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Luwero LC V Chairperson Mediate UMSC, UMEA Conflict Over Supervision of Muslim Founded Schools


The Luwero Local Council V Chairperson, Erasto Kibirango has chaired a meeting aimed at resolving a dispute between the Education Department of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council-UMSC and Uganda Muslim Education Association-UMEA Ltd over the supervision of Muslim-founded Schools.

The Luwero Chief Administrative Officer – CAO Elizabeth Namanda convened the meeting upon receiving a request from the Kibuli-based Uganda Muslim Education Association Ltd- UMEA Ltd

In the said letter, the UMEA Ltd Secretary General, Haj Abubakar Kakembo noted that their Association dates back to the 1940s prior to the establishment of UMSC. He explained that UMEA was established as an Education body that manages Muslim education.

Kakembo however, noted they had failed to perform their work in Luwero District due to “interference” from UMSC Luwero District Officials led by the Kadhi Sheikh Ramadhan Mulindwa.

The UMEA officials were thrown into panic when Sheikh Juma Bakhit Cucu showed up unannounced for the meeting held at the district council hall Wednesday, Aug 17th 2022.

They kept engaging various local government officials before the meeting began and appeared to have reached common ground on how the meeting should proceed, which delayed the meeting for almost 2hrs.

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Finally, the LC V chairperson called the meeting to order that was attended by key officials including District Education Officer – DEO Ms Florence Bbosa, District Inspector of Schools- DIS, Yusuf Kamulegeya and Secretary for Education, among others.

More drama was ensured when the time for self-introduction came as some renowned members of the UMEA delegation led by Mr Abdu- Nasser Kagimu Kiwanuka declined to mention their official titles, which they often use as the breakaway leaders of the Kibuli-based parallel Muslim leaders under Sheikh Muhammad Galabuzi. They instead used their UMEA titles, which they claimed is independent and all-inclusive with offices at Kibuli hill too.

During the meeting, Mr Abdu Nasser Kagimu Kiwanuka detailed the background of UMEA Ltd, adding that they were running Muslim education smoothly until when the UMSC Secretary General in the year 2016 authored a letter challenging their legality.

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“We thought of going to court but because we realized that we are all Muslim brothers we left it after all we all know that UMEA founded by our fathers is the custodian of all Muslim Schools, even though they are known as UMEA schools,” Kiwanuka emphasized. Adding that “We are a registered entity and it is the reason why the Education Ministry involves us in all its activities.

The Luwero Kadhi Sheikh Ramadhan Mulindwa, who first spoke on behalf of UMSC informed the participants that the former CAO had long resolved the dispute over the supervision of Muslim-founded schools when he directed Headteachers of Muslim Schools to work in conjunction with his office.

He also noted that according to the UMSC education policy, UMSC is the foundation body of Muslim schools and that the names of persons proposed for appointment on all School Management Committees are supposed to be endorsed by the District Kadhi before they are forwarded to the DEO for action.

He noted that there was confusion in only 2 out of the 35 gov’t Aided Muslim Schools where some individuals are resisting UMSC to feature as their foundation body. Sheikh Mulindwa noted that these individuals who claim that since the Muslim Schools are identified as UMEA schools it implies that it is foundation body should therefore be UMEA and yet there are two UMEAs.

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“We wish to differentiate between the two,” he said and requested Sheikh Juma Bakhit Cucu to clarify. In his presentation, Sheikh Cucu gave a detailed history of how Muslim education was formulated during the British colonial rule when they advised Muslims through their various factions to establish one single Secretariat through, which the secular curriculum was to be introduced.

It was through this same Secretariate that they would extend grants and financial aid to uplift Muslim Founded Schools. Consequently, in 1944 a meeting of all Muslim faction leaders of the time was held where they embraced the idea leading to the establishment of the Uganda Muslim Education Association- UMEA which was formerly registered in 1947.

The association was spearheaded by Seven elected Trustees with the late Prince Al Haj Badru Kakungulu as its President, the late Haj Ramadhan Kakande Gava as the Secretary and the late Haj. Musa Kasule as the Treasurer.

UMEA operated directly under the Colonial Gov’t until when Uganda attained independence in 1962. With the new changes in Gov’t, under the late President Obote in 1964, the government took drastic measures, which nationalized education and led to the closure of UMEA. Sheikh Cucu read excerpts from a book titled the Spread of Islam authored by Prof. Abdu. B. Kasozi and the revised 3rd edition UMEA pamphlet signed by Haj. Abubaker Kakembo.

And that according to the same pamphlet on page, 5 in the last paragraph, UMEA conceded that with the establishment of UMSC in 1972, an Education Office was set up to take charge of Muslim education needs in the Country.

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Sheikh Cucu went on to explain that the UMSC Education department has been operating since the 1970s even when the founders of UMEA were still alive and many were appointed as UMSC leaders like the late Prince Badru Kakungulu who became the national Chairman and by the time he died in 1991, UMSC was still incharge of Muslim Schools

Sheikh Cucu elaborated that in 1995, a team of 5 directors formed a share limited Company, which they later registered as UMEA Ltd which is different from the earlier UMEA of 1947. They started authoring letters on forged letterheads bearing the registration Number of the 1947 UMEA purporting to be the original UMEA yet there is no link between the two entities. “They even went ahead to claim that UMSC had surrendered all Schools under its management.

“Do these people have any document from UMSC returning these Schools to them?,” Sheikh Bakhit inquired. It was at this juncture that Sheikh Cucu disclosed that UMEA Ltd has never been mandated by the Muslim community to manage Muslim education and is not even accountable to anyone.
“They have deliberately caused a lot of confusion, unless they repent, UMSC has no option but to drag them to Court so that Issue is settled once and for all,” Sheikh Cucu warned.

Sheikh Cucu submitted that for a long UMSC suffered a barrage of insults for alleged failure to perform more especially in the School Inspection, which called for quick action without further delay.

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The Luwero Local Council Officials expressed bewilderment about UMEA’s history and asked to go for round table discussions as the revelations were beyond their compression. To their surprise, none of the UMEA officials refuted the historical accounts. They instead argued that where there is contention, area Mosque congregants should be requested to forward the proposed names of the School Management Committee, while the UMSC stuck to its education policy.
The Luwero UMSC District Education Officer Abdallah Juma Farus noted that they are ready to incorporate competent Muslims who are known to belong to rival camps for the sake of uplifting Muslim education, which the meeting embraced.

In attendance were Abdu Bachou, the former UMSC Luwero District Secretary, County Sheikhs Hadad Tadiya Bombo, Swaib Rajab Yiga Bamunanika, Abdu- Latif Wakira Kikuysa, Said Nyanzi Zirobwe, Bashir Kalanzi Bututumula, amongst.

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