Police has declined to evict a faction of Muslims occupying Masaka central Mosque saying they are waiting for recommendations from the professor Tarsisi Kabwegyere commission. It follows a request by Sheikh Ramadhan Mubaje, the Mufti of Uganda to Police to evict the rival group from the mosque. He made the request on April 18th while presiding over the installation of Sheikh Buruhan Bagunduuse, the new Kadhi of Masaka Muslim District.
During the function, Sheikh Mubaje accused police and Masaka RDC of failing to enforce a court order to evict the rival group from the mosque that belongs to Uganda Muslim Supreme Council. Since 2009, Masaka central Mosque has been under the leadership of Sheikh Swaibu Ndugga, the rival Masaka district kadhi. Ndugga was forcefully installed by a group of Muslims after they removed Sheikh Huzair Kiruuta for alleged incompetence, old age and his links with Sheikh Mubajje. But in 2011, Masaka High Court declared the removal of Kiruuta illegal and reinstated him to his office.
John Baptist Ssegilinya, the former Masaka Registrar said Kiruuta was not given time to defend himself on the allegations brought against him. However, the court order was not enforced. Last week, Sheikh Mubajje gave police two weeks to evict the rival group and ensure Sheikh Bagunduuse occupies the office. He argued that the failure by police and RDC to resettle Sheikh Bagunduuse is affecting his work because he does not have any alternative office. Mubajje wondered how police and office of the RDC could fail to implement a court order yet they have all the necessary power. However, Security officials in the district say it is not possible to resettle the Kadhi.
Josephine Kizito, the acting Masaka RDC who is also the chairperson Masaka district Security committee says they can not enforce the order because it would trigger bloodshed between rival Muslim factions. Kizito says without recommendations from Prof. Tarsis Kabwegere, who was tasked by President Museveni to investigate the cause of Muslim wrangles, they cannot resolve Masaka Muslim wrangles.
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Geoffrey Kahebwa, the Masaka District Police Commander says they will not allow Sheikh Bulhan Bagunduuse to take over Masaka Central Mosque office for fear of clashes between the supporters of the rival factions. He says until the commission investigating the cause of Muslims wrangles issues its reports and makes recommendations, the offices will remain closed.
Muhebwa asks Sheikh Mubajje to wait for Prof. Kabwegere’s findings and recommendations instead of inciting Muslims to violence. Last year President Yoweri Museveni appointed a committee to investigate causes of Muslim wrangles and recommend possible solutions.