The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli has urged Azimio leader Raila Odinga to accept the 2022 election results.
Atwoli made the sentiments while chairing a meeting with the union’s members in Nairobi on Sunday, ahead of Labor Day celebrations on May 1.
In his address, Atwoli says even though he was at the forefront of Azimio la Umoja coalition campaigns, the coalition’s loss in the elections will not deter him from representing the interests of his people under the new government.
He has also reiterated that joining the campaign trail was not to benefit him individually but to make sure the interests of COTU members are protected.
Therefore, he has ruled out the possibility of him lobbying for a handshake between Raila and President William Ruto.
“I was at the forefront of the Azimio campaigns. I have never called for a handshake. They are all adults, above 18 years, how do you start saying you want them to talk? They are not children,” Atwoli says.
“We met at Serena [Hotel]. I was sent by COTU members and we gave our demands on what we would like done if Raila became president. I joined them. We had everything, pushed William Ruto out of government, and he took the opposite road. He still managed to come from nowhere and beat us,” he adds.
According to Atwoli, he was the main critic of President Ruto during the campaign period but that has not hindered him from respecting and agreeing to work with him.
“We must accept changes because they are there and cannot be reversed. I critiqued Ruto more than everybody else in Azimio. When he won, we met on December 1, 2022. On December 8, he came to Western,”
While appearing to chide the Azimio team, Atwoli says “If you had everything, and you lose to an outsider. Think hard, how did an outsider steal when you have everything in the house? This means that person is mad, he is mad. I don’t like losing. I don’t want to go into details”.
Atwoli has also urged his members to keep off the ongoing Azimio protests as it enters day four tomorrow.
“Most of us are working in the informal sector, we should only go for demonstrations to demand for CBA [Central Bargaining Agreements]. When the election period ended, it ended. Some things are irreversible. When a woman decides to leave, even meetings cannot bring her back,”
The COTU boss has also urged Kenyans to remain peaceful, saying the two leaders will definitely come to an agreement.
“Do not lose your sleep over the protests. Automatically there will be a way out, we are one and we have a better country to keep,”