NAIROBI, Kenya- Newly appointed Cabinet Secretary for Sports and Heritage; Rashid Mohammed Echesa, has pledged to dismantle cartels in the Ministry responsible for corruption and misappropriation of funds.
Speaking during the handover of the docket from outgoing minister, Dr. Hassan Wario in Nairobi on Tuesday, Echesa admitted he was aware of the scandals rocking the ministry, assuring he would clean them in his tenure.
“Whether you are a Muslim or a Christian, any wrongdoing will be met with equal force,” the new minister warned as he took over office.
Echesa inherits a ministry from his predecessor Wario, whose five year-term was rocked by scandal with the 2016 Rio Olympics fiasco where kit and money meant for Team Kenya topping the list.
Four top National Olympics Committee-Kenya officials were subsequently charged with the offences with their cases still in court.
“I come to this office fully aware of the great weight put on me to lead the Sports and Heritage sector to the next level of success,” he underlined.
“I’m arriving here not as a ‘Mr. Fix It’ but as a team player who shall readily rely on the spirit of team work.
“I will use the unique skills in the Ministry appropriately while not forgetting advices from stakeholders and officers who are part of this docket,” he said.
Wario, called on Echesa to continue with the projects he had started, including the renovation and construction of new stadia across the country.
“Welcome to the ministry that is ahead of all ministries. It the ministry that has started to build stadia, renovations are ongoing at Kasarani and Nyayo and its us who started it,” Wario advised
“I believe you have come with a lot of energy to steer the wheel forward because it’s a ministry that is responsible to nature and develop talent. I wish you luck,” the outgoing CS who has been given an ambassadorial role in Australia underscored.
Echesa, a former welterweight pugilist, stated he will use his exposure in sports to run the office with an aim to better the lives of sportspersons.
“For now, it is sufficient to recognize that sports and arts are no longer an idle past time but are sources of livelihoods for thousands of young people across the country,” he stressed.
The former Western Amateur Boxing Association chairman said he will unveil his full agenda in due course after he has reviewed and appraised activities and vision of the Ministry.
While thanking President Uhuru Kenyatta for his new position, Echesa said he has been humbled by the appointment and credited the National Assembly for ‘re-confirming’ the President’s belief that he is worthy to serve in that capacity.
‘I’m equally indebted to the two Principal Secretaries in the Ministry. I look forward for a strong support from all the Ministry staff whose services I will rely upon as I render my services to the people of Kenya,” Echesa maintained.
Among his first calls of duty is dealing with the fall out in the industry occasioned by the lack of funds occasioned by the Government’s decision to levy a 35 per cent tax on gaming revenues.