By Rashid Kabiji
The Mufti of Uganda, Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje, has openly criticized Minister Minsa Kabanda of Kampala and Moses Kigongo, the NRM’s First National Vice Chairperson. He accused them of orchestrating plans to remove him from office. Sheikh Mubaje said this during his speech after the Juma prayers at Masjid Noor in Mbale City. He pointed fingers at the duo, attributing the court battles facing the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council to their involvement.
Expressing his stance, he alleged that their primary aim over the past 20 years has been to oust him, which he claims they’ve repeatedly failed to achieve. He advised them and their cohorts to seek his successor through constitutional means.
The Mufti’s comments followed a recent court ruling that halted the implementation of resolutions made by a faction of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council. These resolutions led to the appointment of Sheikh Abdallah Ssemambo as the Acting Mufti of Uganda.
The latest ruling, issued by Acting Principal Judge Lady Justice Alexandra Nkonge this morning, temporarily suspended the implementation pending the resolution of the case filed by the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, seeking to annul the appointment.
In her ruling, Lady Justice Nkonge indicated her authority to issue temporary relief but lacked jurisdiction to address the entirety of the Muslim Supreme Council’s prayers in this case. This ruling follows arguments presented by the involved parties before the Land Division of the High Court in Kampala yesterday.
The underlying issues stemmed from a petition filed by three Muslims – Yudaya Babirye, Burhan Namanya, and Hussein Ssimbwa – against the Uganda Supreme Council-UMSC at Jinja High Court. Their petition raised concerns about the Council’s conduct, particularly regarding the allegedly unfair sale of Muslim properties. Consequently, they petitioned the Jinja court to dissolve the council, a plea that was not granted due to potential adverse outcomes.
On December 12, 2023, Jinja High Court Judge Farida Shamilah Bukirwa Ntambi ruled in favor of the petitioners and issued several orders. Among these was the allowance for a special sitting of the Supreme Council, in a neutral venue, to scrutinize the council’s affairs. Subsequently, a group of Muslims convened at Gangu Primary School, suspending Mufti Sheikh Shaban Ramathan Mubaje for six months pending investigations into alleged mismanagement of Muslim affairs. They appointed Sheikh Ssemambo as the Acting Mufti.
The Uganda Muslim Supreme Council sought legal intervention and appealed to the Principal Judge to overturn the decision. The council argued that the assembly violated their constitution, which mandates a seven-day notice detailing the agenda and purpose of the meeting to members.
As a result, Nkonge ordered the suspension of the execution of the Gangu resolutions until the application was resolved by the same judge who issued the initial orders. The UMSC crisis stemmed from the sale of Sembabule Muslim land to businessman Justus Kyabahwa, a transaction that was not fully fulfilled as agreed upon.