Finance, Planning and Economic Development Minister, Mr Matia Kasaija, has defended himself on a recent incident in which he is accused of irregularly offering a government job to his political opponent to withdraw from the parliamentary race.
Earlier this month, Mr Kasaija was in the spotlight for using his political position as Finance Minister to secure a government job for Mr Paul Kyalimpa as an exchange for him to pull out from the Buyanja County parliamentary contest.
As a result, Mr Kasaija was declared unopposed as President Yoweri Museveni appointed Mr Kyalimpa Deputy Director General of Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) and interviewed by the Public Service Commission.
In an interview with our reporter, Mr Kasaija admitted that he had influence in his opponent bowing out of the race.
However, he said 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 the NRM primaries. They asked whether he was hoping to win and I think the answer was obviously ‘No’,” said Mr Kasaija.
“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,” he added.
Explaining that the only way to keep his ministerial job was to secure a parliamentary seat, Mr Kasaija said 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 to there, eventually, we agreed.”
Mr Kasaija claimed that Mr Kyalimpa demanded to be given a job in exchange for abandoning the contest adding that it was then that the position of 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,” the minister said.
Asked why he did not drop his intentions of becoming a Member of Parliament if he knew the job of being a Finance Minister was such a demanding task, Mr Kasaija said: “My friend, I need a political base”.