From grass to grace and back is a phrase that aptly describes former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa who was sacked on Friday.
In January 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed him to the Cabinet. He served in the docket for only 13 months.
Echesa, who was born at Shibale in Mumias West Constituency, referred to himself as a “village boy”.
Details on his academic background remain sketchy. He once worked as a labourer at Mumias Sugar Company.
As his political star was rising, Echesa served as the ODM’s Youth League leader before switching allegiance to Deputy President William Ruto during 2017 General Election. Thereafter, he was appointed to the Cabinet.
No sooner had Echesa landed in office than trouble started for him.
In August 2018, he accused ODM leader Raila Odinga of plotting to have him sacked after the handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“The President appointed me because I’m a child of the poor. He knew that by appointing me, I would uplift another poor kid,” Echesa said.
When President Uhuru went to lay a wreath at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga’s mausoleum in Bondo in December last year, he was unhappy with its state.
Echesa, as the minister in charge, had a tough time explaining why the historical site at Kang’oka Jaramogi was poorly maintained.
However, Raila defended him, saying Echesa was still young in his position.
Echesa and Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala were bitter rivals.
In October 2018, Echesa was accused by Malala of trying to tarnish his name by linking him to photoshopped nude photos.
Three journalists David Ndolo, Stafford Ondego and Alex Njue were arrested and charged over the matter. However, they escaped punishment when they were acquitted by the High Court which cited a faulty charge sheet.
The prosecution dropped the charges saying that the section under which the accused were charged was suspended by the High Court.
The three apologised to the Senator.
On June 29, 2018, Malala and Echesa’s supporters clashed in Matungu in Kakamega. Several people were injured and vehicles damaged. The two leaders had frequent public verbal attacks.
They even took their war to radio stations where they expressed displeasure at each other. Their differences are fuelled by their political standings.
But Echesa and Malala were photographed shaking hands last year. They said they had buried the hatchet.
Echesa’s sacking has sparked varied reactions in Mumias.
Juma Odhiambo said, “We’ve more incompetent and corrupt CSs but they decided to axe Rashid Echesa as a sacrificial lamb.”
Maina Njoki said, “Finally CS Rashid Echesa ordered to take his mcheso back to Ingoo!! This sacking was long overdue.”
Ben Ndolo said, “And before people get too busy stoning Rashid Echesa, let us remember who found him in the ghettos and raised him and nurtured him to be the ‘hardcore thug’ he is. The owner of political violence and bullying in this country. We analyse, others just watch from afar.”
During his tenure, Echesa took part in effiorts of trying to revive the ailing Mumias Sugar Company.