Francis Atwoli: I had foreseen a William Ruto presidency

Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

The Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli says he is willing to support President-elect William Ruto's administration.

Atwoli, a staunch supporter of Raila Odinga, was on the record vowing that Ruto would not make it to State House.

Atwoli is famous for the phrase: "William Samoei Ruto will not be president".

In a Monday, September 5 interview on NTV, the trade unionist, however, adopted a conciliatory tone, saying he was ready to work with Ruto's administration for the benefit of Kenyan workers.

"Whatever happened (a candidate not backed by the incumbent administration winning an election) could happen in any democracy. What I said about Ruto was in the context of competition, and [it] was within my constitutional rights [to say so]. This is the freedom our people died for," he said in the TV interview.

He expressed optimism that Ruto understood his remarks in the political context, saying it was unlikely that the incoming president would seek vengeance.

"Ruto has said before that he will not reflect back on who said what about him. We must accept that the fifth President of Kenya is Ruto, as he has gone through all the stages [to win an election]," he said.

"William Ruto is an articulate politician. I had foreseen him becoming the President of Kenya; I did not say he can't be a president. I am urging all Kenyans to rally behind him, give him an opportunity to form his government and support him," said Atwoli.