KAMPALA – High Court in Kampala has taken interest in a file where a city businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba led a group in suing the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council – challenging the legality of the recent elections.
In December 2022, Basajjabalaba together with other aggrieved Muslims petitioned Mengo Chief Magistrate’s Court – challenging the decision of the UMSC general assembly under the chairmanship of Mufti Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje to bar him from contesting for the position of UMSC National chairman on the ground that he had previously been impeached from the same office.
In their petition, the applicants listed UMSC and Sheikh Mubaje as the first and second respondents, respectively to the suit.
On January 10, 2023, Basajjabalaba secured an interim injunction through the Mengo Chief Magistrates’ court of Mwanga II, Patrick Talisuna Ngereza – stopping the Mufti, his agents, employees of the UMSC and associates from carrying out any activities of the council until the main case challenging the legality of the decision to block him from contesting was heard.
The hearing of the main case is scheduled for January 27, 2023. On Thursday last week, Haj Abdu Kiyimba led the Basajjabalaba group in causing chaos at the UMSC headquarters after turning up to enforce the said court order.
UMSC through its lawyers filed an application before the same court challenging the order prompting the judicial official to invite both parties for a hearing on January 16.
However, as the parties converged for the hearing, information came through how the High Court Civil Division had called for the same file – subsequently disabling magistrate’s court from proceeding.
Swabur Marzuq, one of the lawyers representing Basajjabalaba’s group, said the Magistrate informed them that UMSC had filed an application before the High Court challenging the orders from the Magistrate’s court – described the action as an abuse of the court procedures.
“We shall await to proceed with the case at the High Court,” said Musa Kabega – the UMSC lawyer.
Court sources said that UMSC top-brass officials were unhappy with the decision to order the Mufti, and his agents from transacting any businesses at the headquarters – insisting that the order infringed onto the fundamental freedoms of worship guaranteed in the constitution of Uganda – the supreme law of the land.
In a press statement, however – the UMSC Secretary General, Dr Ramadhan Mugalu said the court order does not affect the office of the Mufti.
“There is no suit challenging the office of the Mufti, and no order has been issued requiring the Mufti to neither vacate his office nor stop his activities as self-seekers are alleging. We appeal for calmness, the UMSC offices are open, and the administrative offices at every structure will and should remain open,” he said.