Last updated on January 31st, 2023 at 12:57 pm
The High Court has called the file of a case in which a group of people led by city businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba sued the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) challenging the legality of the recent Muslim elections.
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In December 2022, Basajjabalaba together with other aggrieved Muslims (applicants) petitioned Mengo Chief Magistrate’s Court challenging the decision of the UMSC general assembly chaired by the Mufti Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje to bar him from contesting for the position of National Chairman of the UMSC on the ground that he was previously successfully impeached from the same office.
In their petition, the applicants listed UMSC and Sheikh Mubaje as the first and second respondents respectively to the suit.
On January 10, 2023, Basajjabalaba secured an interim injunction issued by the Chief Magistrate of Mwanga II Court in Mengo, Patrick Talisuna Ngereza stopping the Mufti, his agents, employees of the UMSC and associates from carrying out any activities of the Council until the main case challenging the legality of the decision to block him from contesting is heard.
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The hearing of the main case is scheduled for January 27th, 2022. On Thursday, 12th January, 2023, last week, Basajjabalaba’s group led by Hajji Abdu Kiyimba caused a commotion at the UMSC headquarters when they went to enforce the order.
UMSC through its lawyers filed an application before the same court challenging the order prompting the Magistrate to invite both parties for a hearing on Monday 16 January.
However, as the parties converged for the hearing, they were informed that the High Court Civil Division had called the file and the Magistrate’s court could not proceed with it.
Swabur Marzuq, one of the lawyers representing Basajjabalaba’s group, said the Magistrate informed them that UMSC had filed an Application before the High Court challenging the orders from the Magistrate’s Court.
He, however, described this as an abuse of the court procedures, saying they hope that the High Court shall return the matter to the lower court.
Counsel Musa Kabega from UMSC had nothing much to say when our reporter approached him for an interview.
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“We shall await to proceed with the case at the High Court,” he said.
The evidence before Court shows that UMSC is not happy with the decision to order the Mufti, UMSC, and their agents to halt their operations, saying this interferes with the fundamental freedom of worship guaranteed in the Constitution of Uganda, the Supreme law of the country.
In a press statement, the UMSC Secretary General, Dr. Ramadhan Mugalu, said the court order does not affect the office of the Mufti.
“There is no suit challenging the office of the Mufti, and no order has been issued requiring the Mufti to vacate his office nor stop his activities as it’s being alleged by self-seekers. We appeal for calmness, the UMSC offices are open, and the administrative offices at every structure of the UMSC will and should remain open,” he said.