Visiting Muslims blocked from entering Hoima mosque as rift with Regional Khadhi deepens

Mr Ali Babi speaks angrily about the disharmony created among Hoima Muslims. (Photo: Gad Asaba).

The Muslim faithful from other mosques in Hoima were on Friday blocked from holding Juma (Friday) prayers from Hoima Town Mosque after it emerged that there was suspected foul play.

Rumours had it that the Bunyoro/Tooro Regional Khadhi, Sheikh Dr Muhammad Irumba, had allegedly congregated his loyalists to attend Juma prayers at Hoima Town Mosque where he is faced with strong opposition from critics over an impending attachment of the mosque for failing to settle his outstanding fuel bill at Total Petrol station in Hoima city.

Word had it that Sheikh Irumba told his faithful followers that the Mufti of Uganda, His Eminence Sheikh Shaban Ramadan Mubajje, was scheduled to pray from Hoima Town Mosque. This raised dust from a section of Moslems accusing Sheikh Irumba of purportedly conniving with Sheikh Mubajje to have the mosque properties attached.

Earlier this month, the Hoima Chief Magistrate’s court ordered Majimojo Auctioneers and Court Bailiffs to auction Hoima Town Mosque and its properties to pay over Shs40m to Alice Joy Kabateraine, the director Total Petrol Station in Hoima and to Majimoto Auctioneers after Sheikh Irumba failed to clear the debt he accumulated after consuming fuel worth over Shs10m allegedly in the name of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC).

However, Hoima Town Mosque Moslem leaders denied knowledge of the deal and debt, thus, occasioning clashes between the two sides. A section of Moslems alleged that the matter was orchestrated by both Sheikh Irumba and the Mufti of Uganda. However, the latter denied he knew the deal.

As the rift deepened, yesterday, some Muslims from other mosques were denied entry into Hoima Town Mosque with the Imam of Buhanika Mosque, Muhammad Musinguzi, saying the regional Khadhi instructed all Moslems to pray from Hoima Town Mosque.

However, to his surprise, he and others were denied access to the House of Allah.

Audio: Musinguzi on blockade (Runyoro/Rutooro)
It is alleged that while at Bwikya Mosque, there was some misunderstandings among Moslems there. (Photo: Gad Asaba).

Mr Ali Babi, one of the opinion leaders at the mosque accused Sheikh Irumba of stirring disharmony among Moslems in Hoima. He said before the position of a regional khadhi was created, there had never been any arrests, clandestine deals and others that divided up Hoima Moslems.

Mr Babi wondered how the Mufti was allegedly visiting Hoima Town Mosque without its leaders’ knowledge-the reason Moslems from other mosques were blocked from praying from there.

Audio: Babi on alleged ill motives (English)

Sheikh Sulait Kabagaire criticised Moslems who blocked their fellow saying they formed a cocoon which saw them elect themselves insisting that the leadership of Hoima Town Mosque is operating unlawfully.

Audio: Kabagaire on illegality (Runyoro/Rutooro)

Following the blockade, the visiting Muslims reportedly rushed to the Resident City Commissioner (RCC’s) office for intervention such that they can be allowed to pray from Hoima Town Mosque.

However, scanty reports indicate that the RCC advised them not to pray from there to avert any insecurity that could arise.

Reports also say the aggrieved Moslems decided to hold a meeting at Bwikya Mosque, the regional seat of the Moslems but details of what transpired there were concealed from the press.

However, reports indicate that there was some kind of misunderstanding while there.

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