Connect with us

Politics

ODM Lawmaker Tables Bill To Oust Atwoli From COTU

The Labour Relations (Amendment) Bill, 2024 seek to set term limits for union officials and to end the current arrangement where officials can hold office for as many terms as possible provided they are duly elected and re-elected.

Published

on

COTU Sec Gen Francis Atwoli.

Migori Senator Eddy Oketch has proposed a legislation that could threaten the existence of Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli from the position that he had held for more than two decades.

The Labour Relations (Amendment) Bill, 2024 seek to set term limits for union officials and to end the current arrangement where officials can hold office for as many terms as possible provided they are duly elected and re-elected.

“The principal object of the bill is to provide for the term of office of officials of a trade union, employers’ organisation or federation and requirements for registering a trade union,” the bill states.

“An official of a trade union, employers’ organisation or federation shall hold office for a term beginning on the date on which the official was elected and ending when a person is next elected as an official.”

Advertisement
Migori Senator Eddy Oketch. Photo/Facebook.

Migori Senator Eddy Oketch. Photo/Facebook.

Expectedly, Mr. Atwoli has lashed out at the proposal claiming it goes against the principles of free and independent trade unions as advocated for by the International Labour Organisation.

Mr Atwoli said trade unions are essential, free and independent organisations representing the interests of workers, with operations guided by their constitutions.

“It is evident that first-term Senator Eddy Oketch needs to spend more time familiarising himself with the workings of the Senate, particularly with regard to the autonomy and independence of trade unions, rather than talking about issues that are hitherto of no interest to the many Kenyans servicing and sustaining his stay at the Senate.” Atwoli said.

Related Content:  Chief Justice Maraga Faults President’s Executive Order

“Cotu wishes to express strong opposition to the Labour Relations (Amendment) Bill 2024,” Mr Atwoli declined yesterday.

Atwoli has called on Senator Oketch to unconditionally withdraw the Bill and instead engage the National Labour Board.

The proposed bill has been published for introduction in the Senate for first reading.

Advertisement

It is set to undergo public participation where officials will share their views on the proposed law.

The Bill, that appears to target long-term officials of trade unions and federations, officials of the groups shall hold office for not more than two terms.

The radical move could see long-serving Cotu SG Atwoli and Federation of Kenya Employers executive director Jacqueline Mugo exit office.

In a rejoinder, however, Atwoli challenged Senator Oketch to familiarise himself with the workings of the Senate, particularly concerning the autonomy and independence of trade unions rather than talking about issues that are hitherto of no interest to the many Kenyans servicing and sustaining his stay at the Senate.

Atwoli has served as Cotu secretary general since 2001 when he was first elected.

Advertisement

His current term ends in April 2026 after he won re-election on April 9, 2021.

Reactions

A section of country’s leadership has reacted to Atwoli’s assertions and fight to keep his hold on power mostly terming it selfish.

“Francis Atwoli has served time and must now leave the Labour Relations arena. Courts are abolishing life sentences for capital offenses, opining that 30 years is more than a life sentence. Why should one individual serve in a public office for more than 30 years.” Former Law Society of Kenya (LSK) Nelson Havi said.

Related Content:  Luhya Leaders In ODM Blocked Wanyonyi's bid

Former Kiambu governor William Kabogo alludes that Atwoli is not indispensable and that he should give way for new leadership, “ this should not be in debate, all public servants should have term limits. No one is indisposable. Fresh is always good.” He said.

Advertisement

“Francis Atwoli has walked on the backs of Kenyan workers for decades for selfish gain. Most of those he represents are underpaid. COTU is as useless as a used tissue paper. Atwoli only negotiates for his stomach. That’s why he survives by kissing every successive regime’s ass.” Musa Salah posted on X.

However, speaking on Wednesday on Citizen TV, Atwoli said it is not up to him to decide when to retire.

“Are you serving the people who gave you that mandate? That is the question. It is not me to retire, it is them to say. I wanted to retire in 2011 and they said no, I wanted to retire in 2016 they said no. In 2021 I said now you will decide. I’m still around,” he said.

By the time of the next election, Atwoli will have served for 25 years.

Last year, he hinted at leaving Cotu at the end of the current term.

Advertisement

“Matters Cotu-K leadership are Cotu-K constitutional issue and not an Atwoli issue. As of now, I am in office serving my last term,” Atwoli said.

The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers secretary general Akello Misori and chairman Omboko Milemba have also served the union for a long time.

Related Content:  ODM cooking reasons to kick-out Joho

Other long-serving trade union officials are Kenya County Government Workers Union secretary general Roba Duba and Kenya Union of Nurses secretary general Seth Panyako.

According to the Bill, existing officials of a trade union, employers organisation or federation shall be deemed to be duly elected under the Act for the remainder of their term.

Advertisement


Kenya Insights allows guest blogging, if you want to be published on Kenya’s most authoritative and accurate blog, have an expose, news TIPS, story angles, human interest stories, drop us an email on [email protected] or via Telegram
Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Most Popular