Atwoli urges Raila to accept loss, asks workers to keep off Azimio demos
Trade unionist Francis Atwoli has asked opposition leader Raila Odinga to accept the outcome of the last presidential election to allow the country to move forward.
Speaking during a meeting with members of the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) in Nairobi on Sunday, April 2, Atwoli condemned anti-government protests called by the Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition leader, saying the weekly demonstrations threaten the country's ailing economy.
According to Atwoli, Raila lost fairly to President William Ruto in the last presidential election, adding that his claims of electoral fraud were unfounded.
Atwoli, a close ally of Raila, said Ruto managed to outsmart Azimio coalition despite them having the backing of former Head of State Uhuru Kenyatta and state machinery.
“If you had everything, and you lose to an outsider. Think hard, how did an outsider steal when you have everything in the house?" Atwoli posed.
“President Ruto is a smart politician and we need to be reasonable as Kenyans. Some things are irreversible. We must accept changes because they are there and cannot be reversed."
At the same time, Atwoli ruled out the possibility of him lobbying for a handshake between Raila and Ruto to resolve the ongoing stalemate.
“I was at the forefront of the Azimio campaigns. I have never called for a handshake. They are all adults, above 18 years, how do you start saying you want them to talk? They are not children,” Atwoli remarked.
He urged Kenyan workers to keep off the opposition's demonstrations scheduled for Monday for the country to realise much-needed stability to thrive economically.
“We do not want to put the country on fire. We want to remain as brothers and sisters,” Atwoli added.
“I will not take workers to protests because the country already has a President. I have already talked with the President and he has committed to helping workers."
At the same time, Atwoli pledged to continue keeping the government of President Ruto in check even as he supports the government agenda.
“I will be at the forefront in telling the President his shortcomings but I will work with him to ensure the welfare of the workers improves," he said.
Raila has called for mother of all demonstrations on Monday to push for economic and electoral reforms, despite a tough stance from President Ruto's Kenya Kwanza administration to block the demonstrations.