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Rashid Mohammed Echesa is a stereotype of modern-day youth who have chosen to tread the treacherous footpath of politics.

His beginnings as a vociferous youth leader in Kakamega who had no formal education but attracted peers out of his abundance in daring authority and challenging status quo is well documented elsewhere.

What is never spoken of openly is the fact that he had a godfather who propelled him and many other youth into national limelight. Insider details indicate that Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party leader Raila Amollo Odinga is Echesa’s benefactor.

Raila brought Echesa to Nairobi to head the youth wing of ODM Party where he distinguished himself as rarely gifted in organising public scrimmages and spoiling them.

Echesa then caught the attention of the then President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto who wooed him to join the Jubilee Party. In March 2018 Echesa was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Sports.

The youth from Kakamega with limited education started living large in Nairobi. His appetite for designer clothing, four-wheelers and apartments in the leafy residential areas of the city became legend. 

To supplement his income he branched into cutting deals. He began associating with shady characters mainly from Nigeria including the Nairobi wash-wash gangs.

Once he tried to scam the Kenya Defence Forces in a shadowy arms-deal that almost resulted in his losing his life. But the sleek Echesa had learnt the ropes very well that even when the deal did not go through, he ended up with a cool KES 15 Million merely for introducing one person to the other.

Being young, semi-literate and full of buffoonery Echesa blown up with pride begun slapping IEBC officials live before media cameras. He did that not once but twice and boasted of how he was invincible. Echesa actually begun threatening the media.

Ask any seasoned politician (worth his salt) and they’ll tell you that fighting the media is a war one never wins.

The chicken are now coming home to roost. When he bends, it gets reported. If he coughs and pleads to suffer from pneumonia, it gets reported.

The limelight is now on a case where Echesa narrowly escaped with his life after trying to extort money from the Kakamega County Governor Ferdinand Barasa. Echesa is accused of defamation and spreading malicious rumours through a nude video of the Governor. Echesa is represented by the best criminal lawyer in the market currently, and it’s likely he will be let off the hook.

The lesson remains, however, that in politics you must respect the electorate. The moment you start slapping election officials in public, whether or not you win the cases in court, your credibility as a politician and popularity plummets.

And this might, likely, be the beginning of the end for the wonder boy who came to Nairobi slightly over one decade ago.


Editorial Sunday 31 March 2024



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