‘Ruto outsmarted us,’ Atwoli eats humble pie
Trade unionist Francis Atwoli has urged the opposition to accept the election of Kenya Kwanza Alliance leader William Ruto as Kenya's fifth president.
Speaking at a funeral service in Khwisero, Kakamega County, on Friday, September 9, the Central Organization Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General said the President-elect outwitted the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition, which he supported in the run-up to the August 9 general election.
The COTU boss hailed Ruto as a tactful politician for his victory over Azimio presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga.
"Hata nikiambia watu wazoee sauti ya Raila sikujua nitarudi hapa niwaambie wazoee ya Ruto. Unaona mambo ya Mungu? Mnapanga yenu kumbe anapanga yake," Atwoli said.
"Sisi tulienda kulala tukijua tumeshinda kumbe sisi tunafanya siasa bila ujuzi. William Ruto alikua na political skills na political smartness. He outsmarted us. We have to accept his win for the sake of having a peaceful nation where everyone co-exists," he said.
Atwoli, an ardent critic of Ruto who had ruled out any possibility of the country's deputy president clinching the presidency, also thanked Raila for accepting the verdict of the Supreme Court on the President-elect's victory.
"I also want to take this opportunity to thank Raila; alikwenda mahakama na pia hata kama hakufurahia matokeo ya mahakama alisema amekubali uamuzi," he added.
Atwoli hints at attending Ruto's swearing-in
While hinting at a possibility of him attending Ruto's swearing-in on Tuesday, September 13, the Azimio luminary affirmed that the workers' union will be represented at the event.
"Jumanne tutawakilishwa huko (swearing-in ceremony) na viongozi wa wafanyikazi kwa hivyo sisi tumekubali tutakuwa huko na tumeambia wafanyikazi wote waende huko," Atwoli stated.
The Supreme Court on Monday threw out Raila's petition challenging Ruto's victory.
In a judgement read by Chief Justice Martha Koome, a seven-judge bench unanimously ruled that the presidential election was conducted in line with the country’s constitution.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati had, on August 15, 2022, declared that Ruto won the election with 7,176, 141 votes, which is 50.49% of the total votes cast against Raila's 6, 942, 930 votes (48.85%).