Iddi Magezi, the chairman Bwikya Mosque Executive Committee has opened a police case against the Mufti of Uganda sheikh Shaban Ramadan Mubaje and officials of Bunyoro District Muslim Council for allegedly breaking into the Imam’s house.
A case of malicious damage to property and criminal trespass with reference number SD 36/16/04/13 has been entered at Hoima Central police station. On April 5, sheikh Mubaje visited Bwikya mosque to intervene in the long standing wrangles between Bwikya Muslim Community and a group of Muslims at Hoima town mosque backed by the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.
Trouble started in 2011 after a realization that the Bwikya Mosque land title processed in 2010 was put in the names of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.
The Bwikya group has since demanded a change of the title to Bwikya Muslim Community in vain. The conflict that has seen fights and violent confrontations between the two Muslim factions reached height in October last year, when the Bwikya faction confiscated the keys to the Immam’s house, then used by the district Khadhi.
The group demanded that Uganda Muslim Supreme council pays rent for the house in vain, forcing them to lock it. As a result, a group of Muslims petitioned the Mufti to intervene. Mubajje ordered the padlocks broken and handed the house to the district Khad Sheik Musa Babanja. This did not please the Bwikya faction prompting them to file a police complaint.
Iddi Magezi, the lead complainant accuses the Mufti of taking sides in the conflict. Magezi says the Mufti should have first met both parties before ordering for the removal of the padlocks. He wants the Muslim head and his group prosecuted for malicious damage. Magezi explains that they have already engaged their lawyers of Baingana and company advocates to petition High court on the eviction of the district Khadhi and the change of the land title.
Bwikya Mosque located on Bwikya hill about a kilometer away from Hoima town on Kampala road, sits on a 12 acre piece of land. Mosque officials say the land was given to them by Omukama Sir Tito Winyi of Bunyoro in 1958, long before the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council was established in 1972. Patrick Mwebaze, the Deputy Hoima District Criminal Investigation Officer confirms the case. Mwebaze says however the case filed doesn’t mention Mubajje in particular but rather people behind the house breakage.
He says investigation into the matter have already started to find out who exactly these people are. According to Mwebaze police is currently looking at Malicious Damage and Criminal Trespass.
He explains that the file will be forwarded to the Resident State Attorney for perusal and advice on the proper charges. Efforts to contact Hoima district Khad, Sheik Musa Babanja were fruitless as he was not in office and his known telephone line was switched off at the time.