim order of injunction issued against the respondent, their agents, employees, officials, assigners, and all persons acting on their instructions restraining them from carrying out and/ or conducting any functions and/or do any other activity incidental to thereto until the final determination of main application or until further order of this Honourable court,” reads the letter.
He added: “I have been instructed to forward the same to you with the guidance that in the absence of any other court order to the contrary, and upon verification of the authenticity of the order from the issuing court, you bring the contents of the order to both parties and require its compliance.”
Shortly after delivering the injunction, Kiyimba and his group moved to Hera Hotel along Lubaga road and addressed members of the press – accusing Sheikh Mubaje of numerous issues – including the alleged sale of UMSC land measuring 518 hectares comprising ranch 38A at Bukiragi village, Ntuusi sub-county in Sembabule, and failure to account for the money.
The group also alleged that Mufti Mubajje had mismanaged Ugx2.5b from government meant to assist in the organisation of the UMSC’s recently concluded nationwide elections. Kiyimba denied having a personal vendetta against the Mufti – insisting that he was only seeking justice.
Kiyimba noted that while they had several disagreements with the Mufti – including the (illegal) disqualification of Basajjabalaba from running for the position of the National UMSC chairperson – it was imperative to follow the available legal systems to address their concerns – asking the Mufti to respect the orders.
However, Ashraf Zziwa- the UMSC Spokesperson said that while he was fully aware that some Muslims had petitioned the court over a disagreement in the just concluded elections, he isn’t aware of any judgment to that effect.
He noted that a closure of the premises as per the court order was impracticable because of the numerous activities such as the daily prayers held at the same place.
In December last year, the UMSC held the elections for its national chairperson. However, Basajabalaba was ejected from the race since the UMSC Constitution bars anyone who had successfully been impeached by any council organ from contesting for elections.
In 2010, the UMSC joint session that comprises the executive and college of sheikhs impeached Basajabalaba on a string of accusations including illegally selling off plot 30 William Street to Drake Lubega valued at $2m.
Meanwhile, the low education levels amongst the Muslim community in Teso and Karamoja sub-regions are worrying, leaders have said.
Sheikh Abubakar Obilan Umar – a researcher, who doubles as the Dean of Students at Soroti University, said that the Muslim leadership had devised plans to help address the education gap in the area through the establishment of Ateker Muslim Foundation Education Fund to offer scholarships for Muslim children.