Uganda: Stop Torturing People, Muslim Clerics Tell Govt

Ugandan soldiers beating up Reuters photojournalist James Akena as he covered the protests over the detention of several Opposition MPs in Kampala.

Countrywide — During Idd prayers in different mosques across the country yesterday, Muslim leaders unanimously condemned the torture and use of excessive force in the arrest of Opposition politicians and their supporters during and after the Arua Municipality parliamentary by-election, which was concluded last week.

Masaka

The Municipality Sheikh called for dialogue between the government and Opposition to defuse the current political stalemate in the country.

During his teaching at Masaka Main Mosque, Masaka Municipality County Sheikh Twaha Bugembe said the government's show of might will not bring peace but will instead escalate chaos in the country.

"There is also need for electoral reforms as they have always been demanded by civil society organisations, religious leaders and political actors in the opposition because this is hindrance in the journey towards free and fair elections in the country," he said.

Gulu

Sheikh Musa Khelil, the Acholi Muslim District khadi, called upon President Museveni to pardon the detained Bobi Wine and other opposition politicians and their supporters.

Speaking during the Eid al-Adha celebrations at Gulu Main Mosque, Sheik Khelil said if the government negotiated with the Lord's Resistance Army rebels, there is no reason why such negotiations cannot be extended for Bobi Wine and his co-accused.

Kabale

While at Kirigime Mosque headquarters, the District Khadi in-charge of Rubanda and Rukiga, Sheikh Lule Kabu said: "We pray to Allah to prevail over the rampant murder cases where innocent people are being shot in broad day light while others are murdered using machetes. May Allah eliminate such wrongdoers from our society."

Teso

Various Muslim clerics in Teso Sub-region asked government to stop arresting and shooting politicians who are exercising their right and freedom to oppose bad governance. They said such arrests will breed insecurity in the country. They described the arrests and shootings as cowardly acts of the government.

Luweero

Sheik Mustapha Lule Mutyaba, the Luweero District khadi, said: "Islam embraces dialogue and has no room for torture of suspects. Our government should give room for dialogue. We also call for calmness for all political sides."

However, other Muslim leaders such as Hajj Abdul Nadduli, the Vice Chairperson of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council and Minister without Portfolio, dismissed the proposal for dialogue, saying it's a ploy to sustain the opposition activities to undermine the NRM government.

Ntungamo

The Ntungamo District Imam, Sheikh Rhamathan Rwamahe, asked Muslims to strengthen families and said most of the current challenges in the country begin at family level. The District khadi, Sheikh Swaleh Kashangirwe, asked government to release Ntungamo Municipality MP Mr Gerald Karuhanga to avoid perception of political persecution.

Bugisu

Muslim leaders asked security agencies to desist from use of torture and unnecessary arrests. They said such acts create fear and uncertainty in the country.

Tororo

The Tororo District Kadhi, Sheikh Ibrahim Asante, asked government to strengthen security in the country but condemned the recent arrests and torture of opposition politicians.

Mbarara

Delivering the Idd message from the Mufti of Uganda Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubajje, a member of General Assembly at Uganda Muslim Supreme Council Sheikh Zakiyyu Serunjogi said every Ugandan has a right to support a political party of their choice and should not be persecuted.

Reporting by Robert Muhereza, Felix Warom, Malik Fahad Jingo, Polycap Kalokwera, George Muron, Perez Rumanzi, Dan Wandera, Joseph Omollo, Michael Woniala & Felix Ainebyoona

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