JINJA CITY: The Jinja District Khadhi, Sheikh Ismael Basoga, has challenged President Museveni to reign in on what he termed as land grabbers, threatening the existence of the Jinja city-based Muslim cemetery.
Presiding over Eid prayers in Jinja City on Monday, Basoga says that the land grabbers are conniving with politicians within the city to demolish the cemetery.
The colonial government is reported to have allocated the same 20-acre piece of land to the Muslims in 1912. The same land was gazetted as a recognised Muslim cemetery in 1932, and to date, Muslims of largely Afro-Asian descent, Somalis among others, have made that cemetery their burial ground.
Basoga notes that, in the early 2000s, the Uganda Land Commission-ULC leased the land to them for a period of 99 years.
However, ULC, later on, petitioned the High Court, accusing the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council-UMSC of trespass.
The court ruled that part of the land worth eight acres belongs to the ULC. The Muslim community was also warned against encroaching on the land.
UMSC has since filed an appeal, but Basoga reveals that a large section of Muslims within the city lack land, and any form of threat pertaining to the existence of the cemetery denies them the right to decently bury their relatives. He wants the government to intervene in the matter.
Basoga adds that, in the case of any giveaway of the contested land, priority should be given to UMSC, whose occupancy spans over 100 years.
Haruna Mukungu, a youth leader within the Busoga Muslim region, says that matters surrounding the Muslim cemetery land are sensitive and with a high level of community interest. Therefore, state players ought to expeditiously engage different stakeholders before delivering final verdicts on the same.
Available information obtained from Jinja city’s lands desk indicates that the ULC leased out the contested land to developers who have since subdivided it into 12 plots.