WHO Is Killing Muslim Leaders? [opinion]

Two murders of prominent Muslim leaders over a period of three days during the Christmas holiday!

I think it is the motive, fashion and frequency that should lead us to the culprits. My quick conclusion – and forgive me for the hastiness – is that this is institutional.

Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura, even before investigations are complete, blames the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). He is repeating mistakes he and his boss made after the death of the then Butaleja Woman MP Cerinah Nebanda two years ago.

They first accused the deceased of drug abuse and alcoholism and then sent samples for investigations to the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Adam Kalungi was immediately arrested and accused of supplying narcotic drugs that led to Nebanda’s death. The Nebanda murder has never been conclusively resolved. Kalungi was charged and found guilty of manslaughter and later acquitted!

Mind you, it is only Kalungi that was arrested but there were two other men at Kalungi’s home at the time of Nebanda’s death. I think these two even helped in carrying the deceased to the clinic where she was pronounced dead.

Along Entebbe road where Sheikh Mustafa Bahiga was murdered is like a warzone. On this road, there is a police patrol pickup truck full of policemen almost after every 100 metres.

Forgive my naivety I thought it is preventing incidents like this that they were deployed there. These fellows are not flowers welcoming visitors from Entebbe airport. So, if murders like this one happen along a road that is almost fortified, what does the Police want us to think?

Let us assume that it is the ADF. Does the IGP want us to believe that the whole country has been infiltrated and all of us are now vulnerable at the hands of ADF?

Look at the frequency this time. Sheikh Abdul-Kadir Muwaya, the leader of Shia Muslims in Uganda, is murdered on December 25 and the IGP rushes to Mayuge.

He threatens to stay there until culprits are apprehended. Before they are apprehended, Sheikh Bahiga is murdered along Entebbe road three days later:and again Kayihura rushes to Kampala. Mind you, those who killed Sheikh Abdul-Karim Ssentamu have never been apprehended neither have those who killed Hajji Abu-Bakar Kiweewa.

I am one of those who don’t believe in the ADF theory. A lot of Muslims in Busoga have been arrested for allegedly recruiting for the ADF. Why, then, would the ADF kill its agents? Jamir Mukulu, the head of the ADF, was a Tabliq cleric at Nakasero. One would imagine he is targeting these sheikhs for either refusing to support or abandoning him. Why would he then kill Sheikh Muwaya, a Shia Muslim leader who has never been part of the Muslim Tabliq community?

But in any case, even if it were the ADF killing these leaders, where is the government?

Again, forgive me this government came to power through killings and I think because of their end-justifies-the-means appetite for power, agents of the state today would continue killing if that is what it takes to keep whatever they consider their aantage.

Therefore to ADF, I would add key agents of the state as a second suspect. And that complicates the puzzle, because suspects will never investigate themselves. If they do, expect a cover-up.

I was at Kibuli during the final prayers for Sheikh Bahiga and I think a third institution was mentioned – the Tabliq section headed by ousted Amir Sheikh Kamoga. Understanding the wrangles in the Tabliq community will require a separate article.

Sheikh Kamoga was the Amir of Tabliqs before the 1998 invasion by dissenting Tabliqs and taking over of Old Kampala. Kamoga, I think, fled to Nairobi when his other colleagues, including Jamir Mukulu were rounded up and taken to Luzira. He continued pulling the strings from exile but Sheikh Sulaiman Kakeeto, who exploited the vacuum, eventually consolidated power.

I think through amnesty and other negotiations, Kamoga returned and joined the late Sheikh Abdul-Hakim Ssekimpi to form a rival Tabliq sect called Salafiyya, headquartered at William street. It is this William street Salafiyya group that eventually threw out Kakeeto.

This group has also now disagreed, leading to the removal of Kamoga. But like Kakeeto, Kamoga has also refused to surrender power. He runs Nakasero mosque and has thrown out his rivals from the William street mosque as well.

The late Mustafa Bahiga was the chief coordinator of the group that removed Kamoga and set off a rivalry that is blamed for his murder. The mistake all these groups have made is to ally with the state. This regime fears an ideologically-united and charged Muslim youth. It has worked with them and knows their strength.

Even those it works with, it will – when need rises – resort to its tested methods such as elimination. We may not know who exactly killed Andrew Lutakome Kayiira, a minister but the suspicion that he may have been eliminated won’t go away.

Makindye West MP Hussein Kyanjo summed it up well after Nebanda’s death: he said crumbling regimes can bad-mouth, bribe, arrest, torture and kill. He said unfortunately the state also kills its own.

Let all the sheikhs examine their newfound love with this regime. I think it is Baganda who said whatever level of familiarity, never test your friendship with a tiger by putting your fingers in its mouth.

The author is Kyadondo East MP.

Source : The Observer


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