Many mosques in Kampala remained closed following a directive of President Museveni.
The president suspended religious gatherings across the country in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
At Bukoto mosque, Kamwokya mosque, Mulago Hospital mosque, Kubbiri roundabout mosque, Bwaise Bilal mosque, Wandegeya mosque, the headquarters of Uganda Muslim Community, at Makerere University Mosque, King Fahad mosque, Kibuli mosque, Masgid Noor William Street, Nakasero mosque, Old Kampala mosque all of them remained closed.
At many of these places, a dozen faithful were seen lousing around. At Wandegeya and Mulago Hospital mosques, people would be allowed to individually pray and then disperse. At Makerere University mosque, the front door was all under key and lock while the hind door was open to allow people to pray and go.
One of those faithful said he didn’t know the order would be implemented. “It has never happened all my life that I would miss prayers because the masgid has been closed. I somehow thought this was a big joke that people were going to ignore,” said Ibrahim Kiggundu.
At a mosque in Kilokole zone in Kawempe where the Imam on Wednesday vowed to disregard the presidential directive, there were also no prayers. “When we made consultations with the management committee of the mosque, it was resolved to suspend the prayers as per the presidential directive. But this doesn’t mean that I think the order is justifiable. No, it isn’t, I think it was rushed,” one of the committee members who spoke to URN on condition of anonymity said.
Away from Kampala, mosques in Kira municipality and Kasangati town council too obliged to the directive. Najjera, Kira, Bweyogerere and Kireka mosques all in Kira municipality remained closed for the prayers. Kasangati, Masgid Tauheed at Mile Eight [Kumunaana] Gayaza and Manyangwa mosques all in Kasangati town council too remained closed. The Imam of Tauheed mosque Sulaiman Magemule told URN that Islam cares so much about people’s lives that it can’t be a mosque that is the centre of the spread of a virus so contagious.
“There were some people on the management committee who thought we should go on with at least the daily congregational prayers which don’t attract a lot of people. But this too was later rejected because it might also expose our people. We pray that the situation returns to normal so that we can resume our routines,” Magemule said.
In Luweero and Nakeseke districts, several mosques remained locked.
Some of the mosques include Kasana mosque, Luweero Masjid Hidayat and Abaggalana mosque in Luweero town council.
At Kasana Mosque, Sheikh Abubaker Bomboka used the call time to remind the Muslims to pray at home and notified them that the mosque was out of bounds over coronavirus threat.
Sheikh Noorden Ssembuusi the head of Dawah at Luweero Muslim district says that the restrictions were justifiable and during the times of Prophet Muhammad people with contagious diseases were also asked to stay home.
The mosques attract over 300 each during Jummah prayers but today none could be seen.
Habib Lutwama a believer at Kasana mosque said he holds the prayers as advised before he returned to work.
Lutwama said that since the ban is intended to protect the life he had to abide by it.
Sheikh Ramadhan Nsanja Mulindwa, the Kadhi Luweero Muslim District says that he ordered the mosques to be locked to ensure that believers don’t gather in breach of President’s directive.
Mulindwa says that he is happy many believers stayed away and advised them to remain vigilant.
Sheikh Mukasa the Acting Kadhi for Nakaseke district said that Muslims are law-abiding and they couldn’t defy the directives from authorities.
Meanwhile, Anti-riot Policemen have been seen patrolling the towns in Luweero to ensure the directives issued by President Museveni among them are the closure of schools, mosques and markets are adhered to.
Abraham Tukundane the Luweero District Police Commander has vowed to arrest those found in breach of the guidelines.