UMSC defers General Assembly as new constitution delays

Gaddafi Mosque, also known as Uganda National Mosque in Kampala 

What you need to know:

  • UMSC last organised elections of members of the General Assembly in 2012 and for the Mufti in 2000.

The Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) has postponed the planned General Assembly after its constitutional review committee failed to submit a new draft constitution in the stipulated timeframe.
The 230-member General Assembly, which is the top decision-making organ of UMSC, was expected to convene between June 26 and June 28 to adopt the new constitution and also release a new roadmap for the election of new Muslim leaders but this will not be possible, according to the organisers. 
In a letter dated June 13 and signed by UMSC General Secretary Mr Ramathan Mugalu said the General Assembly had been postponed to July 5-7.
“The General Assembly meeting which had been scheduled for 26th -28th June 2022 has been postponed to 5th -7th 2022 from 9:00am at a venue to be communicated later ,” the letter addressed members of the General Assembly and District Khadis ,reads in part.
  
 The assembly last sat two years ago yet it is supposed to sit at least once a year, according to the current UMSC constitution. 
The UMSC Executive Committee meeting has also been pushed to July 2 while the Joint Session will convene between July 3 and 4.
 When contacted, Mr Mugalu defended the rescheduling of the meetings and said it will allow them more time to plan better.
“It wasn’t making sense to convene the meetings when there are things that are not ready. So, we are going to put in place whatever is needed to have fruitful deliberations,” he said on Friday.
 
The UMSC elections, which were initially scheduled for March -May, didn’t take place due to lack of funds and delayed completion of the constitutional review process. A six-member team led by Al-Hajj Edris Kasenene, the former UMSC secretary, was tasked to review the constitution. Other members on the constitutional review team are ; Eng. Zaid  Kavuma, former UMSC secretary general, Hajj Sulaiman Musana ,Omar Muhammad Wasswa , Hajjat Ladhiya Namakula Lukwiya and  Hajj Wahab Rugasa.
It is the amended new constitution which is supposed to be followed while electing new Muslim local leaders’ right from the mosque level to the UMSC general assembly. 
Some Shs6.9b had earlier been budgeted for the elections, but UMSC failed to raise the money.   
Last month, Parliament approved Shs2.5b to facilitate UMSC electoral activities.

But early this month , some members of the General Assembly came out and faulted the UMSC executive for summoning the Assembly ,insisting that its tenure had already expired and  not eligible to transact any business on behalf of UMSC.
 “…he [Hajj Abdul Nadduli, the acting chairperson UMSC executive committee] therefore has no powers whatsoever to convene a general assembly, actually, currently he has no constitutional general assembly to be convened,” a joint statement issued on June 9 by Hajj Hussein Kule ,Sheikh Ahmad Barongo ,reads in part . 
Both Hajj Kule and Sheikh Barongo claim that the only procedure for constituting a general assembly is through an election organised by the UMSC Electoral Commission, which is currently not in place.

“But all that is legally impossible now because of the expiry of the General Assembly before constituting the Electoral Commission.” the statement adds 
 After electing the Muslim leaders at lower levels as planned, the Muslim faithful will shift focus to electing a new mufti when the tenure of the current office bearer Sheikh Shaban Mubajje expires in 2025.
UMSC last organised elections of members of the General Assembly in 2012 and for the Mufti in 2000. The current UMSC constitution was last amended in 1987.

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