For the first time in the history of the Office of the National Chairman (ONC) at Kyambogo, Muslims were last evening treated to a delicious Iftaari Dinner.
However, it was a unique dinner in sense that the three Muslim factions including Nakasero (Tabliqs), Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (Old Kampala) and Kibuli were united and even sat under one tent, in a rare show of unity.
The ONC led by Chief Muzzukulu Hajat Uzeiye Namyalo Hadijah organised this fete attended by both women and men of Allah who are currently observing their holy month of Ramadan.
“This is the first of its kind to happen at ONC when this office is serving a dinner to Muslims. In this holy month of Ramadan, my prayer to God is that he takes away the divisions among Muslims” Hajat Uzeiye told a joyful audience.
She commended governmnent for putting in place development programs like PDM and Emyooga but however, noted that some of them are unfavorable to Muslims since they involve an element of paying interest. She said this is against the Islamic teaching and urged the Chief guest who’s also NRM vice chairman Hajji Moses Kigongo to talk to the president to cause some ammendments in order to cater for Muslims’ interests.
“PDM is good but to us Moslems, it has ribbah. Therefore, Hajji Kigongo, when you talk to H.E Museveni on this matter, Muslims have not rejected it, but it has an element of (paying) interest which is against the Islamic teaching. The same goes to Emyooga” she said as the men and women of Allah clapped. Uzeiye said she has had interactions with Muslim leaders at both Kibuli and Supreme Council who both; have raised this concern in respect of PDM and Emyooga programs. She proposed for a joint petition to governmnent by Muslims so that some of these issues can be addressed.
“Simple things like poultry, goats, sheep etc which do not involve ribbah will be easier for us to implement than those programs that have got ribar (interest)” Uzeiye who’s also a member of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce representing Women in Africa said. She commended the president and Kigongo for entrusting her with ONC office as a Muslim lady, a parent, lawyer and a member of Islamic Chamber of Commerce.
Meanwhile, Hajji Kigongo commended Muslims for fasting. He also thanked Uzeiye for inviting all Muslims and commended the president for facilitating the ceremony. He said that Ramadan is an important month to Muslims as it calls them to change (behavior), forgive, being honest and renewing their faith in Allah.
“If you don’t forgive in this Holy month, it’s a sin. We should forgive, we should repent. Usually, most people just fast to be seen but not for Allah. Their spirits are not changed. They tell lies, they hate. Fasting is not about being seen but doing the right things. If you don’t do this, your fasting is in vain. I encourage you to turn to God” he said.
He commended Gen. Museveni for granting Ugandans freedom of worship which he said has enabled everyone to worship his or her own God.
“I urged you (Muslims) to love one another. Our leaders are united but us (followers) look for conflicts. Let’s unite” Kigongo urged.
He asked them to work hard and also embrace all programs brought by government. He said if Muslims do not embrace them, other Ugandans will do hence leaving Muslims behind.
“Ribbah in PDM… it’s not correct. If it’s there, we’re going to scruitinize it and we correct it. I encourage people to embrace governmnent programs because if we don’t, our friends will do” he said.
Kigongo threw the audience into rib-breaking laughter after he gave different versions of the characters of a poor person. He said poverty has made many people do lots of funny things and urged Muslims to work hard.
“God doesn’t love a poor person. A poor person has no respect in the clan, a poor person gets angry easily. Money is good and once you have it, you don’t grow old, you become younger. A rich person always looks younger” he said adding that poverty also leads to domestic violence.
Kigongo hard no kind words for people who are given offices but misuse them. He said many people have been given positions of responsibility but have started to let the movement down.
“People are given responsibilities but let us down. If you can’t look after people, how will you also love God?” He asked in what seemed to be a response to the current storm in cabinet where ministers shared iron sheets meant for the poor people of Karamoja. Kigongo urged Muslims to pray for peace in the country, wish Christians well as they celebrate Easter and doing good to their fellow Muslim brothers and sisters.
The dinner was attended by deputy supreme mufti Ibrahim Ntanda Muzanganda, deputy mufti Sheikh Abdallah Ssemambo among other dignitaries.
Muzanganda asked Muslims to renew their files as they prepare to meet Allah. He said the devil is not seated but as Muslims they must use this holy month to act responsibly and clean their files. He commended ONC for thinking about Muslims and also thanked Gen. Museveni for his efforts to keep Uganda a peaceful country free of immoral acts.
“We thank him for standing firm against immorality. For standing firm against any form of intimidation by those trying to pressurize him to accept homosexuality. We pray that God grants him more strength to remain steadfast in fighting this vice. But I want to challenge parents also to get involved in this fight. You should talk to your children about it to avoid regrets in future” Sheikh Muzanganda said.