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Security blocks prayer hungry muslims at old Kampala mosque

Muslims gathered outside the mosque for prayers. Courtesy photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | After more spending more than 6 months without going to the mosque due the lockdown that was put in place by government to curb the spread of covid-19, many muslims in Uganda who had missed 26 Juma prayers have today resumed going to the mosques.

Following president Museveni’s recent address in which he gave a green light for worship places to resume services, many people missed the detail that the re-opening takes effect on October 15th. Those who turned up for prayers found willing religious leaders who obliged and let them in provided they were among the first seventy to enter.

However, several muslims who had gone to attend their first post lockdown Juma prayers at Uganda Muslim supreme council mosque- old Kampala got a taste of the state’s presence as security at the national mosque had orders to allow in only 70 congregants and ask the rest to go back.

By 11am, the the number of seventy had already been attained and the mosque officials first eliminated those who did not have prayer mats. Still many people remained outside beyond the permitted.  This control prompted protest and exchange of words between the mosque security officials and Muslims who were blocked outside the entrance.

URN talked to some of them who were disappointed that the mosque which can ordinarily handle  thousands of muslims at ago without flouting the social distancing guidelines has only allowed 70.

However, Madoi Sulaiti Mabuli, the chief security officer at UMSC said it was absurd that the mosque administration could not allow the number to exceed 70 because that was the directive issued by government.

He said they could not however chase away Muslims who decided to pray from outside hence passing on a request to government to give special consideration to big prayer places as long as they can meet the regulations and guidelines.

Meanwhile, after the Juma session which was led by the UMSC secretary for Zakat Sheikh Ziyad Lubanga, the Mufti Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubajje addressed the congregants and the media hinting on a number of issues.

He expressed gratitude over movement’s gesture of reopening places of worship and explained a number of measures they have had to put into place before resuming mass gatherings of prayers.

Mubajje urged Muslims who feel bothered with the current set up and way of doing things to keep calm and follow the government guidelines, not only to save their lives and those of fellow Muslims but also to pass what he calls the first test towards more easing of the lockdown.



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