Mubajje case takes new twist, file now sent to High Court
What you need to know:
- Last week, the Mufti and UMSC were issued an injunction stopping them from conducting business in the name of the council.
The case against Mufti Shaban Ramathan Mubajje and Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) has taken a new twist after Principal Judge Flavian Zeija recalled the file for review.
On January 10, the chief magistrate of Mengo Court, Mr Patrick Ngereza Talisuna, issued an interim order directing Mufti Mubajje and UMSC to stop all activities they are conducting in the name of the council until January 27.
However, Mufti Mubajje and UMSC through their lawyer, Mr Musa Kabega, sought a review of the court injunction in the High Court. They raised three grounds, which include the order being heard and determined by ex-parte (when only one side was present), the case was withdrawn on December 5, 2022, and later reinstated and the balance of public interest where only one individual is complaining.
Mr Kabega also revealed that at first, the case had one complainant but later, more were added without following the proper procedure. These include Umaru Sewante, Issa Gule and Sulaina Kikongo.
A letter issued by UMSC secretary general Ramathan Mugalu in response to the Mengo Chief Magistrate court order last week, seen by this newspaper, shows that when the miscellaneous application came up for hearing, the applicants withdrew the application (on December 5, 2022) and the court noted the withdrawal and closed the file.
But on December 21, 2022, businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba filed a suit in the High Court challenging the elections of the national chairperson of UMSC and further sought to annul the victory of Prof Muhammad Lubega on December 3, 2022.
“Mr Basajjabalaba and three others went back to the Chief Magistrate Court in Mengo where the primary case had been withdrawn and filed a new application on January 9 claiming the ex-parte order of December 2, 2022, had been violated,” Mr Mugalu said.
He added: “He further sought an interim order and a temporary injunction in which applications were abandoned and not fixed up to date.”
Mr Mugalu says they filed their defence in the High Court and now await fixing of the hearing to determine the validity of the elections.
Speaking to the media yesterday Mr Swabur Marzuq, Mr Basajjabalaba’s lawyer, said: “When UMSC got knowledge about the order (to stop all activities) they filed two complaints; one at Mengo Magistrate Court and the second at the High Court. In a bid to do justice, the Mengo court instead of hearing the parties, issued two notices for the parties to appear on January 16 (yesterday) and the file was sent to the High Court.”
Mr Marzuq added that the trial magistrate informed the two parties of the recalling of the file by the High Court yesterday.
“Most importantly there was no other action which was done on this file either by Mengo court or any other court and this means that the order that was issued on January 10 still subsists and all activities that are being intended [by UMSC] before that order is set aside are still illegal,” he said.
Mr Abdul Kiyemba, a member of the UMSC general assembly from Lwengo District, said the court order only affects officials who are carrying out activities on behalf of UMSC. He emphasized that the order does not halt the Old Kampala Mosque activities as had earlier been claimed by UMSC officials.
On December 3, 2022, UMSC held elections for the council chairperson. One of the aspirants was Mr Basajjabalaba. However, based on the amended UMSC constitution, Mufti Mubajje disqualified the businessman, who in turn protested the move.
Mr Basajjabalaba filed a case in the Mengo Chief Magistrate Court contesting the actions of Mufti Mubajje through the UMSC to disqualify him as a candidate for the elections of the chairperson of the general assembly.