Mbarara Muslim district leaders led by the Kadhi Sheikh Abdallah Mukwaya, have dispelled the misinformation circulating on various social platforms about the state of affairs of the Muslim Cemetery in the heart of Mbarara City.
In an April 23, 2023 press statement signed by the district Muslim chairperson, Haj Rashid Mukasa, the leaders detail the background of the conflict among the Muslim faithful. The statement notes that the former Muslim district leaders, under the late Sheikh Khamis Kadidi, disposed of the cemetery without the approval of the Mbarara Muslim District Council. “They sold it to the neighboring Petro Station (Tusu) owner, One Tumusiime Sulaiman, for a giveaway price of UGX 400 million, resulting in their dismissal by the UMSC National Management Committee Meeting chaired by the Mufti in 2016,” reads the statement.
According to the statement, three Muslim volunteers, including Haj Issa Kakuule, a renowned Muslim Tabliq leader, Haj Husaini Nsamba, and Mr. Muloodi Moses Gabula, challenged the illegal transfer of the suit property into the purchaser’s name in Mbarara High Court. They were later joined by, the Mbarara UMSC Chairperson and Secretary as part of the complainants. The costly court process dragged on for seven years until the trial judge advised the two parties to have an out-of-court settlement. The judge offered himself to mediate between the parties, and they agreed on a consent judgment based on the following terms:
• Tusu Petro Station owner, Tumusiime Sulaiman, transfers the suit property back into the names of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) Mbarara District.
• In the spirit of give and take and in consideration of the losses incurred on the side of Tusu owner, UMSC agreed to lease the suit property to him for a period of 40 years, provided that he erects a commercial shopping complex where business transactions do not contravene Islamic values.
• Tumusiime Sulaiman agreed to pay a premium of UGX 192 million to UMSC for a period of 40 years.
• Tumusiime Sulaiman is to construct a storied building as per the approved plans by Mbarara City Authorities and shall be in possession of the property until the expiry of his sublease. He shall hand over the building to UMSC while in good condition.
• Both parties agreed to relocate the cemetery to another place provided by the subleases in charge of his three plots of land located at Rubeho in Isingiro District.
The district management was tasked to contact and negotiate with the families of the people buried in the cemetery to allow the exhumation of the remains for the purpose of transferring them to the new cemetery, following established laws.
“Unfortunately, during the exercise, which was done during the daytime, an individual whose name was not disclosed recorded the exercise and maliciously spread it through various social media platforms, falsely claiming that the cemetery had been disposed of by the Mufti of Uganda,” reads the statement. The Muslim leaders note that it was not their intention to disrespect the dead.