By Kizito Musoke
The committee tasked to reconcile the Muslim factions of Kibuli and Old Kampala has recommended that both Mubajje and Kayongo vacate office to pave way for reconciliation.
Sheikh Shaban Ramathan Mubajje is the current , based at Old Kampala and recognised by the Government while Sheikh Zubair Kayongo, who goes by the title Supreme Mufti, is the head of the Kibuli-based faction.
The Kibuli faction does not recognise Mubajje’s leadership, following a wrangle over properties in the city that are believed to have been sold irregularly.
Following an escalation of clashes between the two groups, President Yoweri Museveni instituted a committee of nine people, headed by Prof. Tarsis Kabwegyere, to find a permanent solution to the misunderstandings.
The committee has been meeting at Hotel Africana since June and has sought views of more than 300 people, including academicians, politicians, and former employees of the supreme council.
A source on the committee, revealed that there was a proposal that the current leadership of Old Kampala and the Kibuli faction vacate their offices.
A new election should then be organised and only leaders, who have not been involved in the wrangles be allowed to contest. The final report is expected to be published next month, the source said.
The members on the committee include former minister, Isaac Musumba and Yasin Olum, Makerere University associate professor, who represent the Government.
The Kibuli faction is represented by Muhammad Kisambira, Hassan Kirya and Faisal Mukasa, while the Old Kampala-based faction is represented by Dr. Edris Kasenene, Sulaiman Musana and Anas Sesimba.
The Mufti of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC), Sheikh Shaban Mubajje (L) listens to Electoral Commission chairman, Eng. Badru Kiggundu after prayers at Old Kampala Mosque.
In May, when Mubajje, who has been in office since December 2000, announced his plans to retire before his term expires, the Kibuli faction scorned him, saying he had made similar promises over the past five years. Mubajje still has 13 more years in office.
The committee also recommends that the Mufti remains a spiritual leader and not a manager of Muslim affairs.
The confusion of responsibilities has brought many irregularities to the administration of Muslim properties, the report states.
The report proposes that the secretary general takes charge of the administration.
Ever since Muslims started wrangling for leadership in 1944 during the reign of Kabaka Ssuuna II, none of the reconciliation attempts has ever succeeded. It was former president Idi Amin, who united Muslims by force, by abolishing the different sects.
When Amin left power in 1979, the wrangles resumed between Obed Kamulegeya and Mulumba, over who should be the legitimate Muslim leader in the country.
This continued until 1986.
After spirited discussions, Hussein Rajab Kakooza was chosen as the chief Khadi, with Saad Luwemba as his deputy.
In the 1987 elections, Luwemba defeated Kakooza, who refused to recognise the results and started his faction.
In 1993, Prof. George Kanyeihamba tried to reconcile Muslims at Mbarara and the meeting elected Ahmed Mukasa as the Mufti, and Sheikh Zubair Kayongo as his deputy.
But Luwemba and his faction rejected the elections and the wrangles continued. In 2000, Mubajje was elected Mufti. The big question is whether the Kabwegyere commission will yield fruit.