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Francis Atwoli re-elected unopposed for fresh 5-year term

The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli has been given a fresh mandate to lead the umbrella union after being re-elected unopposed for another five years.

Mr Atwoli, who was first elected in 2001, had a smooth sail after his only challenger and Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) secretary general Seth Panyako was barred from the race for not being a bonafide member of Cotu.

All the 34 members of the secretariat and executive board were elected unopposed in an election which was conducted at Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu and presided over by an official from the Ministry of Labour on Friday.

Mr Atwoli, in his acceptance speech, thanked the 250 delegates for having faith in his leadership and reinstating him at the helm of the vibrant labour union.

“Through my election, I commit to always champion for the rights of workers and I will not be cowed,” he said.

“Now that your effort to defend the rights of your workers have been paid through your reelection,” he told the delegates, “you should not tire to stand with what is always right and reject any kind of oppression.”

“I promise to serve you with all my might and strength and not betray the trust you have bestowed in me,” Atwoli said on his official Twitter account.

The 12 officials of the secretariat include Rajabu Mwondi (Chairman), Joel Chebii (1st vice chair), Francis Murage (2nd vice chairman), Benson Okwaro (deputy secretary general), Ernest Nadome (1st assistant secretary general), Carolyn Rutto (2nd assistant secretary general).

Others are Rebecca Nyathogora (Treasurer General), Washington Adongo (deputy treasurer), Francis Wangara (1st trustee) and Joseph Onchonga (2nd trustee).

The 22 members of the executive board were also elected in the process that took place both virtually and physically.

All the 43 general secretaries attended physically while other delegates cast their ballots virtually after Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said only a maximum of 50 delegates can assemble at the facility.

“It is important to note that the country is currently experiencing widespread community transmission of Covid-19, with a surge of cases in the past few weeks,” he said in a letter dated April 7.

Cotu had, in its letter, requested the ministry to have up to 103 delegates drawn across the country to participate in the process at the lakeside city.