Prof Dr. Muhammadi Lubega Kisambira has been elected the chairperson of the top most national position of the Uganda Muslin Supreme Council (UMSC) during a long-awaited election that was concluded by the General Assembly on Saturday.
Kisambira emerged as the winner with 119 votes followed by Sheikh Kassim Kamugisha with 116 votes while Twaha Gwaivu managed less than 12 votes.
Kisambira was immediately sworn in as the UMSC national chairperson for 2022- 2026.
Muzamir Abon from the West Nile region emerged as the winner of the position of deputy vice chairperson.
The other candidates were Prof. Dr. Edris Sserugo Kasenene, the former UMSC Secretary General, Ismail Kyooma Baguma from Ankole-Kigezi region, Yunus Mugabe from Bunyoro Toro Muslim region, and Dr. Haroon Sinan Ganatusanga from East Buganda Muslim Region
At least 250-member assembly delegates representing 77 Muslim Districts under 10 Muslim regions and ten nominees of the Mufti from the same regions cast their votes in a heated general assembly chaired by the Mufti, Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje.
Mityana and Mubende didn’t send representatives since the UMSC Electoral Commission canceled the results from Mityana due to malpractice. Elections didn’t take place in Mubende due to restrictions resulting from the Ebola outbreak.
The delegates arrived on Friday afternoon of December 2, 2022 for accreditation and were covered in the UMSC conference on Saturday morning for serious deliberations amidst tight security in and around the UMSC headquarters at Old Kampala Mosque.
Mubaje called the assembly to order shortly after the UMSC electoral commission deputy chairperson Abubakar Were Wadangho presented the newly elected members who were duly sworn in by the chairperson of the commission Omar Muhammad Wasswa.
At the commencement of the deliberations characterized by tension fueled by a lot of excitement and anxiety in different camps, the chair cited flaws in the nomination of candidates for the position of chairperson and his deputy for failing to comply with the constitution.
This drew intense debate among delegates saying the commission was independent by the UMSC amended constitution as provided for under article 3 (1, 2(f).
Wesswa emphasized the independence and neutrality of the commission.
He however noted that the commission had earlier identified a lacuna in the constitution that calls for special guidelines and for purposely conducting elections that will be ratified by the Joint Session comprising the college of Sheikhs and Executive committee that wasn’t in place.
Wesswa stuck to his guns that the commission was right to nominate the candidates in good faith.
“The EC drew the attention of the council advocates about the lacuna but still no positive response was received,” he said.
He asked the House to proceed with the agenda as they had prepared with the election of the candidates to which the session chair declined.
He ordered fresh nominations of candidates. Immediately, four candidates were proposed for the position of UMSC Chairperson including Prof. Dr. Muhammadi Lubega Kisambira, Haj Hassan Basajjabalaba, Twaha Gwaivu, and Sheikh Kassim Kamugisha.
Using the Constitution as a guiding tool, the Mufti as Session Chair cited Article 4 (2) which stipulates that a candidate has to be a Sunni Muslim, 40 years and above, a holder of a Bachelor’s degree, nonpartisan, and doesn’t hold any political office, and never convicted of any criminal charges under the laws of Uganda or has never been successfully impeached by UMSC at any time, and that person has to be knowledgeable in Islam, and he can memorize and recite at least any twenty surahs of the Quran.
It was at this stage that Haj Hassan Basajjabalaba was put on task to explain how he vacated the same post he occupied a couple of years ago. In his defense, the businessman vehemently denied being successfully impeached, saying the process wasn’t conclusive and that is why there was no certified document to prove the contrary.
In his ruling, the session chair disclosed how subsequent deliberations were carried out since he chaired the proceedings that led to his impeachment and ruled out Basajjabalaba from the race.
It was approaching 4;30 pm when the delegates began to cast their ballots.