Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Kahinda Otafiire has spoken out on allegations that he is behind the woes of his successor Donozio Kahonda.
In 2016, Kahonda defeated Otafiire, ending the National Resistance Movement (NRM) historical’s two-decade reign as Ruhinda County MP.
But Kahonda would later be sentenced to nine months imprisonment over forgery.
The MP was granted bail Tuesday and seeks to have court overturn his conviction or else risk losing the seat.
But Kahinda Otafiire has been quoted by The Observer in an interview published on Monday as saying that Kahonda had a case to answer and that he should blame his track record not him.
Kahinda said Kahonda was not any special, enumerating a number of MPs who have been jailed for crime.
“Kahonda is blaming me for forgery. Is he innocent? Am I the court that pronounced him guilty and sent him to prison? Did he commit a crime? He did. If he committed a crime, why doesn’t he answer for his transgressions?,” he asked.
“Is Kahonda the first MP to go to jail? You remember Godi [Akbar] was convicted for murder. [Mubarak] Munyagwa was in jail. Jim Muhwezi was arrested when he was a member of parliament. [Mike] Mukula was arrested. So, what is so special about Kahonda? If I had put him under preventive detention, you would say this man has locked up an innocent person. I am not the complainant.”
Otafiire also described Kahonda as a crook, adding that the people had a right to reject him through court.
“My supporters and mobilisers, if they complain it is because he is their MP. So, if they complain about the character of their leader, do they have a legitimate concern? Why do you want to condemn the people of Ruhinda to the leadership of a crook? What crime have the people of Ruhinda committed that they should be led by a crook? They could have voted for him when they did not know. Now that they know!!” he said.
Asked whether he would contest for the Ruhinda seat if it fell vacant in case Kahonda serves a term six months or longer, Otafiire said he was done with the “ungrateful people of Ruhinda”
“I am not involved in Kahonda’s troubles. I do not intend to go back to Ruhinda. I have clearly told the people that I am finished with them and I am not going back whatever the circumstances,” he responded.
You appear upset by the people’s decision to elect another person who was in prison during primaries and the general election. After what I have done for these people, if they don’t appreciate my work, I don’t think there is anything I can do to endear myself to them. They need me and I don’t need them.”