• April 15, 2024
  • Last Update April 15, 2024 8:58 AM
  • Nairobi

Elder Atwoli is showing us the right way, lets listen to him

Elder Atwoli is showing us the right way, lets listen to him

By Michael M Boy

For more than three decades, Kenyans have clamoured for change through various means in a bid to refine our governance structures.

We have demonstrated on the streets, we have legislated in parliament, we have promulgated a new constitution and yet we find ourselves deeper and deeper in despair.

The brighter days to come seem like an illusion in a country laden with rampant corruption, a largely poverty-ridden population grappling with the ever-simmering divisions cultivated by the political class.

We have over the years lamented over the lack of goodwill from the political class, the deafening silence from the men and women of the cloth, the willingness to turn a blind eye or participate in underhand dealings by the civil society and the lack of courage by those in positions to take a stand and speak up on behalf of the downtrodden population.

It is therefore a welcome sight to see a man of COTU Sec Gen. Francis Atwoli’s stature dedicating time out of his busy schedule to bring leaders together and try and fix some of the things ailing our country. This he has done on several occasions.

In 2017, with heightened political divisions in the country, he was among the first leaders in the country to publicly implore the political leaders to embrace dialogue which resulted in the March 2018 handshake between NASA leader R. Honorable Raila Amollo Odinga and H.E. President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta. He has followed this up by dedicating his time and energy to help guide and build consensus on the BBI process.

Since he was elected as the Secretary General of the Central Organization of Trade Unions in 2001, the flamboyant and sometimes combative organized labour union leader has undertaken his duties vigorously and sagaciously.

The workers have shown their confidence in him by re-electing him thrice, doing so unopposed in the last COTU elections held in 2016. The same faith has been exhibited by his colleagues and peers who have elected him to represent their interests in no fewer than six international labour movements and organizations.

His energy and wisdom should be welcomed with both hands and encouraged if for nothing else, to inspire those within and outside the political class who have for far too long been silent, seeing no evil, hearing no evil and saying no evil. Kenyans are all too aware how disconnected the bulk of the political leadership is from the reality that ‘Wanjiku’ has to live with as a result of the failings in our governance structures.

It comes as no surprise that those who would wish to maintain the status quo that has served them all too well are going wild directing all manner of insults and ridicule in his direction. They do not think he has the right to contribute and shape the direction the country takes. This they see as their exclusive inherent right.

What irks even more is they do not even have the tact to veil their disdain of him personally. They make no attempt at either giving their opinions or their apprehensions about his proposals and contributions. The personal attacks on him and outright threats to go after him in the COTU elections next year show that their only issue is that he dared to step up, to speak, to claim a say in the future of this country.

His stance has earned him enemies no doubt, but it has also inspired thousands more to step up and stake a claim in their future. This can be seen in the large number of non-political players who have contributed in writing, in attendance and via other channels to the on-going BBI process. His leading role in this process will help to unshackle the population of the notion that their future can only be decided by the political class.

According to his recently verified twitter account, Francis Atwoli describes himself as the Secretary General of COTU, a father and an elder! He has certainly walked the talk and set a path that we can follow.

He is not a perfect fit for the existing political class, he is not politically correct or always agreeable, but neither are we. He is true to himself and as an elder he is making his contribution and showing us that our contributions no matter how drastic, weird or uncomfortable, are not misplaced and we have every right to stake our claim in our future.

Renowned reggae musician Bob Marley sang “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, non but our self can free our minds.”  Elder Francis Atwoli has made his contribution in freeing us from self-imposed and system entrenched limitations.

Whatever your thoughts are on the various proposals out there, make your voice heard. The key here is not for all of us to agree, but to have an inclusive manner in which we can engage now and in the future. The 2010 Constitutions rests all power with the sovereign, the people and ultimately, we will decide.

Let us decide based on our own cognizance and never again by being shepherded by those who feel that it is their sole right to make decisions on our behalf.

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