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Top Ugandan Shiite Leader 'Sheikh Dr Abdul Kadhir Muwaya' Shot Dead

The leader of the Shia Muslim Community in Uganda has been killed by unknown gunmen in Mayuge district.

Dr. Muwaya Nkwanga Ali

Sheik Dr. Muwaya Nkwanga Ali was Thursday night (12/25/2014) gunned down at around 9.30pm local time (EAT), as soon as he reached his home at Buyemba village from prayers.

Unverified reports say the assailants rode off on a motorcycle after killing the Muslim cleric in Buyemba village, Bukatuube sub-county.

Mayuge district police commander Caroline Akoth said investigations are under way.

A very influential leader, Sheikh Muwaya has been the director of the Mayuge-based Ahlul Bait Islamic Foundation (ABIF), through which he constructed over 50 mosques across the country and sponsored education of needy children.

Through the foundation, he always offered animals to Muslims during Eid Adhuha celebrations.

I first met the man, who the village folks fondly call Dakhtur in March 2013. He had no bodyguards and no muscle men around him and his attire of tunic and matching leather sandals was no close to that adorned by many religious clerics of today including sheiks, pastors and priests among others.

Even when he sat down for the interview, it was hard getting him going. The man who has for more than 30 years hovered over the politics and development of Mayuge was very reluctant to speak.

“I don’t want to talk a lot about myself lest people think I am praising myself. I usually want people to judge me by my appearance and deeds. That is where I usually stop then let the person judge me. I am sure that is why you came,” he said.

He was a firm believer in the saying: “A tiger does not proclaim his tigretude” and therefore laid no markers to his territory.

Therefore, while everyone recognised him as the leader of the Shi’ite Muslims Sect in Uganda, he preferred not to look at himself that way.

Muwaya is remembered for promoting the Shai faith not only in Mayuge district but across the entire country.

The deceased’s body laid to rest yesterday according to his young brother Rashid Dactur.

Police arrested some suspects
Police working on a tip off and with the aid of soldiers from Magamaga Ordinance Depot have started to investigate circumstances under which Sheikh Dr Abdul Kadhir Muwaya was killed on Thursday night.

Regional police commander of south Busoga, Moses Muluya said they had arrested four suspects believed to be key planners of the killing.

Other investigating arms including the Police Flying Squad, according to Mr Muluya, have been called in to assist.

Profile: Sheikh Abdul Kadhir Muwaya
“I don’t see myself as the leader. You can maybe call me a convener,” he said.

Sheikh Muwaya was born in an impoverished family of 14 children in Kavule village, Imanhyiro Sub-county in Mayuge District in the 1950s.

His mother was from a long line of Sunni Muslim clerics and he was in his formative years tutored by his maternal uncle, the late former Mufti of Uganda, Sheikh Ibrahim Saad Luwemba.

He started his education in the early 1960s in Namakoko Islamic Primary School in Namutumba District and proceeded to Machakos Islamic High School, Bilal Muslim Mission in Mombasa, before joining the city of the Hawza of the Iranian City of Qom where he studied Islamic Philosophy.

The desire to enjoy an uninhibited stay in Uganda and acquaintance with some of the actors compelled him to participate in the Nairobi Peace talks.

After the guns had fallen silent in most parts of western, central, south and eastern Uganda, he returned to register the Ahlul Bait Islamic Foundation which has since constructed more than 24 mosques, 20 primary schools and helped educate thousands of children at all levels who have since gone on to assume high positions in government.

The foundation also helped to secure funding for the extension of electricity to Mayuge, digging more than 40 boreholes in the district and providing free medical care, running water, ICT training as well as providing more than 300 people with direct and indirect employment.

Not taking the argument that religious leaders should not participate in politics too seriously, he encouraged his son, Omar Bongo, to join active politics, becoming the chairperson of Mayuge District.

“The teachings of Islam show you that the Prophet was the leader of our faith, commander of the army and master of the politics, but to put it more correctly, I am not a politician, but I understand politics.

However, the politics I am talking about is the politics of justice and truthfulness. When you are truthful to people you help them with what they need and that is not far from religion,” he said then.

That Mayuge had in his last years began the transformation from a backwater district to an economic power house in Busoga was something that he was thankful that Allah had enabled him to see.

But he has not lived to see his longtime dream of tarmacking the road from Musita, through Mayuge to Namayingo. Hopefully his job has been a complete one where others can pick from.

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