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Hata ndoa huvunjika: Lessons to pick from Raila, Atwoli fallout

By Winnie Onyando September 6th, 2023 2 min read

In a surprising turn of events, Azimio leader Raila Odinga and Central Organization of Trade Union (COTU) secretary-general Francis Atwoli have found themselves on opposite sides of the political spectrum.

Their recent exchange of words at a funeral at Vihiga County highlights important lessons in political loyalty and advocacy, shedding light on the dynamics of Kenya’s ever-evolving political landscape.

The two leaders were close during the 2022 campaigns and Atwoli offered his full support to the opposition leader.

However, things took a new turn after the 2022 polls where President William Ruto narrowly defeated Mr Odinga.

Atwoli had previously sworn that President Ruto would lose to Mr Odinga.

However, after the results, Atwoli slowly changed his stand and shifted to support Dr Ruto.

Below are a few lessons to pick from their ‘fall-out’ with Odinga:

Shifting alliances in politics

One of the primary lessons from this episode is the fluidity of political alliances. During the 2022 campaigns, Atwoli was an ardent supporter of Raila Odinga, demonstrating the power of political endorsements.

However, after the elections, Atwoli shifted his allegiance to President William Ruto’s camp.

This shift underscores the importance of staying adaptable in politics, as alliances can change based on evolving circumstances and interests.

Loyalty versus advocacy

The disagreement between Raila and Atwoli brings to the forefront the tension between loyalty to a political leader and advocacy for a particular cause.

Odinga expressed the view that Atwoli should have been at the forefront of leading demonstrations against the high cost of living, given his role as a labor leader.

Atwoli, on the other hand, argued that he needed the government’s support to advocate for workers’ welfare effectively.

This conflict raises questions about the balance between loyalty to a political leader and the responsibility to advocate for the rights of one’s constituency.

The evolving political landscape

The exchange of words between Raila and Atwoli reflects the ever-changing nature of Kenya’s political landscape.

It illustrates how political leaders and influencers may need to recalibrate their strategies and alliances in response to the shifting dynamics of Kenyan politics.

Lack of respect for the dead

Rather than take time to console the bereaved family, the two political leaders were chest thumping and exchanging unpleasant words at the funeral.

This shows a lack of respect for the dead and even for the bereaved family.

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