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Atwoli shares biggest source of his vast wealth

With a career spanning over five decades, Atwoli has been able to lead a comfortable life and grow his net worth to become among the wealthiest and most influential Kenyans.

Francis Atwoli

In a candid interview on JKLive show with host Jeff Koinange, Francis Atwoli, the Secretary-General of the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) in Kenya, opened up about his views on business, government tenders, and commitment to workers' rights.

Atwoli, known for his vibrant personality and staunch advocacy for employee rights, made it clear that his focus remains solely on the welfare of the workers.

He distanced himself from business engagements and government tenders saying, "I don't do business. I don't ask for government tenders. I don't have any conflicting interests with any employer."


Atwoli emphasized how his decision to steer clear of business dealings allows him to maintain a close and untainted relationship with workers.

"I am a 100% salaried person and that has moved me close to workers," he stated, explaining how engaging in business, especially with employers, could compromise his position and dilute his advocacy for workers' rights.

Atwoli also shared insights into the temptations that come with power and wealth, cautioning against the risks they pose to leaders.

"If today, I went to a company and said I want to supply this, the workers, the following day would know this man is in business and whom is he in business with? (their employer). I would be compromised," he elaborated.

The conversation with Jeff Koinange shed light on the broader issue of Kenyan leaders being swayed by financial gains, leading to a shift in priorities from their fundamental roles.


Atwoli's narrative serves as a reminder of the importance of staying true to one's principles, especially in leadership positions.

With a career spanning over five decades, Atwoli has been able to lead a comfortable life and grow his net worth to become among the wealthiest and most influential Kenyans.

In a 2022 interview, he revealed that he spent Sh200 million of his funds to convene the Bukhungu I rally that endorsed Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi as the Western Kenya kingpin in the early stages of his political career.

He owns several properties, including a farm in Nakuru, a multi-million home in Kajiado, a mansion in Khwisero, luxury vehicles and expensive daily attire and accessories.


Atwoli has also been recognized and feted locally and internationally by governments and trade union centres.

He has been awarded:

  • The Elder of the Burning Spear (EBS) by the Government of Kenya
  • The Moran of the Burning Spear, (MBS) by the Government of Kenya
  • The National Order of Merit (NOM), the highest State recognition by the Algerian Government
  • Several other awards given by different National Trade Union Centres in Africa, Asia, Europe and Canada.
  1. General Secretary, Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU)
  2. Secretary General, Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU)
  3. Chairman of the East African Trade Union Confederation (E.A.T.U.C) based in Arusha, Tanzania (2002-2017)
  4. President of the Trade Union Federation of Eastern Africa (TUFEA) based in Khartoum, Sudan
  5. President of the Pan African Labour movement, the Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU) based in Accra, Ghana
  6. Vice President of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), based in Brussels, Belgium.
  7. President, Global Industrial Relations Oversight Authority based in Geneva, Switzerland.
  8. Elected Titular Member of the International Labour Organisation, (ILO) governing board based in Geneva, Switzerland
  9. Coordinator, Africa and Asia Labour Issues based in Geneva, Switzerland
  10. Board Member of the Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Turin, Italy
  11. Appointed Member, National Labour Board, Kenya
  12. Elected Director, National Bank of Kenya, Kenya
  13. Trustee, National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Kenya
  14. Board Member, Social Health Authority, Kenya


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