When Rashid Echesa was appointed Sports and Heritage Cabinet Secretary last year, it was up to him to prove his critics wrong.
The former boxer, who was valued at Sh40 million in fixed and movable assets at the time of his appointment, was severely criticised during and after his vetting by lawmakers.
Having dropped out of primary school, Mr Echesa’s education background put him at a great disadvantage.
His scandal-ridden past had seen him get involved in a number of brawls with many of his political enemies.
Because of this, Mr Echesa’s ability to serve as a minister was questioned from all quarters, though he secured the lucrative post.
As he marked his first year in office recently, consensus among sports lovers and stakeholders, however, was that Mr Echesa’s tenure was far from impressive.
Chief among his failures was the inability to implement the Sports Fund, which was part of the 2013 Sports Act, a law that came into being during his predecessor Hassan Wario’s time.
While Dr Wario saw the implementation of a number of components in the Act, such as the Sports Disputes Tribunal and the Anti-doping Agency of Kenya, Mr Echesa failed to take the story forward by making the Fund operational.
It meant national teams and even athletes lacked financial support when preparing for major competitions.
What also blighted Mr Echesa’s tenure were the myriad empty promises he gave with regard to the completion of stadiums.
Alongside Sports Permanent Secretary Kirimi Kaberia, Mr Echesa was caught on camera many times talking tough and giving deadlines for the completion of the construction.
His latest pledge was the completion of the 30,000-seater Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, which has been closed for three years now.
Mr Echesa said works would be completed by January. The place is incomplete and nobody knows when the stadium will be reopened.
Unfortunately for Mr Echesa, the scandals followed him to the ministry.
He was constantly in the news for unbecoming behaviour and making unprintable remarks.
His obsession with rallies, funerals and other “populist” functions made him appear more of a politician with little regard for his work.
At one time, President Uhuru Kenyatta was so angered by his minister that he openly criticised him in the presence of Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga and many other dignitaries.
That was during the President’s tour of Nyanza.
The poor state of the mausoleum of the country’s first vice president and opposition doyen Jaramogi Oginga Odinga angered Mr Kenyatta.
While many of Mr Echesa’s scandals were political, some were deeply embarrassing, such as the issuing of work permits to eight Pakistani girls. On a personal level, Mr Echesa’s often unapproachable demeanour saw him cross swords with sports stakeholders and his colleagues at Kencom House.
It was hardly surprising when he was ejected from office Friday.
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