The Finance minister Matia Kasaija has defended himself on a recent incident in which he was accused of irregularly offering a government job to his opponent to have him withdraw from the parliamentary race.
Kasaija was earlier this month put on the spot for using his position as the Finance Minister to secure a government job for Paul Kyalimpa in exchange for him withdrawing from the Buyanja County MP contest.
Consequently, Kasaija was declared the winner of the position as unopposed as Kyalimpa was appointed the Deputy Director-General of Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) by President Museveni and later interviewed by the Public Service Commission for the same position.
In an interview at the sidelines of President Museveni’s campaign meeting in Kibaale, Kasaija admitted that he had influence in his opponent bowing out of the race but noted the process was initiated by elders in the area.
“When he reached somewhere (in the campaign process) the elders asked why he was coming back(after being defeated in NRM primaries). They asked whether he was hoping to win and I think the answer was obviously no,”Kasaija said.
“We went into peace talks on how he should get out so that I am liberated to continue doing my ministerial job which is very complicated as you all know.”
Explaining that the only way to keep his ministerial job was to secure a parliamentary seat, Kasaija noted that it was prudent that his opponent bows out to give him ample time to work on other issues concerning the ministry.
“In order for me to continue doing my work as a minister smoothly and free my time to run from here and there, eventually, we agreed.”
Kasaija explained that Kyalimpa demanded to be given a job in exchange for abandoning the contest, adding that it was then that the position of the Deputy Director-General of Uganda Investment Authority came into the picture.
“.. so we discussed within the government machinery and there was a position in Uganda Investment Authority where there was no deputy Director-General and the process went through. The young man eventually got the job.”
“My friend, I need a political base,” Kasaija said when asked why he didn’t drop his intentions of becoming a Member of Parliament if he knew the job of being a Finance Minister was such a demanding task.