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Ex-NCIC official Prof Naituli calls out Atwoli for ‘siding’ with government

By Freya Wanjiku October 19th, 2023 2 min read

Former Commissioner at the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), Professor Joseph Naituli, has openly criticized the Central Organization of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary-General, Francis Atwoli, accusing him of having close ties with the government.

Echoing the sentiments of Azimio la Umoja party leader Raila Odinga on the same matter, Professor Naituli suggested that it might be time for Atwoli to consider stepping away from his role within the workers’ union, as he seemed to have moved away from his watchdog responsibilities.

Professor Naituli stated, “As it is right now, they know what they must do but are not doing it. Cotu, Atwoli had disappeared, I think Raila was right; he was not representing the workers. When you go to bed with the government, you cease to be a worker’s representative because the government is about power acquisition, and you are competing for that piece.”

Last month, Raila Odinga, while addressing residents of Narok Town, asserted that Mr Atwoli was no longer effectively safeguarding the interests of Kenyan workers.

He expressed concerns that the labor movement had become too closely aligned with the government, leaving Kenyan workers without proper representation.

“The labor movement has gone to bed with this regime. Kenyan workers are on their own,” he said, adding that the opposition was now fulfilling the role that Mr Atwoli should have been playing as a union leader.

In response to the ongoing challenges faced by Kenyan workers due to the rising cost of living, Mr Atwoli is now seeking a meeting with President William Ruto to explore potential solutions, including salary increases for all workers.

He emphasized the importance of avoiding street demonstrations and stressed the need for a balanced approach.

“We want 50-50, as they increase (prices of) whatever product they want to increase, whatever taxation they want, it must go in tandem with an adjustment of wages and income of working Kenyan men and women,” he explained.