Uganda: Old Kampala, Kibuli Muslim Factions in Fresh Row Over Land

Kampala — A fresh row has erupted among Muslim factions over a reported lease of a prime golf course land to an international company by Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC).

The contested land that measures 0.205 hectares sits on Plot 6, Kitante Close in Kololo, an upscale Kampala city suburb.

The land was allocated to the Muslim community by former President Idi Amin, who played a pivotal role in the formation of UMSC in 1972 as an umbrella organisation for all Muslims in the country.

Talking to the media at Wandegeya Mosque on Friday last week, the Kibuli Muslim faction spokesperson, Sheikh Nuhu Muzaata Batte, vowed to block the takeover of the land by the developer, saying the move was a plot by the UMSC leadership to sell off the land.

Sheikh Muzaata also said they would soon make a big pronouncement in regard to Muslim properties, including the Migeera farm, whose ownership is contested.

But the UMSC secretary general, Hajj Ramadhan Mugalu, dismissed the allegations, saying: "We have the land tittle for Plot 6, Kitante Close in the city suburbs of Kololo," he told the media on Thursday.

He also lashed out at UMSC critics, saying they are being sponsored by land grabbers to frustrate their initiative to recover the more than 860 UMSC properties.

Hajj Mugalu said a letter circulating on social media indicating they had leased out the land to International Projects Company Ltd is a forgery.

The letter, dated April 17, 2018, and purported issued by Hajj Mugalu, indicates the land was leased out to International Projects Ltd at Shs700m for a period of 99 years.

But the letter states that International Projects Company Ltd would only take possession of the land upon payment of Shs400m.

"We have not had any transaction in regard to the Kitante land and we still have the land tittle. I advise Muslims to always inquire from us [UMSC] about Muslim issues in the country to avoid being misled by self-seekers," Hajj Mugalu said.

But Hajj Mugalu revealed that the Kitante land was grabbed in the 1980s and carved out, with a big portion going to the golf club, and the rest of the land subdivided into various plots and sold off.

"We have reached out to the relevant authorities in the government and they have accepted to return it such that the Muslim community benefits from it," he said.

Sheikh Muzaata blamed the continued wrangle among Muslims on the failure by government to implement the recommendations made by a committee chaired by Prof Tarsis Kabwegyere. In 2012, President Museveni appointed a committee to identify the root cause of Muslim wrangles and recommend a durable solution, but to date, the stalemate has not been resolved.

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