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Ousted Cotu chief should spare us this threatre

By Joseph Kamau | October 16th 2014 at 10:21:00 GMT +0300

I wish to comment on the on-going spat between the Central Organisation of Trade Unions, Cotu (K) Secretary General Francis Atwoli and his Deputy of 14 years and my Member of Parliament George Muchai.

Foremost, l don't hold brief for any of these two individuals since the only relationship l have with them is that they represent workers and l happen to be a worker who pays a monthly membership fee to Cotu (K) of Sh100 and secondly, my research interests are in the field of labour, hence my interest in the on-going duel involving the two.

There is an emergence of a new ideology from the body of the trade union movement which represents a very clear-cut socialist alternative policy and which gives expression to the views of the workers and the trade union movement in Parliament. Indeed the election of Mr Muchai to the August House gave most workers an even greater hope to their daily fight for justice only for most of us to be disoriented by his hitherto dismal performance in the House.

However, as a worker l feel cheated by the two leaders, more so the allegations being fronted by  Muchai and my arguments are grounded on the following;

One, why has it taken Muchai seven years to uncover the so-called illegal sale of some property, namely a parcel of land in Mombasa allegedly and secretly sold by the Secretary General? We are told that the reported transaction of the property took place in 2007 and this begs the question, did it have to wait for Kazungu Kambi to be appointed Labour Cabinet Secretary for Muchai to blow the whistle? Is he a true whistle blower or there is something up his sleeves?

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Secondly, Muchai claims the entire leadership of Cotu (K) do not possess the much needed qualifications to hold their respective positions. Muchai has been Cotu (K) Deputy Secretary General since August, 2001. (At least as per the Registrar of Trade Unions' Records) he must have had some influence by virtue of being second in command at the helm of Cotu (K) to put this so called 'unqualified' individuals in these positions. You want to tell me Muchai has been sitting and dining with these ignorant individuals for over 14 years only to realise they are not qualified? Personally I am skeptical to buy into such allegations.

Third, it is interesting that despite Muchai being second in command at Cotu (K) Headquarters, he doesn't command any support even from a single Executive Board Member since all the 27 members of the Executive Board except him met at Lake Bogoria Spa and Resort to endorse his suspension. And even wherever l have watched the two address the Press, conspicuously absent from Muchai's side is any individual to flank him. This is unlike Mr Atwoli, who whenever he opens his mouth, tens of Executive Board members flank him.

Fourth, the formation of the Public Servants Trade Union of Kenya (Pusetu) was a culmination of the war between Atwoli and Mr Kambi and it is not lost to observers that the two have remained at loggerheads over the management and running of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF). As workers we wonder, could this recent war of Atwoli and Muchai be as a result of the Atwoli-Kambi rivalry? Could both Atwoli and Muchai be playing into the hands of Kambi?

I consider this to be a supremacy war pitting individuals pursuing personal and selfish interests and it is even in the public domain that same of the unions led by these individuals have been notorious in mortgaging workers through cutting deals on their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and gone further to obtain retainers at the expense of the members they purport to represent.

COTU George Muchai Francis Atwoli
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