Mufti Mubajje raises 22 grounds to stay in office

Uganda Muslim Supreme Council members led by Hajji Abdul Kiyimba outside the High Court at Twed Towers in Kampala on January 23, 2023.  PHOTO/ ABUBAKER LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • The mufti said businessman Basajjabalaba’s case is not in public interest.

Mufti Shaban Ramathan Mubajje and Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) yesterday raised 22 grounds to block the implementation of a court order that suspended the activities of the council.
The grounds are contained in Mufti Mubajje’s application filed at the High Court. 

On January 10, the chief magistrate of Mengo Court, Mr Patrick Ngereza Talisuna, issued an interim order directing Mufti Mubajje and UMSC to halt operations until January 27.
This stemmed from a court case filed by a faction at Old Kampala led by Hassan Basajjabalaba. The faction challenged the elections for the council chairperson and secretary general held last month.  Mr Basajjabalaba, who contested for the chairperson slot, was disqualified based on the amended UMSC constitution which bars individuals impeached by any of its organs from vying for elective positions.  

 But Mufti Mubajje and UMSC through their lawyer, Mr Musa Kabega, have opposed the order. They said the case was heard and determined ex-parte (in their absen-tia), that the case was withdrawn on December 5, 2022, and later reinstated. They also said there was no balance of public interest because it is only one individual complaining and yet the activities of UMSC, a religious organisation, have been halted. 

Mufti Shaban Ramathan Mubajje 

The religious leader also said the chief magistrate acted illegally.
“Even if he had the powers, he entertained an oral application and granted an interim order well aware there was no service of court process upon the applicants, he introduced new parties in the matter , ignored to follow the procedural requirements and the rules of natural justice,” reads in part the application.

The application described the UMSC as a religious body that brings together all the Muslims in Uganda, organises prayers, coordinates Muslim leadership all over the country, plans for the annual pilgrimage to Mecca and coordinates the collection of obligatory charity (zakat), among others. 
However in their response, businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba through his lawyer of Lwere, Lwanyaga and Company Advocates noted that the application for revision was ‘’brought in bad faith, an abuse of the court process, premature and only meant to annoy, embarrass and tarnish the image and name of the trial chief magistrate’’. 

“The applicants have not at all in this application and the affidavit in support demonstrated how the learned trial chief magistrate lacked jurisdiction and or over exercised his jurisdiction in entertaining and leaving an application which is an independent cause brought by way of contempt of court order,” Mr Basajjabalaba noted in his response.
Mr Basajjabalaba became a member of the UMSC general assembly after he was elected the chairperson of Bushenyi Muslim District last November. 
High Court Judge Esta Nambayo, presiding over the new case, has ordered Mufti Mubajje and UMSC to file their rejoinder on January 25. Mr Basajjabalaba’s lawyers will submit their response on January 30  and Ms Nambayo will meet the parties on February 3. 


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