UMSC unveils Shs13 billion budget for Namugongo Muslim Martyrs site

The artistic impression of the proposed new Mosque at the Muslim Martyrs site, Namugongo. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • According to Prof Badru Kateregga, the chairperson of the Namugongo Muslim Martyrs site construction committee, the budget will soon be presented to the government for approval.

The Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) has unveiled Shs13b budget for the redevelopment of the Namugongo Muslim Martyrs site.

According to Prof Badru Kateregga, the chairperson of the Namugongo Muslim Martyrs site construction committee, the budget will soon be presented to the government for approval.

The committee, Prof Kateregga said has also regained control of part of the site which individuals had grabbed.

“The clique had erected several kiosks and a market on the land and rented them out for their personnel benefit,” he said while presenting the progress report to Mufti of Uganda Sheikh Shaban Mubajje at UMSC headquarters in Old Kampala on Wednesday.

However, Prof Kateregga revealed that the committee had drawn an architectural plan for the site and has so far mobilised up to Shs100 million from the government for the construction of new laboratory facilities at the mosque, which is near completion.

"The construction works are moving on smoothly and very soon they will be completed," Prof Kateregga added.

He said the next phase will be to mobilise money to erect a modern mosque, museum, shopping centre, offices and underground parking.

“Government is recognizing Namugongo as a tourist site, so like it invested in the Catholic and Anglican sites to make them look magnificent, we are confident that they are going to do the same for the Muslims Martyrs,” he said.

Prof Kateragga told Sheikh Mubajje that his committee has also authored a history book titled: “A brief on Shuhada’U Muslim Martyrs in Uganda '' as was requested by the government and presented it to President Museveni.

He cited several challenges including the hostile reception from some Muslim clerics, who have repeatedly condemned the project on grounds that it goes against the teachings of Islam.

In his response, Mufti Mubajje thanked the team for the tremendous work done so far and after his critical examination of the architectural drawings, advised the committee to adjust the design to conform with the Islamic architecture that includes visible minaret, and domes with underground parking and shopping space.

Muslim martyrs site needs government support - Prof Kateregga
He revealed that President Museveni is fully aware that UMSC originally possessed six acres of land at Namugongo, which was grabbed by many unscrupulous individuals years ago.
"So, the President directed that an assessment be carried out in order to compensate the squatters,” Sheikh Mubajje said as he directed the committee to liaise with the UMSC Secretary General, Mr Ramathan Mugalu to follow up on the matter without any further delay.

Story of Muslim martyrs
Kabaka Muteesa I converted to Islam and enforced changes in the Buganda lifestyle.

He led daily prayers, made fasting mandatory and gave the Muslims licence to slaughter animals, among other things.
However, in 1874 (some sources say 1876) grave disagreements broke up with the coming of a section of Muslims from Egypt and Turkey.

They detested the fact that Muslims did not face in the direction of Mecca during prayers; and that Muteesa was not circumcised yet he was the fountain of Islam in the land.

These disagreements bitterly split Muslims to the extent of refusing to stand behind Muteesa when he led congregational prayers, and abstained from the meat of the animals he slaughtered labelled him Kafir (nonbeliever).

Muteesa ordered the murder of the disobedient Muslims (now martyrs) “because they failed to give Islam a chance to reconcile them."
Over a hundred Muslims were mutilated, tortured and burnt to death on the orders of Kabaka Muteesa I at Namugongo, Nateete, Mulungu, Namungoona and other places.