The Prime Minister of Uganda Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda has been petitioned to declare the day after Eid al-Fitr a public holiday to provide formally employed muslims ample time to celebrate with family and relatives.
In his petition to the Prime Minister, Fahad Mading Mwanga, a formally employed Ugandan hailing from Budaka district in Eastern Uganda, says many muslims normally travel to their home districts to celebrate Eid al-Fitr with their relatives and family members and again expected to report back to their formal jobs the following day, something he says is unfair since most of these districts are far away from city centres as well as being hard to reach.
“They are expected to report back to their duty stations the immediate day following Eid al-Fitr. This is not only fair but also unrealistic considering that some of us have to travel upcountry to mark these celebrations. Traveling to our respective districts and back to their work stations in a space of 24 hours is ridiculous to say the least,” writes Mwanga in his petition.
“In most cases, such muslims are forced to mark their celebrations from their duty stations without their close family members, for those who insist on traveling, they often end up taking annual leave or in the worst case scenario to feign sickness (which is unethical) to accommodate this special day celebrations with their family,” he adds.
The Islamic calendar celebrates two different Eid festivals throughout the year – Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha, both are celebrated for very different reasons. Eid al-Fitr is a three-day celebration that takes place at the end of the Holy month of Ramadan, at the start of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar. Eid ul-Adha takes place following the annual Hajj pilgrimage on the 10th day of the 12th month, Dhu al-Hijjah.
“I petition you to to advise the President of the Republic of Uganda to declare under Section 2 of the Public Holidays Act CaP.255, the day following Eid al-Fitr, a public holiday,” notes Mwanga.
Muslims are currently observing fasting in the month of Ramadhan and the Eid 2021 date is anticipated to fall in the evening of Wednesday 12th May after Ramadan. However, this is dependent on the sighting of the moon
The festival is a very important time in Islam and allows families, loved ones and communities to come together and celebrate following a month of abstinence and dedication to Allah.
Mwanga who highlighted an example of Easter celebrations marked for three days including Good Friday, Easter Sunday and East Monday as well as in Tanzania where a day after Eid is a public holiday, says in the two cases there is enough time to travel to and back from home far areas for celebrations.