By Ahmed Mukiibi
The Libyan Government and Muslims of the Old Kampala faction are locked in a standoff over the name of the gigantic Gaddafi mosque.
The Libyan Government has directed that the name Gaddafi be dropped. Muammar Gaddafi, who donated the mosque as a gift to Muslims in Uganda, was brutally murdered in Libya last October following nearly a year of civil war. The Mosque was commissioned on March 12, 2008.
However, Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) head, Supreme Mufti, Sheikh Shaban Mubajje, has insisted that the mosque belongs to Muslims in Uganda and Libya cannot give such a directive.
Libya made its directive through the Islamic Call Society (ICS) where they channel aid to the Muslim community in Uganda.
Several meetings between UMSC and ICS to resolve the issue have yielded no solution so far.
The UMSC spokesperson, Hajji Nsereko Mutumba, said a Libyan delegation was at Gaddafi mosque on Monday and directed them to change its name and even remove the wall hangings of the deposed president.
“UMSC and its advisers agreed that the Libyan Government has no authority to make such a directive since the mosque belongs to Uganda,” Hajji Nsereko said.
He said it was UMSC and not Gaddafi that decided to name the mosque as such. He added that the decision was a tribute to Col. Gaddafi for funding its construction.
“The name will not change; that issue will not be debated upon,” Nsereko said and added that the road that was previously called Makerere Hill was renamed Gaddafi in tribute for what he did for Uganda.
The Libya Government through ICS still maintains the opulent structure.
Hajji Nsereko also clarified that Libya still foots bills for maintaining the mosque and pays its workers. The workers are responsible for maintain the hygiene of the facility and its surroundings, and ensuring its over 60 lavatories are functional and in good condition.
He clarified that contrary to reports of vandalism, the Libyans were the ones who removed the tubs for holding water before the mosque was handed to UMSC, and instead installed ordinary taps.