Sheikh Ramadhan Mulindwa, the Luweero district Kadhi stormed out of meeting convened to resolve disagreements over the establishment of a market on land belonging to Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) in Luwero town.
The meeting held at Luwero Girls’ Primary School was called to resolve a disagreement between Muslim leadership in the district and Luweero Town Council authorities following a decision by the Luweero Muslim leadership to offer part of a 20-acre-piece of land in the town for the establishment of an agricultural market.
Erastus Kibirango, the Luwero District LC V Chairperson, invited Abdul Nadduli, the Vice-Chairman of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, District Kadhi Sheikh Ramadhan Mulindwa, town clerk Irene Nakamatte, LC 3 Chairperson, Chris Johns Buwembo and leaders of the Kibuli based faction to the meeting.
However, when Sheikh Mulindwa turned up, he asked Kibirango to suspend the meeting on grounds that he wasn’t invited formally and that it had been hijacked by Muslim leaders who pay allegiance to Kibuli who were mobilized to fight the establishment of the market.
Mulindwa also criticized Nadduli for usurping his roles as district Kadhi before storming out of the meeting in protest. He told URN later that the market will continue operating at all costs and asked the town council authorities to stop interfering in Muslim affairs.
The members also decided to eject Denes Sekabira, the Katikamu North Member of Parliament who had come to attend the meeting but Nadduli insisted that only Muslim leaders and town council officials discuss the matter. Shortly after Sekabira’s eviction, vendors besieged the meeting protesting what they called unfair treatment of their leaders.
John Masereka, who led the vendors, said those who stayed behind in the meeting were biased against them, adding that they didn’t expect a fair discussion. He said that the Kadhi allocated them space to erect stalls in good faith, arguing that it would be unfair for the leaders to block the move.
A team of police officers under the command of the District Criminal Intelligence Officer, Alex Emoloit rushed to the school and calmed the vendors before the leaders agreed to suspend the meeting. Chris Johns Buwembo, the Luwero town council LC 3 Chairperson, said that the protests were uncalled off and accused politicians of inciting the vendors.
Buwembo also criticized Sheikh Mulindwa for disrespecting fellow leaders and intolerance. He insisted that the town council has not authorized the establishment of the market on the said land and asked vendors to join gazetted markets.
Erastus Kibirango, the Luwero District LC V Chairperson said that he was forced to suspend the meeting till Monday next week because of the Kadhi’s decision to walk out, saying that they didn’t want to discuss the matter in his absence.
Abdul Nadduli, the Vice Chairman of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council declined to comment on the matter, saying that he will do so after their next meeting. He, however, backed the calls by members of the Kibuli faction that the vendors be evicted from the land on grounds that it may compromise their faith.
The leaders argue that it may be difficult to stop vendors from selling non-permissible stuff like alcohol and pork on their land if they are allowed to operate there. In 2017, Luwero town council attempted to relocate the weekly market to the same land drawing protests from a section of Muslims.