By Zziwa Ashiraf
The Majority of Muslims especially in Central Region ( Buganda ) and to some extent Busoga welcomed Sheikh Kassimu Mulumba’s proposal to halt the UMSC 1980 general elections that were already in progress.
On the other hand, Sheikh Abdu Obeid Kamulegeya had shown interest to compete for the high Office of the Chief Kadhi and even went ahead to mobilise and implore his supporters to participate in the planned elections.
Sheikh Kamulegeya’s team realised that the only way to achieve their goal would be to neutralize Mulumba’s solid support. As a result, Sheikh Kamulegeya hatched a plan of convincing Prince Al Haj Badru Kakungulu to offer himself and run for the position of national UMSC Chairman on grounds that Mulumba had stabbed him in the back by extending his mandate and taking on titles reserved for Buganda royals despite being an ordinary Muganda.
Convinced with the reasons, Prince Badru Kakungulu accepted to join the race. After learning about Kamulegeya’s decision, staunch UPC supporters and confidants of Dr. Milton Apollo Obote then UPC Party President threw their weight behind him and pledged to offer him ( Kamulegeya) all the necessary support to achieve his goal.
The Elections took place under the supervision and monitoring of the UMSC Taskforce Committee. Muslim leaders at various levels were elected. Between Sept 23rd – 26th 1980, A New UMSC General Assembly, the Supreme Organ of the Council was officially consituted at Makerere University Man Hall.
The Assembly thereafter elected Sheikh Abdu Obeid Kamulegeya as the Chief Kadhi and the late Prince Al Haj Badru Kakungulu as the National Chairman.
The other officials were;
● Haj Isah Khalifa Lukwago, Hon Secretary General deputies by Haj Abdu
● Haj Majid Bagalaaliwo Treasurer,
● Haj Zakariya Risaasi, Assistant Treasurer,
● Late Haj Ramadhan Wasike, Secretary for Housing,
● Haj Muhamood Kazibiraine, Secretary for Education.
● Late Sheikh Ahmad Mukasa, Secretary for Religious Affairs
● Late Haj Yusuf Nsubuga Nsambu, Legal Officer.
Sheikh Mulumba dismissed the executive after learning that they had supported the elections. Also dismissed was the Deputy Chief Kadhi, Sheikh Ali Kivumbi who was replaced by Sheikh Muhammad Ssemakula.
The others included the;
● Late Haj Sulaiman Masaba, the Hon Secretary General
● Sheikh Taib Masembe, Secretary for Religious Affairs,
● Sheikh Muhammad Bbira the Protocol Officer,
● Sheikh Muhammad Kibanga, the Personal Private Secretary Office of the Chief Kadhi,
● Late Sheikh Muhammad Mukongo, the Head of Muslim Volunteers,
● Late Sheikh Yusuf Mukasa Officer in charge of Zakah
● Late Sheikh Isah Ssembajjwe, Waqf ( Endowment) Officer
● Sheikh Muhamood Walukagga, Tabligh ( Islamic Propagation,
● Late Sheikh Abas Lukenge, the Slaughter Officer
● Sheikh Ali Mpugu Secretary for Education
● Late Sheikh Yusuf Zirabamuzale, the Secretary for Mawuledi ceremonies.
The then newly elected leaders of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council-UMSC led by Sheikh Abdu Obeid Kamulegeya planned for their inauguration and official takeover of the UMSC national offices.
Unfortunately, they met stiff resistance at the National Mosque (Agakhan) at Old Kampala when Muslims who had gathered for friday prayers learnt of their mission. Enraged Muslims almost lynched Sheikh Kamulegeya’s team as the police whisked them off to safety.
The group relocated to Kibuli Mosque and came to be known as the Kibuli group. The situation worsened as a section of Muslims abandoned Kibuli Mosque, which left Sheikh Kamulegeya and Prince Kakungulu in an awkward position and isolated.
By the early 1981, confrontations ensured in several Mosques as both sides tried to display their might and prove that they were in control of Muslim affairs in the Country. However, Sheikh Mulumba had an upper hand because his team was in control of the National Headquarters.
They went on to organise colourful Religious ceremonies especially Mawlid to commemorate the birth of Prophet Muhammad( PBUH), which attracted hundreds of people including non- Muslims.
It was at such functions held in numerous areas that the late Sheikh Zubair Kayongo demonstrated the power of his oratory skills and eloquence since he was the chief preacher at all high profile ceremonies presided over by the Chief Kadhi Sheikh Mulumba.
Sheikh Kayongo wouldn’t mince his words as he openly scorned Prince Kakungulu and Sheikh Kamulegeya and described them as wolves in sheep Skin.
This worsened the wrangles within the Muslim Community leading to the stagnation of plans to revive UMSC Projects.
The author is the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council Spokesperson.