By Zziwa Ashiraf
The plot by the then Uganda Muslim Supreme Council-UMSC leadership to dislodge rebellious Muslim leaders under the late Sheikh Uzairu Kiruuta, then in control of UMSC properties including the Ranches in greater Masaka hit a snag and collapsed. This followed the intervention of the late Paulo Muwanga, then the Vice President and Minister of Defense who reportedly ordered security agencies and personnel never to allow the official UMSC under Sheikh Abdu Obeid Kamulegeya to disturb their rivals from Sheikh Mulumba’s camp in Masaka.
The then Masaka District Commissioner and other Security heads revealed this in a meeting with a team of officials from UMSC led by the late Haj Ramadhan Zakaria Wasike, then Secretary for Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Property. The security chiefs advised UMSC Officials to use other channels through their bosses and then Minister of Internal affairs if UMSC was to enforce its leadership and regain property in Masaka.
Indeed, UMSC picked up the advice and later through its Hon. Secretary-General sent a written complaint to then Internal Affairs Minister, the late Luwuliza Kirunda pleading for his help in resolving the standoff with its rivals. In the meantime, Sheikh Kamulegeya seemed to have stepped up his efforts to sort out Sheikh Mulumba’s group.
Kamulegeya’s administration began to initiate and lobby for the establishment of several developmental projects with the aim of winning the hearts of Muslims, especially in the Central region.
For instance, UMSC successfully managed to secure a donation of US$ 50,000 from OIC (Organization of Islamic Conference) for the purpose of constructing a female student’s Dormitory and the Principal’s residence at Kabukunge Teachers’ Training College in Masaka.
During the commissioning of the project, Sheikh Kamulegeya informed the gathering that it was not his intention to via for the top Muslim seat as the Chief Kadhi.
“I only offered my candidature after my brother (read Sheikh Mulumba) had resigned due to poor health. Amazingly, as soon as he heard that I have been elected to replace him, he turned around claiming to have made up his mind rescinding his earlier decision and such action is only done by hypocrites of the highest order,” said Sheik Kamulegeya in early 1985.
The hard-hitting statement didn’t go down well with Sheikh Mulumba’s camp. The statement came as they were planning to hold massive celebrations commemorating the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Butambala, a Muslim Stronghold in Buganda region, in which principals from either camp hailed from. Sheikh Mulumba’s organizing team selected the best orators and encouraged them to look for convincing words to rebuttal the attack.
On other hand, Sheikh Kamulegeya’s Council team was also working hard with security agencies to frustrate the event by discouraging Muslims to snub the function.
The writer is the Spokesperson of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.