Talk of a short folklore of grass to grace and back to grass again. Such is the story of former Sports CS Rashid Echesa- the 35 year old ex political activist, first serving as PNU coordinator in Mumias then later as ODM National Youth Leader before he joined Jubilee just before the 2017 General Election.
In January 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed him to the Cabinet, where served for only 13 months before he was fired. In August 2018, he accused ODM leader Raila Odinga of plotting to have him sacked after the March 9 handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
He says if given a few seconds with his former boss the President, this is what he would say.
“I would ask him why he sacked me. And if he could find it in his heart to forgive me if I offended him unknowingly.”
Echesa is referred to as a ‘hardcore’ in Kakamega politics and one who does not shy away from confrontational politics. He enjoys considerable support among the youth.
On why he ditched ODM, he says:
“From PNU I joined ODM because of pressure from my supporters in Mumias. I rose to be the youth leader but after the 2013 General Election I got frustrated after we lost and because I could not even access party leader Raila Odinga—things just fell apart. I had met Ruto at numerous functions and after the 2013 polls I called him and he invited me to his Sugoi home where we talked and he convinced me to join Jubilee, which I did. He told me that President Kenyatta was a very good man to work with. I told Ruto that selling Jubilee in Western would be hard. But he told me that even if I lost the election in Mumias, where I was to run for MP, I would still get a job through Jubilee. Indeed, I was appointed to the Cabinet. Since then Ruto has been a close friend and I know him as a man who works hard and keeps his word, values friends and can stick with a person he believes in through thick and thin.
Why was he sacked?
“That is a question I still ask myself. I did not offend anyone. I was loyal to the President, DP and the government. It came as a huge shock and that is why I have repeatedly asked the President to tell me, and Kenyans, what I did wrong. I have tried all means to know the truth with no success. It hounds me and my family. Everyone keeps asking what I did wrong. It would give me peace of mind and clear my name if the President just told me my mistake. The manner of my dismissal has put me in a precarious position. Even Kenyans are asking did Echesa steal from government or what annoyed the President about him?”
And has he tried asking the big man why he was shown the door?
“Not directly, but I talked to DP Ruto. I believe by talking to the DP I have reached the President. In fact, I know Ruto talked to the President before I was sacked but as the appointing authority he had already made up his mind that I had to be fired.”
Echesa who has ostensibly confessed to friends that he regrets his unbridled lash at Raila believes the President may have been misled.
Asked if he felt his dismissal had anything to do with you close relationship with DP Ruto, he avers that if that be the case, then he would like to be told for my peace of mind.
On his recent arrest over the Matungu killings…
“I was trailed by DCI officers after attending DP Ruto’s function in Ikolomani. I went to the DCI headquarters in Kakamega, where I was informed that I was under arrest for inciting people to burn a police station. They also asked me about a young girl who had been killed in Mumias, but I told the officers that they were insane for questioning me about things I did not know about. Some of the officers told me that they knew I had nothing to do with the killings but they were under pressure to arrest me. I was taken all the way to Nandi Hills and locked up. I called the DPP and asked him why I was under arrest and that’s when he called for my file and ordered our released as they had nothing against us.
“At Nandi Hills I thought it’s not possible for a person of my stature to be arrested without consultation between Interior CS Fred Matiang’i and the President. I could not understand why the President was allowing or subjecting me to such humiliation and torture. I thought of my young children, who are yet to recover from my dismissal, being forced to watch me getting arrested on TV for killing people.”
Echesa spoke to the Star
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