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Atwoli speaks ahead of Tuesday’s Azimio Maandamano

The Central Organization of Trade Union, Kenya (Cotu) secretary general (SG) Francis Atwoli has called on the Azimio la Umoja coalition to figure out the pros and cons of doing demonstrations.

According to Mr Atwoli, the opposition should interrogate its firm decision on protests; If picketing yields positive results or not.

“We do not have any other country apart from the one we are in. If we destroy it, where will we head to?” posed the normally combative Atwoli in his speech to the media after attending church service at St. Stephen’s ACK, Nairobi on April 30, 2023.

Atwoli however did not reveal his stance on the Azimio protests slated for May 2, 2023 in Nairobi.

“I am not competent to advise my brother Raila Odinga or the head of state William Ruto,” he said.

Azimio coalition leader, Mr Raila Odinga has vowed to proceed with the protests, claiming the government is not ready to address the opposition’s outcry.

According to Mr Atwoli, President Ruto is capable of taking the country forth since Kenyans elected him after assuring them of his plans.

“President Ruto is my younger brother; he is very sharp and intelligent. Some of us were against him before August 9, 2022 general elections, but he emerged victorious,” the Cotu SG explained.

“We had the state machinery, and when I looked at the Internal Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’I and the PS Karanja Kibicho (Now all retired), I was confident we would win. I do not understand what happened.”

Mr Odinga initially called off the protests following President William Ruto’s plea promising a negotiation platform to address the opposition’s issues.

The two political factions, Azimio and Kenya Kwanza have unveiled their representative team members for bipartisan talks.

However, Mr Raila has faulted the government saying it is seemingly not willing to address the opposition’s concerns.

He has also disputed some of the Kenya Kwanza team members, stating they are not fit to participate in the talks “since they were elected under Azimio coalition during August 9, 2022, general elections’. ​

Meanwhile, Nairobi Police boss Mr Adamson Bungei on Sunday banned the planned Azimio demonstrations.

He said previous protests by the opposition coalition were marred with violence, destruction of property and businesses as well as loss of lives. ​

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