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VERY SICK RELATIONSHIP! Besigye Fumes after Museveni ‘Saved’ Gaddafi Mosque from Being Sold by Tycoon

Museveni: Common Sense, Logic and the Law

Museveni and Besigye
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Opposition politician Dr Kizza Besigye is concerned over the state of the relationship between the judicial and executive arms of government after a court decision halting the seizure of Gaddafi National Mosque and other Muslim properties followed President Yoweri Museveni’s letter to the Chief Justice complaining over lack of common sense in a judge’s ruling.

Trouble began after businessman Justus Kyabahwa bought land situated in Sembabule District to from the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) at Shs3.5bn. However, Kyabahwa was unable to possess the land because UMSC had already leased the same to Enterprise Handling Services Limited (ENHAS) for a period of 15 years, starting from 2013 and ending in 2028.

After securing an execution order from the Commercial Division of the High Court, Kyabahwa moved to sell at least eight UMSC properties, including the Gaddafi Mosque, to recover his money – Shs3.5bn, its interest amounting to Shs9bn and other charges – all totaling to Shs19bn.

THE PROPERTIES

The eight properties are:

  • Gaddafi National Mosque (in leasehold register volume 2771 Folio 2, Old Kampala Plot 23-25)
  • Land comprised in leasehold register Volume KKCA 149 Folio 16 land at Kampala City William Street 30
  • Kyadondo Block 195 Plot 5463 land at Kyanja
  • A Square Mile of land at Bukwe, Hoima road.
  • An acre piece of land located at Lumbas, Jinja
  • Plot of land at Mbale
  • Shares in Uganda Ranchers Ltd and Commercial Holdings Ltd, subsidiaries to Uganda Muslim Supreme Council that owns two square miles of land at Migyera-Buluri; and
  • A plot in Entebbe opposite Victoria Mall
  • But UMSC filed an appeal to block the seizing of the properties.

But Louiza Auctioneers and Court Bailiffs have notified the Deputy Registrar of the High Court Commercial Division that the property and land on which Gaddafi National Mosque sits, and marked as Lease Hold Register Volume 2771 Folio 2, Old Kampala Plot 23-25, is under contention, the encumbrance of a caveat, and therefore not for sale.

“We have learnt that the property comprised in Lease Hold Register Volume 2771 Folio 2, OId Kampala Plot 23-25 is a subject of a caveat and contentious. This is to humbly inform the Court that the above property comprised in Lease Hold Register Volume 2771Folio 2, Old Kampala Plot, 23-25 hereby ceases to be part of the properties under attachment and execution, and the same shall not be auctioned,” Louiza Auctioneers and Court Bailiffs wrote.

JUSTICE GASHIRABAKE OKAYS MUSLIM PROPERTIES SALE, HIS COLLEAGUES OVERTURN RULING

On November 29, Justice Christopher Gashirabake ruled in favor of Kyabahwa, saying the businessman should be allowed to sell the properties to recover his money.

“In the circumstances of this case, the applicant [UMSC] has failed to prove that it has a likelihood of success in the pending appeal or that it will suffer any damage or harm that cannot be atoned for by an award of damages,” Justice Gashirabake of the Court of Appeal decided.

“Clearly, the balance of convenience would be in not granting this application for stay of execution but to allow the party [Kyabahwa] with the judgment in hand to proceed with the execution process… Consequently, for the reasons I have given above, this appeal is dismissed. The costs shall abide by the outcome of the appeal.”

UMSC appealed the decision. On December 14, three court of appeal justices – Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera, Geoffrey Kiryabwire and Irene Mulyagonja – ruled that “the application seeking to temporarily overturn the decision of the court [Gashirabake’s ruling] is hereby granted. The detailed ruling with the reasons will be delivered at a later date.”

MUSEVENI’S LETTER

The December 14 decision came days after Museveni’s letter to Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, calling for common sense to reign.

“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 wrote the Chief Justice.

“However, I was most surprised to read in Mufti Mubajje’s letter that among the Moslem 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. 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. What, however, provoked me was the audacity of attaching the National Mosque. The NRM freedom fighters and the Government they head, cannot be associated with sick logic.”

BESIGYE REACTS

Giving a chronology of events, Besigye said the relationship between the judiciary and executive was “very sick.”

“On 29th November 2023, a Judge of the Uganda’s Appeal Court rejected the application to stop execution of an order for sale of Moslem properties pending the hearing of their appeal. The Mufti appeals to Mr Museveni. On 7th December, Mr Museveni writes to the Chief Justice imploring him to personally intervene and ‘see how to restore sanity.’ He adds that ‘NRM freedom fighters and the government they head cannot be associated with sick logic!’ On 14th December, a panel of Judges headed by Deputy Chief Justice reverses the earlier ruling and grants a stay of execution, pending appeal,” wrote Besigye.

“Regardless of the merit of the particular court decisions, this shows the ‘very sick’ relationship between Uganda’s Judiciary (and other institutions) and Mr Museveni – the Sovereign?”

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