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Bunge la Mwananchi president Francis Awino rejects Azimio advances

By Winnie Onyando February 17th, 2024 2 min read

Activist Francis Awino, president of Bunge la Mwananchi which is a prominent social justice movement, has shed light on the efforts made by leaders within the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition to persuade him to align with their cause.

In an exclusive interview with Nairobi News, Awino disclosed that several Azimio leaders have actively sought his allegiance, employing various means to convince him to join their camp.

However, Awino firmly stated that he has declined all such offers.

“It’s true. Many have reached out, some directly and others through intermediaries, urging me to align with their faction. But I have consistently rejected these overtures,” Awino confirmed to Nairobi News.

He attributed his reluctance to affiliate with any political group to his unwavering dedication to the principles of the social justice movement.

“Joining a political faction entails taking sides and aligning with their agenda, which conflicts with our commitment to impartial advocacy,” Awino explained.

Awino emphasized the potential consequences of aligning with a specific political camp, noting the inherent risk of compromising the movement’s autonomy and integrity.

“Once a social justice movement aligns itself with a political entity, it becomes entangled in their affairs and loses its independence,” he cautioned.

“I am solely focused on representing the interests of the Bunge la Mwananchi community. My priority lies in activism, not partisan politics,” Awino affirmed, underscoring his steadfast dedication to advocating for social justice without political entanglements.

During Calvince Okoth aka Gaucho’s reign, the social justice movement appeared to read from the same script as the Azimio la Umoja’s side.

Gaucho as the Bunge la Mwananchi president was on the frontline during Azimio la Umoja One Kenya anti-government protests which were aimed at lowering the cost of living.

Gaucho was arrested severally and detained because of the Azimio anti-government protest.

He made the movement to be seen as Azimio ‘agent’.

However, Awino now says that he is dedicated to protecting the interests of his members.

Founded during a one-party state era, Bunge la Mwananchi was established as a social movement in the early 1990s to hold the ruling government accountable. Over the years, the movement has expanded its reach, with active members in 26 counties.

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