What you need to know:
- The businessman was elected unopposed to the UMSC general assembly.
Businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba has bounced back as a member of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) General Assembly.
His come back puts him among top Muslim leadership, where he used to enjoy leverage a decade ago.
In an election last Friday, Mr Basajjabalaba sailed through opposed as chairperson of Bushenyi Muslim District (Bushenyi, Buhweju, Rubirizi and Mitooma) despite his absence.
“A total of 30 delegates from four Muslim counties of Buhweju, Igara, Bunyaruguru and Ruhinda are the ones who voted for the district chairperson and two representatives to the UMSC general assembly. However, in the case of Bushenyi electoral area, there was no voting because Hajj Basajjabalaba was unopposed,” Mr Quraish Baryamujura, the UMSC returning officer of Bushenyi Muslim District, said.
Mr Basajjabalaba was suspended from UMSC chairmanship in 2010 on grounds that he had failed to complete work on the UMSC perimeter-shopping complex at Old Kampala.
He was replaced with Dr Abdulkadir Baronde, who died in 2020, leaving his deputy Mr Abdul Nadduli in acting capacity until last week.
Mr Baryamujura said one of the delegates nominated Mr Basajjabalaba to the seat.
“Though some mosques didn’t vote because we had gathered information that there was going to be violence, the exercise went on smoothly,” he said.
Mr Adam Ssemugabe, who was also elected to the UMSC general assembly, said they want a leader who will add value to the Muslim community.
“Muslims are not dense, they know what is good for them. The mushrooming mosques you see in our region and other developments were done under the chairmanship of Hajj Basajjabalaba and that is why we have brought him back,” he said.
The third delegate representing Bushenyi in the UMSC general assembly is Sheikh Kassim Shaban.
However, a section of Muslims are dissatisfied with how the election was conducted, accusing the UMSC electoral commission of failing to follow the amended UMSC constitution 2022.
“Our revised UMSC constitution says for one to be a district chairman, they must have passed Senior Four and for one to represent Muslims at UMSC, they must have Senior Six certificate, but some of the representatives are Primary Three dropouts,” Mr Smart Majidu, a Muslim in Bushenyi, said.
Mr Majidu dismissed the election, saying a group of Muslims sat at Basajjabalaba Mosque in Ishaka Town and handpicked their leaders.
“They never followed the procedures because out of the 26 mosques in Bushenyi District, 17 never participated,” he said.
Mr Umar Muhanguzi , another Muslim in Bushenyi, said the process was manipulated by Mr Basajjabalaba for his own interests.
“Our Muslims at the grassroot were intimidated and never participated, some were told they would be charged with treason, which was too unfortunate for us,” he said.
However, Mr Basajjabalaba denied the allegations, saying he does not have power to influence the UMSC electoral commission.
“The allegations levelled against me are not true because the electoral commission is an independent commission established by the Uganda Muslims Supreme Council and I think they did their part as required by the laws,” he said.
Mr Basajjabalaba had earlier demanded that UMSC pays Shs10.2b if it wanted to recover prime plots of land in Kampala that had been leased to Haks Express Ltd.
Mr Basajjabalaba claimed then that Haks Express Ltd, had paid Sh10.2b to rescue the plots that UMSC had leased to several developers. He said Haks acquired the plots after buying out the developers.
When asked whether Mr Basajjabala’s return to UMSC won’t cause fresh friction between him and Mufti Shaban Mubajje , the UMSC spokesperson, Mr Ashiraf Zziwa, declined to comment on the matter.
In other changes, Sheikh Hassan Kamugisha, the Resident City Commissioner of Nakawa Division, Kampala has been elected as UMSC general assembly chairperson, replacing Hajj Abdul Nadduli.
Sheikh Kamugisha is also the director of education and skills development at the Interreligious Council of Uganda and secretary of Sharia in Ankole -Kigezi Muslim region.
Also on the UMSC general assembly is Mr Sulaiman Madada, the former State minister for Elderly and Disabled Persons who was elected to represent Kayunga District, and Democratic Party vice president for western region Imam Makumbi (Isingiro District).
Compiled Milton Bandiho,Felix Ainebyoona & Al-Mahdi Ssenkabirwa