Political Party Leaders , campaigning for the office of the presidency rushed to attend the burial of  liberal-minded political pundit, Muslim cleric – the late Sheikh Dr Anas Abdul-Noor Kaliisa’s funeral service in Kampala and burial in western Uganda .

The prayers were attended by presidential candidates Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu (Alliance for National Transformation), Lt Gen. Henry Tumukunde (independent) and Robert Kyagulanyi (National Unity Platform).

Other dignitaries included National Resistance Movement vice-chairperson Moses Kigongo, Second Deputy Prime Minister Kirunda Kivejinja, State House Anti-Corruption Unit chief Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema and State Minister for Elderly and Disability Sarah Kanyike.

In his message read by Kivejinja, President Yoweri Museveni said Kaliisa’s death is a big blow to the country and the Muslim community.

“Kaliisa has been a pillar in development and unity of the country and he will always be missed,” Museveni said.

Kaliisa and Museveni are old students of Kyamate Primary School.

Nakalema said Kaliisa had been instrumental in the fight against corruption.

Kyagulanyi promised to ensure Muslims also take equal share of the national cake like other groups.

 He also thanked the  Kaliisa for shaping his political career.  “The first day the late Kaliisa mentioned my name, I felt happy,” Kyagulanyi said.

Tumukunde said Ugandans need to vote leaders with credibility who are ready to walk the talk. “When you vote me, I will make sure that I put everything in order. I have been proven on that. I do what I say and during my tenure as security minister, I helped the Muslims on several occasions,” he said.

He described Kaliisa as a person who had a straight path of thought with great humility.

“He was always straightforward and used his skills to help others,” he said.

Muntu said if all people were doing what they say, Uganda would be a better country.

Muntu added that the biggest problem in Uganda today are people who value and worship their materialistic things, and forget about God.

Call for level ground

The Muslim titular leader, Prince Kassim Nakibinge, raised concern over what he called the continued harassment of opposition politicians and violence among the supporters.

“Let all the political aspirants be given an equal opportunity to talk to the voters. I also urge Ugandans to abide by the laws and guidelines, instead of engaging in violence because the campaigns will come to an end, but life has to go on. Even the security agencies should respect the law and all candidates,” he said.

Nakibinge said the news of Kaliisa’s death was a big blow to him.

“I met him in 1975 when he had accompanied the then deputy mufti to visit my father. Since then, we have been working together. He always spoke his heart and did what he always said. He was a principled man.  I will miss him because he was close to me,” he noted.

Supreme Mufti Sheikh Siliman Kasule Ndirangwa said Kaliisa had been a genius Muslim scholar.

“Dr Kaliisa has died with a clean record and I implore all Muslim leaders in the country to emulate him,” Ndirangwa said.

Sheikh Nuhu Muzaata said Kaliisa had a big heart and that he wished well for everyone, regardless of their religious, tribe or political affi liation.

Kaliisa’s death 

Kaliisa, 70, was pronounced dead on Wednesday evening at his home in Kawempe-Mbogo, Kampala, hours after retiring from work.

His brother, Muhammad Kaliisa, said on the fateful day, in an unusual manner, Kaliisa went to his office before eating anything. He allegedly told his wife that he was to take tea at office. However, on return at about 4:00pm, he complained of abdominal pain and asked his wife to prepare for him some spiced tea. 

“He went to rest as he waited for the greens and tea to get ready, but unfortunately, his wife found him lifeless in his bed at about 6:15pm,” Muhammad Kaliisa said.

Mulago National Specialised Hospital is yet to release the results of his post-mortem. 

“His death has shocked us because he showed no signs of illness. He was walking without hardship. He has been a father to us since our father died in 1978,” Karim Kaliisa, the deceased’s other brother, said.

Kaliisa was laid to rest on Friday, at his ancestral home in Nyakahita, Rwengoma-Ruhaama in Ntungamo district.

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