Judge Closes File on Disputed Mosque

1102 Views Mbale, Eastern Region, Uganda

In short
Justice Okalanyi declined to grant the complainants costs, and instead advised them to pursue the matter in a different suit.

Justice Susan Okalanyi has closed a case file relating to the ownership wrangle of Plot Six Mosque in Mbale town. Justice Okalanyi delivered the judgment at Mbale High court this afternoon. She reached the judgment after realizing that the case file, which has been in court since 1992, wasn't in the court records.

 
Plot Six mosque is at the center of a dispute between Bugisu Muslim District Council-BMDC and Muslim Welfare Association led by the former Kadhi, Sheikh Muhammad Wamboya, city businessman Hajji Mohammed M. Bagalaaliwo and Musa Kalokola.

 
Both the Muslim Welfare Association and Bugisu Muslim District Council claim ownership of the mosque. Trouble between the two parties started in 1992 when members of Muslim Welfare Association declined to vacate the mosque premises, saying the mosque belongs to them. This prompted the BMDC officials led by the late Hajji Haruna Musiwa to petition court to throw them out.

 
However, in its defense, the Muslim Welfare Association argued that when Asians repossessed the Mosque from the Departed Asian Custodian property in 1992, they asked the occupants to buy it off. Sheikh Muhammad Wamboya claims that they approached Hajji Mohammed M. Bagalaaliwo who forked out Shillings 6 million and paid off the former owners.

 
He claims that after buying the mosque, they handed it over to BMDC on an understanding that should they fail to manage it the Muslim Welfare Association will repossess it. BMDC on the other hand claims that the entire Muslim community contributed Shillings 17 million, which paid for the premises hosting the mosque.  The plot hosting the mosque is registered in the names of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.


The matter came up for hearing before different judges until this morning when it came up for judgment. However, Justice Susan Okalanyi shocked the fully packed court when she said that although the case was heard, it wasn't registered in the court records.

 
She said it was wrong for the lawyers of both parties to continue with the case yet it wasn't registered. Justice Okalanyi declined to grant the complainants costs, and instead advised them to pursue the matter in a different suit.