The President of the Organization of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU) who is also the Secretary General of the Central Organization of Trade Unions, COTU (K) Francis Atwoli was this morning awarded the highest distinction in Algeria by H.E. The President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika, The National Order of Merit.
The ceremony, which took place in Algiers, Algeria and conducted by President Bouteflika’s Personal aid Akka Mohammed Salah was witnessed by among the Algerian Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security Mohamed Ghazi, Representative of Kenya’ s Ambassador in Algiers Bonface Munzala, Algerian Trade Union Organization UGTA Secretary General Sid Said, OATUU Secretary General Arezki Mezhoud among others.
The President in his speech said the distinction was being Awarded in recognition of Atwoli’s exemplary efforts in the fight for the rights of the African workers, improvement of their living standards as well as his selfless efforts towards uniting the African labour movement under OATUU.
‘Algeria recognizes our big Brother Atwoli for his efforts and the pain he has to go through everyday fighting for workers on this continent’, Said the President.
It is the highest Award to be ever bestowed upon a non Algerian citizen and the first ever to be awarded to a trade union leaders both in Algeria or elsewhere.
‘The National Order of Merit Award was instituted on 2nd January, 1984 and is awarded to eminent civil, military or public service of Algeria and for exceptional service in the cause of the revolution’, read the accompanying notes.
In his acceptance speech, Atwoli dedicated the Award to the working men and women on the continent saying this all important and ‘unimaginable’ recognition ‘has just rejuvenated his resolve to even fight harder’ for both the Kenyan and African workers ‘towards sustainable social justice for all’.
He paid special tribute to the President of Algeria for his efforts in maintaining peace in his country amid turmoil in the Arab region and for the democracy that continues to prevail in Algeria.Earlier on, Atwoli held extensive discussions with the President of Algeria H.E. Bouteflika during which he briefed him on the latest developments on the Continent as far as the world of work is concern and proceeded to appreciate Algerian government’s commitment in supporting workers under the umbrella of UGTA.
Atwoli was accompanied by UGTA Secretary General Sid Said together with OATUU Secretary General Arezki Mezhoud.
OATUU is the umbrella Pan African Trade Union organization on the continent with headquarters in Accra Ghana and started in 1973.
It’s first General Secretary was a Kenyan, Hon. Dennis JD Akumu.
Personal Assitant to the Secretary General