Cotu throws weight behind Raila, says workers safer with him

Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga receives a Memorandum of Understanding from COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli on April 12, 2022. COTU pledged support to Raila's presidential course. [Denish Ochieng,Standard]

The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) has endorsed Mr Raila Odinga for president. 

Cotu, an umbrella body for unions representing teachers, civil servants, lecturers and other workers across the country, led by Secretary-General Mr Francis Atwoli, said it was fully behind the ODM leader and that it will campaign for him.

Speaking at a Nairobi hotel yesterday, where the unions presented to Mr Odinga a memorandum containing pressing issues they wanted handled should he be elected president, Mr Atwoli said he was sure Mr Odinga would carry the day on August 9. "It’s a whole commitment of standing with the person you know you are safe with. Our economy is safe under Raila," he said.

"And like I said before, William Ruto will not be the president of Kenya," Mr Atwoli added.

At the same time, Cotu Assistant Secretary-General Mr Ernest Nadome said they decided to choose a side and candidate who would care for the rights of workers countrywide. 

Mr Nadome said previously the union did not endorse any presidential candidate. "We will suffer the most post-August should we fail to pick a side. This time round we will not take a neutral position," he said.

An elated Mr Odinga acknowledged the support and promised to prioritise issues of workers if elected president. "It is important to have a union that will ensure workers don't lose. The private sector should be allowed to grow; affordable housing is very important. A housing levy should be in place for workers to help those down there to get access to affordable homes,” added the ODM leader.

Also in attendance were Governors Charity Ngilu (Kitui), Prof Anyang' Nyong'o (Kisumu) and Mr Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia).