Ndirangwa, who took over from Supreme Mufti Zubair Kayongo who died in 2015, resigned Thursday night (1st April 2021).
He said his resignation was for the good of Islam, after he admitted he was wary of wrangles and disagreements within the Kibuli faction.
Although both Ndirangwa and his deputy Sheikh Kibaate Muhamood Kibaate could not reveal much into these disagreements, sources familiar with the wrangles at Kibuli have pointed to two issues: the politics of Bobi Wine and the cars Museveni donated to clerics.
Ndirangwa was appointed Supreme Mufti of the Kibuli-based Muslim faction on December, 16, 2015, replacing Sheikh Zubairi Kayongo who died in April 2014. Mahmoud Kibaate and Sheikh Habib Kabasa have been his deputies.
Our earlier report indicated that Ndirangwa’s abrupt resignation was prompted by endless fights within the Kibuli establishment.
theGrapevine has further established that it was a very well calculated move by the embattled Sheikh to resign from his position as the Supreme Mufti to save his dignity and keep his curriculum vitae clean as a Muslim scholar.
Sheikh Ndirangwa’s resignation news broke at 9:40PM, and his decision was televised live from Masengere building which houses Buganda’s Central Broadcast Service (CBS) radio and Buganda Broadcasting Services (BBS TV).
In his resignation message which was not written, Sheikh Ndirangwa said that it was infighting that forced him to resign.
“I would like to tell you that I am no longer going to serve Islam as leader. I have resigned as the Supreme Mufti of Uganda. I have taken the decision for the good of Islam. I have resigned to keep Islam in peace because I am sure that Islam is bigger than me as an individual,” Ndirangwa said.
In his words, the soft-spoken Muslim scholar from Bukomansimbi district added,” To maintain peace within the religion, I have decided to step down because I won’t keep on fighting with fellow Sheikhs in Islam all the time. I am sure that there are those who can serve better than me. So let me give them the room to serve Islam and perhaps accomplish what I might have not finished during my reign.”
The former Kampala district Khadhi said, “I thank Almighty Allah for giving me a chance to serve the Muslim community and I am glad that I have done my part. I also take this opportunity to thank those who have been working with me, especially the district Khadi’s from different parts of the country.”
Ndirangwa was announced as the Supreme Mufti by late Sheikh Anas Kariisa on behalf of the eminent Sheikhs after the death of Sheikh Zubair Kayongo, the first Supreme Mufti in 2015, deputized by Sheikh Muhamood Kibatte and Sheikh Habib Kabasa as the second deputy Supreme Mufti.
NDIRANGWA HASTILY RESIGNED TO AVOID THE EMBARRASSMENT OF IMPEACHMENT
Multiple credible sources in the office of the Supreme Mufti have revealed that there was a deadly move orchestrated by top prominent Sheikhs and district Khadis to impeach Ndirangwa over incompetence and abuse of office. One of the sources told theGrapevine that when Ndirangwa was was tipped on the deadly move, he consulted a number of his confidants including his family members who advised him to throw in the towel because even prince Dr. Kassim Nakibinge, the titular head of the Islam faith in Uganda was not on his side.
Hajji Ntale hastily mobilized a few journalists and told those who were far to jump on boda bodas to Masengere where the supreme mufti was going to make a landmark announcement.
“Even his demeanour was telling a lot, he was panicking, he was not reading from anywhere, he wanted to tell the public that he has resigned so as to silence the deadly impeachment plot against him,” the source said.
NDIRANGWA’S TROUBLES STARTED WITH MBABAZI
Sheikh Ndirangwa occupied the office of the Supreme Mufti during the 2016 presidential campaign battle between president Yoweri Museveni of the NRM and John Patrick Amama Mbabazi who stood on the Go Forward ticket.
Both presidential candidates were fighting for Kibuli Muslims’ votes since it was very clear that Old Kampala faction, which is headed by sheikh Ramathan Mubajje was behind Museveni.
Prince Nakibinge invited Mbabazi and Museveni, who was always represented by the government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa and announced publicly that Kibuli would not publicly side with any of them.
Museveni’s team quckly started strategizing on how to defeat Mbabazi from Kibuli.
Credible sources intimated to theGrapevine that after investigating, Ndirangwa, secretly went with controversial Sheikh Kamulegeya to meet Museveni at State House-Entebbe without informing his boss Prince Nakibinge.
Our source further revealed that Prince Nakibinge only learnt about the development in the news when State House leaked photos of Sheikh Ndirangwa and Kamulegeya meeting Museveni.
Another source intimated to theGrapevine that Ndirangwa apologised arguing that his meeting with the president was purely faith based not political.
He maintained that his discussion with the president was solely about how to develop the Muslim community in the country.
Another source however explained that both Ndirangwa and Kamulegeya pocketed fat envelopes which later led to a misunderstanding between the two top Sheikhs.
Eventually Sheikh Kamulegeya left Kibuli and even stopped pledging allegiance to Prince Nakibinge. theGrapevine has learnt that Prince Nakibinge was very bitter with the two because he felt betrayed, but the matter was temporarily settled when two top Sheikhs together with the late Kariisa, late Musa Katongole and the late Muzaata Batte intervened.
M7’S MULTI BILLION DEAL THAT BROUGHT NDIRANGWA TROUBLE
Towards the 2016 general elections, Museveni awarded Sheikh Ndirangwa’s Saudi Arabia-bound pilgrimage company a multi-billion deal.
Safa and Marwa Company was given billions of shillings to facilitate a trip of over 1000 pilgrims which also created a sharp division amongst Ndirangwa and other top Sheikhs, they felt it was unfair that such a big deal was only given to Ndirangwa and other travel companies were sidelined.
BOBI WINE SPOILS THE BROTH
During his political consultations, National Unity Platform (NUP) principal and former presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine publicly met Kibuli leadership led by prince Nakibinge to mobilise for support.
He even started attending several Kibuli functions something that sent Museveni camp in panic.
Sources revealed to theGrapevine that Museveni was then prompted to secretly meet Ndirangwa again without the knowledge of Prince Nakibinge and other officials in the supreme Mufti’s office.
According to a source privy to the details of the meeting, Ndirangwa requested for cars to help ease transportation of districts Khadis.
The source said that Museveni directed that Kibuli be given 11 cars, a promise which was implemented before the general campaigns for presidency.
M7’S CARS TROUBLED NDIRANGWA
When the cars touched base at Kibuli, a bitter Prince Nakibinge questioned the intention behind the donation and the beneficiaries.
The source narrated that Prince Nakibinge directed that the said cars be taken to Hotel Africana and be parked there until all his question regarding the cars were answered.
The source added that Prince Nakibinge told Ndirangwa that the donation was going to put the Kibuli Muslim faction in bad light because the public would easily take the donation for a bribe by Museveni to vote against their “own son” Bobi Wine.
Inside sources intimated that since then, cliques were formed among the top leaders between those supporting Ndirangwa (most of who were beneficiaries of the cars) and those supporting Prince Nakibinge.
Ndirangwa was then branded a Museveni mole.
M7 PRESSURISED NDIRANGWA OVER CARS
A source said that Museveni through Lt. Gen. Proscovia Nalweyiso, the senior presidential advisor on security pressurised Sheikh Ndirangwa to reveal when he would deliver the cars to the owners.
theGrapevine has learnt that Museveni clearly wanted the cars to be given to the beneficiaries before the presidential elections which was not done. Under immense pressure, Ndirangwa made an effort to explain that they were waiting for Nakibinge to give them the green light.
A source intimated to theGrapevine that two weeks back, Lt. Gen. Nalweyiso phoned Ndirangwa and asked him why the cars were not given to the rightful owners.
She made it clear to him that the president wanted to calm a storm by donating these cars that is why he wanted the cars to be given to the owners before the end of March.
Ndirangwa apparently ran into panic mode after Nalweyiso’s phone call to him.
Hastily, without informing his team and Prince Nakibinge, Ndirangwa organised a ceremony and the cars were given to the beneficiaries.
He assured those who missed out that the president was going to give them more cars soon.
Our source revealed that those Sheikhs who missed out started backbiting Ndirangwa, accusing him of “eating their money” which they speculated was given to them by the president, they even reported him to the Prince.
The Prince was very bitter with Ndirangwa and immediately asked Sheikh Muhammad Lunanoba, the head of eminent Sheikhs to take action against Ndirangwa.
Upon realising that things had gone bad Ndirangwa rushed to resign before he could be shown the exit.
WHAT NEXT FOR NDIRANGWA?
When theGrapevine talked to Sheikh Twaha Mubiru, the deputy general secretary of the office of the Supreme Mufti today, he revealed that the council of eminent sheikhs is going to sit and pave a way forward following Ndirangwa’s abrupt resignation.
“The resignation was abrupt and we shall communicate our decision in a few hours,” Mubiru said.
However, other sources revealed that Ndirangwa’s resignation was a result of incompetence, citing that he didn’t follow the rightful procedure, which includes informing the council of eminent Sheikhs.
“He was not appointed by the media, we have not yet received his resignation letter, we don’t know what he wanted to achieve by not following the rightful procedure,” an insider said.
He added that as per now, the office of the Supreme Mufti is being run by Sheikh Muhammod Kibatte the Deputy Supreme Mufti.
NDIRANGWA TIPPED FOR MINISTERIAL JOB
However, a source in Ndirangwa’s camp intimated to theGrapevine that their man is likely to eat big in president Museveni’s next cabinet. The same source revealed that Ndirangwa is tipped to be appointed a Minister, an ambassador or a senior advisor to the president.
If Ndirangwa is appointed minister, he would not be the first religious leader to be a minister, Fr. Simon Lokodo is currently a Minister in Museveni’s government.