By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
Uganda Muslims represented by Sheikh Muhammad Ali Waiswa, the second deputy Mufti Of Uganda with a high delegation from the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council-[(UMSC] before the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee, currently scrutinizing the Succession ( Amendment) Bill 2021.
in a joint statement to the committee of parliament, Sheikh Waiswa informed the committee members that UMSC had on many occasions met similar committees of the previous Parliaments and proposed that Muslims have a separate law on inheritance in line with their religious belief.
“Hon. chair, and members the position or consensus we agreed upon in the past before a similar committee has always been ignored in the final submission to the floor of Parliament. Therefore we humbly ask that this opportunity offered today be of total difference,” said Waiswa.
The committee members noted that they were not aware of Muslim proposals,which are divine and cannot be substituted because they were enshrined to be administrated under the Qadhi Courts, a subordinate court under Civil Courts as stipulated under the Ugandan Constitution.
“The Succession ( Amendment) Bill 2021 may have some good clauses but its overall impact seems to undermine the freedom of worship guaranteed in the constitution as it contradicts article 129 (1) d that establishes the Qadhi Courts and totally undermines the Muslim Personal law in Practice,” said Mahmud Sewaya, the chairperson of the UMSC technical committee on the proposed law.
Ali Kankaka, the President of Uganda Muslim Lawyers’ Association informed the members that the issues tabled weren’t about the hierarchy of jurisdiction of courts but rather to put enabling laws that will be administered by courts of law.
“We are saying that even if you have not operationalised the Qadhi Courts due some unknown reasons, we are here to advocate for Islamic law of inheritance to be applicable on us and not any body else,” he said.
Sheikhat Raadhiyya Namakula Lukwiya, the UMSC Secretary for Women, Youth and Children Affairs said that those who criticise the Islamic law on inheritance, especially on the issue of distribution of property where females are entitled to half of what their male counterparts get, base on misconceptions advanced by those who pick Islamic teachings selectively.
She said it is a complete system that governs someone from birth to the grave.
Waiswa asked Parliament to empower muslims to practise their faith and manage their systems that are as old as man and global.
The chairperson of the committee, Robinah Rwakoojo, assured Muslims that they would forward their proposals to parliament for consideration.
She urged Muslims to make wills indicating that their property should be administered in accordance with Sharia law upon their demise.