Addressing a congregation during Friday prayers at the National Old Kampala mosque, Uganda’s senior Islamic cleric, Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubajje, was pressured by the crowd into asking the president how far investigations have gone.
“Mister President, our brothers are still in jail. We want to know how far the matter has gone because their trial is not starting,” he said.
This was after an attentive congregation shouted, “the prisoners, the prisoners” as the mufti concluded welcoming remarks to the president without raising the issue.
In response, Museveni — who has six days left before the country’s Feb. 18 election — said he did not know how far the matter has reached.
“Let me go ask. What we don’t want is a country with terrorism. I shall ask the police how far they have reached,” he said, amid chants of “God is great” from worshippers.
In Jan. 2015, 14 Muslims were charged and jailed in relation to the killing of 12 Islamic clerics between 2013 and early 2015.
Museveni also stirred more chants when he announced that a controversial mosque land title in Kampala city center had been handed back to the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.
The land, which includes 50 shops and a mosque, has been disputed since 2005 .The mosque has seen Muslims in conflict with each other after reports that it had been sold for $2 million.
In Dec. 2014, the police were forced to temporarily shut down the mosque after a small group of youths entered in the dead of night and locked themselves inside.