Leadership wrangles in the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council and its impact on the development of Islam in Uganda, 1972-2008
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This study examined the causes of leadership wrangles in the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) since its formation in 1972 to 2008, looking particularly at how these conflicts affected the development of Islam. The study was undertaken in order to find out why, since the formation of the UMSC in 1972, Islam has slowly developed both socially and economically under the administration of the council which was established with an aim of uniting Muslims of Uganda under one umbrella and fostering development. The study used two theoretical approaches, Jose Garcia’s theory of Religious Conflict and its effects on growth and Manning and Curtis’ leadership behavioural theory in order to come up with a thorough scrutiny of leadership wrangles in the UMSC and its impact to the social-economic development of Islam in Uganda. The study employed a historical research design and used qualitative data collection methods and analysis based on factual and documentary evidence provided to establish facts. More specifically it looked at oral testimonies from various respondents. These were augmented with in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, documentary analysis and historical analysis. Data collection tools, such as use of a question guide, questionnaires and contact summery sheets were kept to track respondents. This made it possible for data to be collected in its raw form, observed, analysed and then corroborated to assure reliability, validity and any inconsistencies. The study established that the central factors responsible for leadership wrangles in the (UMSC) were equally responsible for the slow development of Islam in Uganda. These factors included; greed for wealth, government interference and political intrigue, personal grudges among Muslim leaders, ethnicity, lack of competent and educated leaders and an unfavourable UMSC constitution. Since leadership wrangles form a basis for the underdevelopment of Islam in Uganda, It is recommended that Muslim leaders should become united and addresses the root causes of their differences for the common good of Islam and the rest of the people. Emphasis should be placed on improvements in the areas of education, poverty eradication, the general welfare of Muslims especially women and above all the promotion of unity among Muslim worshippers. In conclusion, the key argument of this study is that, since the formation 1972, the UMSC as the governing and central administrative body handling Muslim affairs in Uganda, has been involved in numerous dispute. These disagreements among the religious leadership have negatively affected the religion and slowed its development and eventual spread to most parts of Uganda.