UMSC electoral commission chairperson Wesswa suspended

Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje, has suspended the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) Electoral Commission Chairperson Omar Muhammad Wesswa for extorting money from aspirants during election.

Mubaje who is the Mufti of Uganda accused Wesswa of failure to avail the management full reports concerning the concluded UMSC national wide elections as was requested through the office of the Secretary General.

He also accused him of failure to provide accountability of the finances availed for the exercise among others.

Mubaje noted in his suspension letter issued on Monday afternoon dated March 27, 2023 that the move he has taken will "pave way for uninterrupted and transparent investigations into a host of allegations levelled against” UMSC Electoral Commission Chairperson.

He explained that the findings of the investigations will form the basis of discussion for the UMSC Joint Session comprising the College of Eminent Sheikhs and National Executive. 

He said the last decision will be made by the General Assembly.

“As if that wasn't enough, the management still reminded him to present to it explanations as to why the  commission was heard collecting an unspecified amount of money from aspirants for various positions within the UMSC structures,” the letter reads.

Mubaje noted in the letter that he has on several occasions  received complaints from the other electoral commissioners accusing their boss of being a dictator and lacking respect for others.

Wesswa is also accused of failure to hold meetings and provide accountability for the operational funds for the commission and breach of the oaths of secrecy and allegiance, which has resulted into a toxic working environment.

Mubaje directed Wesswa to immediately hand over the office including data, assets to his deputy Abubakar Were Wadagho pending further instructions.

In 2022, UMSC Independent Electoral Commission organised an election for the new office bearers in 15,000 mosques countrywide. Leaders elected here are the ones that participate at the national level.

According to different sources, UMSC had budgeted about Shs 6.9 billion for the election of new Muslim leaders. The said funds according to media reports, were expected to be mobilised from the Muslim community and well-wishers. However, early last year parliament allocated Shs 2.5 billion to UMSC as government contribution towards the constitutional review and election processes.

In that period, the leadership of UMSC was locked in controversy over those elections.

The controversy came up in July when the current leadership led by Mubaje was accused of organising a general assembly meeting on constitutional amendments without consulting the entire Muslim community as was planned.

Some members of the general assembly rejected the development and went to court to challenge the process.

Although the previous general assembly had left in place an Electoral Commission, the election process didn’t kick off because the body had to harmonise a few issues that were created by the newly enacted constitution.

Mubaje and UMSC leadership have among others been accused of grabbing Muslims’ properties and staying in office illegally although the UMSC constitution was amended that extended his tenure in office this year.

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