UMSC faction protests High Court decision over Mubaje’s removal case

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UMSC faction protests High Court decision over Mubaje’s removal case
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Members of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) General Assembly, aligned with former Deputy Mufti Sheikh Abdallah Ssemambo, staged a protest outside the Civil Division of the High Court in Kampala on Wednesday.

Their demonstration was prompted by Justice Douglas Singiza's decision to grant an extended adjournment in the case seeking the removal of Mufti Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje from office.

The proceedings between UMSC and the dissenting group opposing Mufti Sheikh Mubaje’s leadership commenced at the High Court Civil Division in Kampala.

In his introductory remarks, termed as "housekeeping," Judge Dr. Singiza provided background on the case's transfer from the Jinja High Court following directives from the Principal Judge.

He also addressed recent allegations against him, denying accusations of bias supposedly influenced by the UMSC under Mubaje’s leadership.

Instead, he disclosed having been approached with a bribe from the anti-Mubaje faction, which he rejected and was prepared to reveal their identities if necessary.

Justice Singiza then inquired whether any legal representatives objected to his involvement in the case. Both parties confirmed their confidence in his impartiality.

The UMSC was represented by Counsel Musa Kabega, while the opposing faction was led by Counsel Luyimbazi Nalukoola.

Despite hostile remarks aimed at the Principal Judge, supporters of the opposing faction, including Isa Gule, Sheikh Muhammad Irumba, Sulaina Kigongo, Zulaikha Kamara, Sheikh Adam Mbazira, and Musa Muyinda, could not provide substantial reasons to challenge Judge Singiza's jurisdiction over the case.

Following the hearing, Justice Singiza instructed lawyers from both UMSC factions to submit written arguments on all pending applications, including those previously addressed by Justice Farida Shamilah Bukirwa Ntambi, who initially presided over the case before its reassignment.

Luyimbazi Nalukoola raised a preliminary objection that Justice Singiza lacked jurisdiction to hear the case, which was consolidated with other applications. This decision sparked a contentious exchange, with Nalukoola criticizing the judge for not entertaining their preliminary legal challenges.

Nalukoola stated, "The judge is unfamiliar with this case. We tried to argue that the applicants had no valid grounds for action, but he opted to consolidate applications without giving us a chance to be heard, instead instructing us to submit written arguments, which we find inappropriate."

The ongoing legal battle stems from a December 17, 2023, resolution by a faction of UMSC general assembly members to suspend Mufti Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje and appoint Sheikh Abdallah Ssemambo to act in his place.

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