Muslims meet over Sheikh Kayongo successor

SHAFAQNA –  Leaders of the Kibuli-based Muslim faction will meet on Thursday to discuss the process of selecting a new ‘Supreme’ Mufti following the death of Sheikh Zubair Kayongo. Sheikh Kayongo, 83, died last week in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania where he had gone to join fellow top Muslim leaders for a convention. He died of high blood pressure midway the convention. Following his demise, the faction named Sheikh Mahmoud Kibaate, who was his first deputy, the acting ‘Supreme’ Mufti. Hajj Muhammad Kisambira, the secretary general, told New Vision that the meeting will make recommendations on the selection process, but not who will replace Kayongo. “The responsibility of selecting the new leader lies firmly in the hands of the College of Eminent Sheikhs, the top decision making body comprising Muslim scholars. That is its prerogative and we, as management, can only make recommendations about the selection process,” he said.

Kisambira said there are a number of things that must be considered in selecting the new Supreme Mufti and these include Islamic knowledge, integrity, credibility, commitment to the cause that led to the establishment of the office of Supreme Mufti and ability to move Muslims forward. He also said the issue of age will be considered because they wouldn’t want to select a frail person who may not be able to deliver.

“A person has to have stamina,” he emphasised.New Vision has learnt that four names are being mentioned: Sheikh Kibaate, Sheikh Nuuhu Muzaata, the head of Imams, Sheikh Abdul-noor Kakande (district Kadhi, Mukono-Kayunga) and Sheikh Muhammad Lunanoba (president general of the Juma-Zukuuli group).Addressing mourners at Kibuli Mosque last week, Prince Kassim Nakibinge, the titular head of the Muslim community in Buganda, urged the College of Eminent Sheikhs to find a replacement.“Unlike the last time when I proposed Sheikh Kayongo’s name and you accepted him, this time I will not be available because I want the structures that we set up to exercise their mandate,” Nakibinge said.

Sheikh Kayongo was appointed de facto Mufti in January 2009 by the same College of Eminent Sheikhs and his election was a culmination of a legal and religious standoff stemming from accusations against Mufti Shaban Mubajje of fraudulent sale of Muslim properties

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