CS Echesa, Atandi in brawl over Raila

Sports CS Rashid Echesa when he appeared before Parliamentary Sports, Tourism and Culture Committee to answer to pending payments of cash awards to sports men and women totaling 146 million shillings with some being five years old. April 24, 2018. Photo/Jack Owuor
Sports CS Rashid Echesa when he appeared before Parliamentary Sports, Tourism and Culture Committee to answer to pending payments of cash awards to sports men and women totaling 146 million shillings with some being five years old. April 24, 2018. Photo/Jack Owuor

Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa and Alego Usonga MP

Sam Atandi yesterday caused a scene that nearly degenerated into a scuffle at Kisumu International Airport.

Echesa had just arrived at the airport to board a Kenya Airways flight to Nairobi when Atandi accosted him over his alleged attacks against Nasa leader Raila Odinga

"I asked him why he was attacking Raila Odinga when it was Raila who picked him from the streets and made him the ODM youth leader. Instead of responding with decorum, he started shouting and howling insults, causing a scene at the VIP lounge with many dignitaries watching," said Atandi.

Eye witnesses said Echesa was so upset that if it were not for the police who quickly moved in to diffuse the tension, blows would have been exchanged.

"He came in with his bodyguards in tow. He pointed at me and started shouting at Atandi as he moved close to him but the police came and informed him that his flight was ready for boarding," said Shakeel Shabir.

On Saturday, Echesa, a former amateur boxer, launched a scathing attack on Raila, whom he accused of plotting to have him fired as Cabinet Secretary.

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"With all due respect, I am not your (Raila's) equal. The President was not stupid to appoint me. He knew the country had professors but I was still appointed.

Raila, give me a break," said an angry Echesa at a funeral in his hometown of Mumias.

He added: "Luhyas are tired of him and he should stay away from their politics."

Echesa has been on the warpath against Raila since his appointment to the Cabinet. He frequently speaks out during weekend functions in his Mumias turf and western Kenya.

Early this month, Kakamega senator Cleophas Malala accused Echesa of sending goons to attack his convoy in Mumias. Several people were injured in the incident.

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When he was being vetted last year, the former ODM national youth leader denied that he has previously been involved in violence in Kakamega county. At the height of the campaigns for the 2017 elections, Echesa organized political activities to counter Nasa and CORD moves in Mumias.

Yesterday, Atandi said he confronted Echesa and warned him against attacking Raila.

"I told him that Raila was not his equal and that he should first go to school and get papers," said Atandi, who sounded unapologetic.

Echesa confirmed the incident but accused Atandi of provoking him.

"Atandi confronted me asking about my attacks on Raila. I asked him who Raila is. I told him Raila is a nobody and I’m a Cabinet Secretary. He got annoyed but there was no fight," Echesa said.

"If a minister fought at the airport that would be breaking news. Police and airport management could have been involved," Echesa told the Star on phone, denying that there was a scuffle.

Atandi, however, gave a different account of the altercation.

"How can he rough up a fellow man? I held him by

his neck tie. Ask the Airport police," said Atandi.

Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi who witnessed the incident said the minister was out of order.

"There was no fight. It was polite talk between Atandi and Rashid. Rashid got a bit agitated but after a short time he calmed down after I told him to respect his position as CS because there were so many people at the airport," said Otsosi, who has threatened to introduce an impeachment motion against Echesa.

Yesterday, Echesa also dared

the ANC MP to bring his motion to Parliament.

"Bring that thing and you will see what will happen. I have money. I will buy all the MPs. I also have government machinery to use against you," Echesa is reported to have shouted as he told off Osotsi.

The airport’s acting manager Wilkister Otieno said he was unaware of the incident.

"If anything like that happened, it would have been reported even to the police," she told the Star on phone.

Last week, at an upmarket restaurant in Nairobi after he got into an exchange with a man said to be a senior official in the South Sudan government.

Echesa decamped to Jubilee and contested for the Mumias West parliamentary seat in the 2017 elections.

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