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Atwoli reveals what he told Raila before meeting Ruto at State House

The COTU boss also dismissed allegations that he warmed up to President William Ruto for personal gain, revealing what compelled him to meet the head of state

Francis Atwoli with President William Ruto at State House on December 1, 2022

Central Organizations for Trade Unions (COTU-K) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli has come clean on what he discussed with Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga before meeting President William Ruto at State House.

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Atwoli revealed that he briefed Odinga of the agenda of his visit which sparked speculation that the COTU boss could be warming up to dumping Azimio for Kenya Kwanza.

The trade unionist who was speaking in a funeral in Khwisero, Kakamega County, on Saturday, December 3 revealed that he explained to the former Prime Minister that it was important for him to meet the president for the sake of the millions of workers he represents at COTU.

"I explained to Raila that I have my own constituency which I represent and that I engaged in politics of representation where I support worker-related issues - but we did not get the presidency.

"As an international labour leader, I went to those who got it so that they help me implement the international labour convention standards that I am recognised for globally," Atwoli explained.

The trade unionist divulged that agenda items during the State House meeting included the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) which are of great importance to the Kenyan workers he represents.

Hinting at a long-term partnership with the president, including a second term, Atwoli noted that having trounced Azimio despite the support of retired president Uhuru Kenyatta, Ruto could achieve a similar feat in 2027 especially now that he is in power.

"If that young man (Ruto) snatched the seat from us yet we had Uhuru Kenyatta, who was the government, what makes you think that he will not walk over us in 2027?" Atwoli added.

He concluded that he and Ruto have since put aside the bitter exchange during the heated electioneering period, including remarks such as kukata miti Sugoi and mzee wa nyororo which featured in their exchanges.

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