UMBS is a registered organisation in Uganda. The name ‘Uganda Muslim Brothers and Sisters’ (UMBS) was chosen out of several proposed because the UMBS online forum was already known among the Muslims after almost a year of operation. The name also reflects the need for Muslims to unite and treat each other as brothers and sisters as advised by prophet Muhammad (SAW).
The UMBS is therefore a product of a period of sustained groundwork and extensive consultation among Uganda Muslims. The emergence of the UMBS is a natural expression of Muslim solidarity and a sign of growing maturity and confidence of Uganda Muslims. It is an initiative of the Muslim community, will be led by the community, and for the service of the community.
Brief history of UMBS:
Uganda Muslim Brothers and Sisters (UMBS) was started as a discussion forum in 2010 by a Ugandan-British Muslim, Abbey Semuwemba, based in the United Kingdom. The main aim at the time was to encourage all Muslims to come together and discuss anything on their minds. It was started with only about 200 members but gradually, however, membership expanded to more than 6000 people in different countries, and so the need arose for formal operational guidelines.
UMBS is re-evolutionalising itself towards a national umbrella organisation dedicated to the common good, to the betterment of the community and country. It was formed after several years of wide-ranging consultation and careful planning by a group of Muslims that discussed Islamic affairs online regularly. It intends to bring together all representatives of different Muslim organisations in Uganda to meet up on annual basis to discuss the affairs of Muslims in Uganda.
The need to coordinate efforts on wider issues of common concern became apparent in the course of the feud that developed between Muslim leaders after the sale of Muslim properties in Uganda. This created a climate of distrust and non-cooperation between many diverse groups in the country.
Through the UMBS forum online and countrywide consultations, data was collected on perceptions of the problems facing the Muslim community in Uganda. Most of the grass root consultation was verbally done by some Muslims already on UMBS forum and residing in Uganda. The analysis of responses pointed to an overwhelming sense of anxiety on the future of the community. Many valuable ideas were received in the course of the consultation and online debates, both from leaders of established community organisations as well as well-informed observers of the community.
It sees itself as an organisation to bring together Muslims of all social, political and cultural backgrounds. It is an inclusive body that deals with issues in a practical, informed and rational manner.
It is an independent body with openness and transparency and in accordance with its constitution.
The UMBS is opposed to labels such as: ‘Baganda, Bagishu, bekibuli, bekampala-mukadde’. We are Uganda citizens with an Islamic heritage who stand by our citizenship responsibilities so long as the cause is just.
The UMBS’s approach to dealing with civic affairs is one of participation, not agitation or violence; in dealing with government, it is one of constructive engagement. This means that the UMBS strives to deal with problems and influence policies and outcomes through principled and effective participation, in conformity with Islamic norms and standards.
Events leading to the formation of the UMBS
- The sale of Muslim properties by some Muslim leaders. Muslim leaders at Old Kampala became at odds with those at Kibuli
- Having so many Muslim organisations in the country whose activities, aims and objectives, are not visible to everyone.
- Underrepresentation of Muslims in political and public posts, such as the cabinet
Objectives of UMBS
The objectives for which the association was established are:
1. To invest in an Islamic website that can promote Islamic discussions and provide an advertising forum for commercial enterprises.
2.To receive and administer funds for scientific, religious, educational, and purposes, towards the benefit of the members of the company.
3.To establish/build clinics, hospitals and provide medical services.
4.To promote the establishment of schools and colleges whose investment practices and norms shall be guided by Islamic teachings.
5.To improve, manage, develop, exchange, lease, mortgage, dispose of, turn to account, or otherwise deal with all or any part of the property and or rights of the Association.
6.To print and publish any newspapers, periodical, books or leaflets that the Association may think desirable for the promotion of its objects.
7. To promote and run media and publishing houses within the Republic of Uganda.
8. To hold any property, or any undivided interest therein, without limitation as to amount or value; to dispose of any such property and to invest, reinvest, or deal with the principal or the income in such manner as, in the judgment of the directors, will best promote the purposes of the Company, without limitation, except such limitations, if any, as may be contained in the instrument under which such property is received, these Articles of Incorporation, the By-Laws of the Corporation, or any applicable laws, to do any other act or thing incidental to or connected with the foregoing purposes or in advancement thereof, but not for the pecuniary profit or financial gain of its directors or officers.
9.To facilitate members to carry on the business of trading in Uganda and elsewhere in the world and in particular the business of exporters, importers, stores, buyers, sellers, suppliers, manufacturers of all types of goods including agricultural, domestic and industrial machinery and spares laboratory and used motor vehicle accessories and materials including hardware, bricks, lime, sand, ballast, timber, wood, lumber and nails and also to carry on the business, refiners, packers, repacks, buyers, sellers, dealers, exporters of all kinds of natural honey.
10. To assist its members to carry on the business of motor vehicle agents and dealers in motor vehicles, importers, buyers and sellers of new and used motor car cycles, pick-ups and body box cars including all big commercial vehicles, lorries, buses and other like vehicles whether moved by mechanical power or not and all industrial and agricultural heavy machinery vehicles and to deal in scrap metal and other related products.
11. To draw, make accept, endorse, discount, execute and issue promissory notes, bills or exchange, bills of lading, warrants debentures and other negotiable instruments.
12. To enter into partnership or any other arrangement for sharing profits, union of interests, cooperation, reciprocation in concerns of otherwise with any person or persons, firm or firms, or company or cooperation carrying on or engaged in or about to carry on or engaged in any business or transactions which the Company is authorized to carry or which may seem to the Company capable of being conveniently carried on in connection with the above or calculated directly or indirectly to enhance the value of or render profitable any of the Company’s property and/or whereby the Company would be benefited.
13. To enter any arrangements with any Governments or authorities (supreme, municipal, local or otherwise) or corporations, companies, or persons that may seem conducive to the Company’s objects or any of them and to obtain from any Government, authority, corporation, company or person any charters, contracts, decrees, rights, privileges and concessions which the Company may think desirable and to carry out, exercise and to represent and advocate the view and policies of the Company to Governments and other authorities.
14. To represent members of the company to the authorities in Kampala City Council, the Government of the Republic of Uganda and to any other third parties.
15. To provide a forum for self-development efforts by the members and for the members in company.
16. To assist with funds, training and advising members on socio-economic issues concerning them.
17. To be the legal body representing members in all transactions involving them jointly.
18. To purchase or otherwise acquire and hold lands ,farms, houses ,workshops, buildings and premises and any fixed and movable machinery, plant ,tools, engines and implement convenient to be used in achieving the above mentioned objectives of the company.
19. To subscribe to any local or other charities and to grant donations for any public purposes towards the welfare of the members.
20. To invest any monies of the company, not immediately required for any of its objectives in such a manner as may from time to time be determined.
21. To purchase, take on lease or otherwise any piece of land.
22. To purchase, construct, maintain and or acquire any building or works necessary or convenient for the purposes of the Association.
23. To borrow or raise money borrowed or owing by mortgage or charge upon the whole or any part of the Association’s property or assets and to secure any guarantee or performance by the Association of any obligations or liabilities it may undertake.
24. To take any gift of property, whether subject to any special trust or not, for any one or more objects of the company.
25. To acquire and hold shares, stocks, debentures, debenture stocks, bonds, obligations and securities issued or guaranteed by any company constituted or carrying on business in East Africa or any other country in which, according to the laws of the Republic of Uganda, it may be lawful to do so, and also debentures, debenture stock, bonds ,obligations and securities issued or guaranteed by any government, sovereign ruler, commissioners, public body, or authority, supreme, municipal, local or otherwise, whether at home or otherwise, whether at home or abroad.
26. To enter into any arrangements with any governments or authorities supreme, municipal, local or otherwise, that may seem conducive to the Association’s objects or any of them, and to obtain from any such government authority any rights, privileges and concessions which the Association may think desirable to obtain, and to carry out, exercise and comply with any such arrangements, rights, privileges and concessions.
27. To develop the resources and turn to account the lands, buildings, any rights for the time being of the Association and, in particular, by laying out and preparing land for building purposes, constructing, altering, pulling down, decoration, maintain, furnishing, fitting up and improving buildings, and letting on building lease or building agreements, and by advancing money to and entering into contracts and arrangements of all kinds with builders, tenants and others.
28. To apply to any Governments or authorities, public bodies, corporations, companies or persons for, and to accept grants of money and of land, donations, gifts, subscriptions and other assistance with a view of promoting the objects of the Association.
29. To draw, make, accept, endorse, discount, execute and issue promissory notes, bills of exchange, bills of lading, warrants, debentures and other negotiable or transferable instruments.
30. To carry out all activities incidental to the above objectives and others towards the a mission enshrined as follows: Promoting, among Muslims members, a feeling of loyalty to themselves and their leaders and to remove any misconceptions that may arise as to the intentions of working with various non-Muslim and political leaders in the country; establishing a position for the Muslim community within Uganda that is fair and based on due rights; promoting cooperation, consensus and unity on Muslim affairs in Uganda; the general welfare of members as well as Uganda Muslims and global Ummah, promote and defend their rights and interests at all times and in all places.
31. To carry out any activity incidental to the welfare and development of the MEMBERS.
Membership of the UMBS
Membership is open to any organisation (in and outside Uganda) whose activities are primarily for the benefit of Muslims of Uganda. Individuals can also become members as long as they profess to the Islamic faith. The founder of UMBS will indefinitely remain a member of the organisation.
UMBS wishes to ensure that each region of Uganda has a voice within UMBS. So the organisation will have several representatives in and outside the country. International representatives will have a job of: a) registering UMBS in the country they reside in; b) mobilizing Uganda Muslims in their communities; c) looking for funding to support our activities or targets; d) help in organizing the UMBS annual delegates’ conference, e.t.c
Acquisition of Membership
To qualify for membership;
a) One should be registered as such within the register of members.
b) One should posses and keep the evidence that he is a registered member.
c) Must be within the area of operation of the organisation
d) Must accept the policies & regulations of the organisation
e) All applications for ordinary membership must be approved by the president or the secretary General(in the absence of the president).
The Executive committee shall not be bound to accept any application/request for membership and, nor shall it be bound to assign any reasons for rejecting a particular application.
For more information, please contact the UMBS offices at: PO BOX 8797, KAMPALA, UGANDA