Presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, has promised the Muslim community that if he is elected in 2021, he will free all the Muslim leaders who were arrested in connection with murder of sheiks.
The National Unity Platform (NUP) party leader made the remarks at Kibuli Mosque yesterday during prayers for the late political analyst and Muslim scholar, Anas Kaliisa.
The funeral was also attended by Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu and Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde, among other politicians, who made political statements about the 2021 General Election.
“I would like to assure the Muslims that in my government there will not be such killings of the leaders and no report is released from police. There will not be discriminatory arrests targeting only one religion and all those who were arrested, I assure you that they will be unconditionally released,” Mr Kyagulanyi told the mourners.
His promises to the Muslim community came on the backdrop of several complaints from different mourners who queried circumstances under which their leaders had been killed but the culprits remained free.
Following these indiscriminate killings, many Muslim suspects were arrested by police. Some were later charged in court and convicted on different charges.
In September this year, the Court of Appeal acquitted former Tabliq Sect leader Amir Umar Mohammed Yunus Kamoga, his young brother Sheikh Murta Mudde Bukenya, Sheikh Siraje Kawooya, his brothers Fahad Kalungi and Yusuf Kakande, and Abdul Salam Sekayanja who was a convict of “verbal terrorism” that allegedly led to the killing of two Muslim clerics, Mustafa Bahiga and Hassan Kirya, and the attempted murder of Sheikh Haruna Jjemba.
On February 14, 2020: Sheikh Masudi Mutumba, the Imam of Lwemba Mosque in Lwemba Sub-county in Bugiri District, was shot dead at his home in Busimba Village by unknown assailants riding a motorcycle and became the sixth Muslim cleric to be killed in five years.
On November 26, 2016: Sheikh Mohammed Kiggundu, one of the former commanders of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels, was killed together with his bodyguard Sgt Steven Mukasa in Masanafu, a Kampala suburb.
On June 30, 2015: Sheikh Ibrahim Hassan Kirya, the spokesperson of the Kibuli-based Muslim faction then was also shot dead in Bweyogerere, Wakiso District near his home shortly leaving his escorts.
On May 21, 2015 at around 9:00pm: Sheikh Abdulrashid Wafula, the imam of Bilal Mosque in Mbale Town, was maimed by a shooting in a broad daylight attack in Kireka village in Nakaloke town council, Mbale. The assailants have never been identified.
On December 28, 2014 at around 9:00pm: Sheikh Mustafa Bahiga, a city preacher, was shot dead at Masjid Taquwa Bwebajja Mosque along Entebbe Road after Dakhtur Sheikh Abdul Kadir Muwaya, the Shiiyate shect leader had also been shot dead on Christmas Day.
Lt Gen Tumukunde also assured the Muslim community that he had answers to these grievances and would address them once voted into power.
“I would like to let you know that my nature is action-oriented and I will give you all the answers once I am president. I know what has happened and most of the leaders know that I have been working closely with them,” Gen. Tumukunde told the mourners.
He, however, did not mention the answers he was referring to.
Gen Muntu also tackled the question of equal distribution of positions in government which he said has not been fair to the Muslims.
“We need to change the mindset first before we even look at sharing earthly things. If we do not get the country at heart, some of these positions will be meaningless,” Gen Muntu said.
The Second Deputy Prime Minister Kirunda Kivejinja, who delivered President Museveni’s condolence message, said: “I have been sent by the President to tell you that he is going to work on your issues as the Muslim community. He has been here and he is not going anywhere just as much as I am also here.”
Prince Kassim Nakibinge Kakungulu, the head of the Kibuli Muslim faith, said Kariisa will be buried today in Ruhaama in Ntungamo District, his ancestral home.
“Kariisa has always been my friend. He educated his 18 siblings to different levels. His wife found him dead in his bedroom after complaining of chest congestion. He woke up normal and went to work. He came back home where he met his death,” Nakibinge said.
Abdul Anas Kaliisa was a renowned Muslim scholar and political analyst on different TV and radio talk shows.
He served on the secretariat of the Eminent Council of Sheikhs of Uganda.
He was the former director of Institute of Research and Training and one of the 21 founders and the managing director of House of Zakat and Waqif Uganda.
Dr Kaliisa was also chairman of Muslim Jurists Uganda and profoundly knowledgeable on Islamic theology, law, history and customs.
He is survived by 13 children. He was born in a family of 18.
Dr Kaliisa was the elder brother of Next Media Services chief executive officer Kin Kariisa.