Muslim Faction Holds Eid Prayers in Restaurant Over Fears of Arrest

2195 Views Masaka, Uganda

In short
A Muslim faction has been forced to hold Eid –El-Fitr prayers in a restaurant after failing to forcefully take over the disputed Masaka Central Mosque.

A Muslim faction has been forced to hold Eid –El-Fitr prayers in a restaurant after failing to forcefully take over the disputed Masaka Central Mosque.
Sheikh Bulhan Bagunduuse, the rival Masaka district Kadhi, who went missing after police issued his arrest warrant  for leading a violent attack on Central Masaka Mosque last month returned on Tuesday and announced he would take over offices at the Mosque.
Masaka Central Mosque is under the control of Sheikh Swaibu Ndugga, who belongs to the Kibuli based faction. Both groups claim ownership of this Mosque with Sheikh Huzairu Kiruuta, former Masaka Kadhi and Bulhan Bagunduuse, who succeeded him claiming it belongs to them since Uganda Muslim Supreme Council constructed it.
Sheikh Bagunduuse’s threats of a fresh attack and forceful take over Masaka Central Mosque on Eid-El-Fitr day forced police and his rivals to deploy militias to protect it from attack. 
As result, Sheikh Bagunduuse, Sheikh Huzairu Kiruuta,and  Ali Matovu,the Chairperson Masaka Muslim Supreme Council led their supporters and conducted Eid El-Fitr prayers inside Kitenda Catering Services Restaurant along Naludugavu Street close to Byansi Medical Centre.
Sheikh Bagunduuse claims that they were forced to pray inside Kitenda Catering Services Restaurant after getting information that their enemies, Sheikh Swaibu Ndugga and Jamil Mbuga, the Imam of Masaka Central Mosque had wanted to arrest them and assault them.
Bagunduuse further alleges that Ndugga has ordered some of his followers to trail him. Bagunduse, however, will not renounce his earlier position on the June attack on Central Masaka Mosque. Two Muslims were injured during the attack. Bagunduse says the same group had in 2009 assaulted Sheikh Kiruuta injuring him seriously before illegally evicting him from his office.
Sheikh Bagunduuse, who was speaking in Luganda, says he will not stop fighting for the takeover of Central Mosque because he has all the documents that mandate him as custodian under Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.
However, Sheikh Ismail Musisi who disputes Bagunduuse's leadership og the Masaka Muslim Supreme Council says they will not allow Bagunduuse to take over their Mosque. He says they have started erecting a fence around the Mosque to protect it from encroachment.
Musisi asked Muslims who turned up for Eid El-Fitr prayers to contribute money towards this cause.
Jamil Mbuga, Imam of Masaka Central Mosque, says they have deployed vigilant groups around the Mosque to guard against takeover.
Shakira Nalweyiso, a Muslim faithful, says she is tired of the escalating Muslim wrangles. She says these wrangles embarrass the faith.
Kibra Ntensibe, another Muslim faithful, says it is difficult to resolve the Muslims wrangles becauass they are historical. He claims that the Kabwejere inquiry established by Museveni to investigate cause of this wrangles was a waste of time.
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MP Mathias Mpuuga of Masaka Municipality disagrees. MP Mpuuga who also joined Muslims to mark end of Ramadan at Masaka Cenrral Mosque instead said there are political leaders fueling the Muslim wrangles to divide and rule Uganda.
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About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.