LUWERO: Only registered mosques and their faithful will be allowed to participate in the forthcoming nationwide Uganda Muslim Supreme Council-UMSC polls. According to the drafted roadmap by UMSC, mosque committee elections will take place on September 29th, county elections on October 6th, and district polls on October 13, 2022.
The UMSC Electoral Commission will conduct the nationwide registration of mosques and their believers for the purposes of the elections. The Luwero Muslim district has embarked on sensitizing imams and county sheikhs on the registration as well as the elections.
However, it has emerged that several imams have been blocked from registering mosques with UMSC. Umar Sulaiman Lutwama, the Imam of Masjid Abubaker Kanyanda in Makulubita sub-county, says that although the majority of imams recognize UMSC, the founders of some mosques pay allegiance to the rival Kibuli faction.
Lutwama says that as a result, some founders have already warned imams not to register the mosques for the exercise or else they will be fired.
According to Ali Ndawula Ssekyanzi, a candidate for Bamunanika County, those who intimidate Imams want to run mosques as personal businesses and continue dividing Muslims.
So, Musa Ssebuufu, the County Sheikh for Bukalasa County, has asked for Muslims to embrace the elections so as to get a platform to push for their desired changes. Sheikh Ramadhan Mulindwa, of the Kadhi Luwero Muslim District, explains that article 24 of the UMSC constitution is clear that each Juma mosque shall be registered by the UMSC Electoral Commission followed by an election of the committee.
Mulindwa says that every mosque that is registered will also get a certificate of recognition from UMSC and it will be able to conduct official activities, including marriages. He says that no mosque will be allowed to participate in any elections without registration and that his office will never intervene in any of its matters in the future.
But Musa Kakande, the Chairperson of Greater Luwero Muslim District for the Kibuli-based faction, described the forthcoming elections as a sham, saying they won’t participate in them.
Kakande says that they can’t participate in elections where Mufti’s position is ringfenced and no polls will be organized on the seat. “It’s true UMSC was created to unite all Muslims, especially on developmental issues, but currently they are working to fail the Muslims through their engagement in selling Muslim property. “We need to overhaul the entire UMSC, but we can’t do so when Mufti Ramadhan Mubajje is stuck in the chair,” Kakande said.
According to the UMSC constitution, the Mufti retires upon attaining 70 years of age. The Mufti is 67 years of age, meaning she is still three years away from the expiry of his tenure. Last year, at least 230 mosques registered in Luwero during an internal registration exercise. However, scores of others aligned to the Kibuli-based faction didn’t participate in the exercise.