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Atwoli: Why Cotu has resolved to work with William Ruto administration

Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli Saturday, September 17, insisted that the labour movement in Kenya will work with the President William Ruto-led Kenya Kwanza administration.

Mr Atwoli, who was a fierce critic of Kenya Kwanza coalition in the run up to the August 9 General Election, said it is Cotu's policy to work with any government in power.

He disclosed that trade union leaders met after the elections and resolved to work with the government to better workers' terms and conditions of service.

Atwoli described this year's elections as peaceful and asked all workers to unite while rallying behind the government.

"I want to assure workers that we are united and that our resolution, as our policies state, is to work with the government of the day. I had assured Kenyans and the whole world during the campaigns that the just concluded elections would be peaceful," he said during the funeral service of Mzee Zachariah Cheruiyot, the father of Cotu vice chairman Joel Chebii, in Eldoret. 

Atwoli explained that Cotu is affiliated to the International Labor Organisation (ILO), adding international conventions mandate trade unionists to work with their respective national governments. 

He cited the United Nations Charter on Civil and Political Rights, which he said, gave Kenyans, workers included, the freedom to associate with political leaders and take part in politics.

President William Ruto with COTU Secretary-General Francis Atwoli during a past event. [File, Standard]

He added that Kenyan workers will need government support in the creation of an enabling environment for unionists to negotiate better terms.

"We have upheld the policy of working with the government since the days of Tom Mboya. It is not unique when we do it today," he said.

"Elections are over and Kenyans must return to work and redouble their efforts in nation building, and the country remains a nation that can prosper. But most importantly, support the government of the day."

He, however, asked a section of political leaders, who he said were attempting to cause a clamour for fresh elections in Cotu, to keep off the affairs of labour movements.

"We finished trade union elections in May last year and nobody should go round telling workers that there will be another election. It normally happens during a new regime. They should not have misled workers," Atwoli said.

Atwoli had congratulated President Ruto after his inauguration and promised to work with him to improve workers’ welfare.

He praised his inaugural speech, saying it was reconciliatory and inspired hope among Kenyans.