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Inside Museveni’s letter to CJ Dollo halting sale of Muslim properties

Kampala, (UG): President Yoweri Museveni has directed the Chief Justice of Uganda, Mr Alfonse Owinyi-Dollo to intervene and stop the auctioning of Gadaffi National Mosque among other Muslim property.

Through a letter dated December 07, copied to the Vice President, Speaker of Parliament, Prime Minister, Attorney General and the Supreme Mufti of Uganda, the President expressed with profound shock how a judge issued orders for a national monument to go under the hammer.

Museveni in the one-paged letter says he was informed by Mufti Mubajje about the ongoing quarrel around the sale of some Moslem property and that he had neglected the matter because he thought institutions such as the judiciary would resolve the matter.

“I have got a letter from His Eminence Mubajje, the Mufti of Uganda, regarding the quarrel about the sales of Moslem properties. The letter is dated the 29th of November, 2023. I had been hearing about those wrangles, but I had not focused my attention to them because I knew there are capable National Institutions responsible for those issues, especially the Judiciary you head,” Museveni’s letter reads in part.

The President further reveals that he was surprised to learn that among the property to be sold is the national mosque at Old Kampala and wondered, which sane person (judge) would permit such a thing to be done.

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“However, I was most surprised to read in Mufti Mubajje’s letter that among the Muslim properties to be affected is the national mosque at Old Kampala!! Really!! What sane person, let alone a judge, can make such orders? How can a mosque or church be attached for debts carelessly entered into by officials of that faith? If there is no law protecting institutions of worship, then common sense is there,” writes Museveni.

President Museveni then ended the letter by directing the Chief Justice to investigate and review the matter to restore sanity.

“I, therefore, request you to review this matter yourself and see how to restore sanity. His Eminence Mubajje alleges other examples of misconduct and collusion. You should study all those,” Mr Museveni said, adding that “the NRM ‘freedom fighters’ and the government they head cannot be associated with sick logic.”

Seven days after his letter, the Court of Appeal yesterday issued a stay of execution for the auction.
“…We grant a stay of execution pending the hearing of the pending appeal. We shall give detailed reasons on notice,” the court held.

President Museveni’s letter to CJ Dollo

Court Ruling

The saga emanates from a court ruling issued on November 16, by the Commercial Division of the High Court that ordered for the auctioning of properties belonging to the Muslim community in recovery of a Shs19 billion debt owed to businessman Justus Kyabahwa.

The attachment order arose after the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council sold community land in Sembabule District to Mr Kyabahwa for Shs 3.5 billion in 2020, yet was already leased out to someone else.

The businessman asked for a refund, leading to the accumulation of a debt of Shs19 billion. The ruling dictated that unless the money owed was paid by December 21, the said properties including the Gadaffi National Mosque were to be auctioned to the general public.

What are the properties?

A court attachment order seen by this publication indicates that among the properties listed for auctioning include; land comprised in leasehold register Volume KKCA 149 Folio 16 land at Kampala City William Street 30, land comprised in leasehold register volume 2771 Folio 2, Old Kampala Plot 23-25 where the Gaddafi National Mosque sits, Kyadondo Block 195 Plot 5463 land at Kyanja, and one Square Mile of land at Bukwe, Hoima road.

Others are; a one-acre piece of land located at Lumbas, Jinja, a Plot of land at Mbale, shares in Uganda Ranchers Ltd and Commercial Holdings Ltd; subsidiaries to Uganda Moslem Supreme Council that owns two square miles of land at Migyera-Buluri and a plot in Entebbe opposite Victoria Mall.

The attachment court order arose out of a protracted sale of land in which the UMSC sold land located in Sembabule District to Kyabahwa at Shs3.5 billion.

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However, Kyabahwa could not take possession of the said land since it was already leased out to Enterprise Handling Services Limited (ENHAS) for 15 years from 2013 to 2028. So, since Kyabahwa could not take possession of the land, the UMSC was supposed to refund his money immediately but did not and had not paid him for the past 15 months.

This saw interest charged at 12 per cent per month, catapulting the money that the UMSC is supposed to pay him to amount to about Shs19b.

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