UMSC Ranches Part 5: UNLF attempt to outlaw UMSC flops

Despite the general hostility by UNLF officials towards Islam and Muslims, there were a number of prominent Muslims in their ranks


By Zziwa Ashiraf

The Uganda National Liberation Front-UNLF government assumed State Power after ousting President Iddi Amin Dada through an external invasion in 1979. The UNLF government comprised mainly Ugandan dissidents, who had fought alongside Tanzania People’s Defense Forces-TPDF to end Amin’s rule.


The new government claimed to have taken stock of the factors that sustained Amin in power for eight years and top on their list was uniting Ugandan Muslims under one Organization- the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council-UMSC.

They claimed that Amin used UMSC to source petrodollars from the Middle East and other Muslim countries.

As a result, top UNLF government officials led by the late President Yusuf Lule resolved to dismantle and outlaw UMSC on grounds that Amin created it to promote his political interests.

Almighty Allah states in the Holy Quran that it is, “Him who revealed Islam and it is upon Him to safeguard it”.

Despite the general hostility by UNLF officials towards Islam and Muslims, there were a number of prominent Muslims in their ranks.
They included the late Prince Al-Haj Badru Kakungulu of Kibuli, Sheikh Abdu Obeid Kamulegeya, the late Sheikh Ali Senyonga, the late Sheikh Zubair Bakari and the late Haj. Ali Kirunda Kivejinja among many others.

The UNLF Gov’t through the late Paul Muwanga communicated its decision to disband UMSC to Prince Kakungulu at Kibuli.
They urged him to communicate the decision to the rest of the Muslims indicating that the government was interested to see that old rival Muslim factions that existed prior to the formation of UMSC in 1972 are revived.

However, Prince Badru Kakungulu outrightly rejected the idea and pleaded with the authorities to spare UMSC as an institution, reasoning that Amin only helped Muslims to seat at a round table for the sake of Muslim unity.

Convinced with the explanation, government allowed Prince Kakungulu to seat down with his contemporaries to re-organize the UMSC leadership and its structures countrywide.

Sheikh Kassimu Mulumba Appointed Acting Chief Kadhi of Uganda

The Uganda Muslim Supreme Council constitutional organs had nearly collapsed as already discussed in previous series So, Prince Al- Haj Badru Kakungulu was advised to call an urgent Meeting of the College of Sheikhs( Majlis Al Ulaama) at Kibuli Mosque, for the purposes of putting in place a caretaker UMSC Administration.

Fifty five (55) Sheikhs turned up for the crucial meeting.
In his address, Prince Kakungulu urged them to perform two tasks which, included appointing an Interim courageous leader and his executive as caretakers of the UMSC Administration for the period of six months.
He also tasked them to put in place an Independent Taskforce to organise National Muslim general elections for substantive leaders to the the lower structures.
The program was to be implemented immediately after the war.

After the deliberations, they unanimously agreed to appoint the late Sheikh Kassimu Mulumba, a graduate from the prestigious Egyptian based Ahzar University.

Sheikh Mulumba was serving as Kampala District Kadhi and Makerere University Mosque Imam at the time of his appointment.
The peak of the war found Sheikh Mulumba on an official working trip in Saudi Arabia.

On his return he made a stop over in Nairobi because the situation was still tense, risky and dangerous in Uganda since the war was raging on.
Sheikh Mulumba received the news of his appointment to the highest Muslim office in the country while in Nairobi, Kenya.

The meeting appointed Sheikh Ali Kivumbi, Deputy Chief Kadhi, Dr. Abdu K. Kosozi, Acting Secretary General while the late Sheikh Ahmad Mukasa retained his position as Secretary for Religious Affairs among others.

The writer is the Spokesperson of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.