Tuesday February 11 2014

Muslims are not marginalised

Allegations have been put forward by Kawempe North MP Latif Sebaggala who is also the parliamentary Imam, in the Daily Monitor of Febuary 10 that the President has from time to time appointed Ugandans to various government offices notably, cabinet ministers, and heads of constitutional bodies, government agencies, judicial officers, permanent secretaries and ambassadors at the exclusion of Muslims. We all know that Uganda is a secular state in a sense that every Ugandan is free to practice and profess any religion.

There is no law or policy in Uganda that provides for appointment of any person basing on religious background in the public sector which also stretches to the private sector unless otherwise for instance a non Muslim cannot be appointed as Imam similarly a Muslim can’t be appointed as archbishop.

I personally have never witnessed any public service job advertisement that excludes Muslims as eligible applicants. Of all people Sebaggala should know that nominations are not based on one’s religion but potential, academic credentials, probity, conduct, and expertise of which the list is not exhaustive depending on the nature of the job but not solely religion as he puts it.

I dare him to come up with a list of Muslims who he alleges were competent to take on various posts but were not appointed simply because they were Muslims. If he does that, then we shall believe his assertions but if not then such assertions amount to desperate and selfish interests .The 1995 Constitution provides for economic rights to all persons by allowing such persons to practice and profess any occupation so long as it is lawful under Article40 (2) of the same. There is nothing like discrimination of the Muslims and they are not a Marginalised group because they have always enjoyed all rights entitled to them by virtue of the fact that they are human beings.

All is not lost for Sebaggala, If he is aggrieved, Article 137 of the 1995 Constitution provides that he can petition the Constitutional Court for redress since he accuses the President and the Speaker of Parliament for not answering his cries .What will happen if every religion’s faction leader or representative comes out and claims they are not treated fairly? Soon it will stretch to tribe, race, historical background as a consideration for appointment. If this matter is not carefully handled it can spark off hatred and ridicule among masses basing on religious beliefs.
Brian Kisomose.

School of Law Makerere University.