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By Godfrey Olukya 11-1-2012

The Muslim community in Uganda is advocating for Khadi courts which will operate under Sharia law so that they deal with their cases.

They have requested the county’s parliament to ensure that the Khadi courts bill, which was recently drafted by Muslim clerics is passed as soon as possible.

They claim that apart from harmonizing the Muslim community, the move is also meant to reduce the case backlog in secular courts. This comes at a time when the Judiciary in Uganda is burdened with thousands of cases not being heard in time due to shortage of magistrates an judges.

The president of the Muslim council for justice and law in Uganda, Jaffer Sseganda said, ‘We are requesting for Khadi courts because they will go a long way in solving our problems. We Muslims are comfortable with having our cases handled by Khadi courts instead of secular courts.’

The constitution of Uganda allows those interested in Khadi courts to put them in place. The constitution states, ‘The Supreme court, the court of appeal, and subordinate courts by law may establish Khadi courts to handle marriage as well as cases of divorce, inheritance of property and guardianship.’

A Muslim cleric, Shiek Abdu Wango said, ‘We will be grateful if Khadi courts start operating. We have some differences with other religions and having our own courts will help us a lot especially in marriage cases. Marriage issues in Islam can not be compared with that of other religions.’

A legal, expert in Uganda, Nelson Mukalazi said, ‘Although Khadi courts will be run according to Sharia law, they will be supervised by the high court and whoever will not satisfied with the way cases will be handled by Khadi courts can appeal to the high court.’

Uganda has a population of 34 million. The Muslim community makes up about 25 per cent of the population.

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