The Central Organization of Trade Unions, COTU (K) Secretary General Francis Atwoli who is currently in Brussels Belgium meeting the European Commission on the contentious Economic Partnership Agreements, EPAs and also attending the 17th General Council meeting of the International Trade Union Confederation, ITUC at the Union Headquarters, has congratulated and applauded the speech delivered by President Uhuru Kenyatta at his swearing in ceremony particularly his executive directive that all East Africans should freely access both employment and trade as well as own property in Kenya in full adherence to the provisions of the Common Market Protocol on free movement of persons in the region.
For the last fifteen years, while serving as the then Chairman of the East African Trade Union Confederation, EATUC with its headquarters in Arusha, I personally employed every efforts and methods to convince the East African political leadership to open up and allow for the free movement of persons from the region and allow portability of social security contributions within the region and for President Uhuru Kenyatta to have openly, and in the presence of his colleagues from the region, declared and enumerated that our brothers and Sisters from the region are free to access employment in Kenya and do all that a native Kenyan can including owning property on production of his/ her identity is recommendable and a milestone that should immediately be emulated not only by the East African political leaders but Africa as a whole.
We urge the rest of the Continent to take a cue from this bold move by President Uhuru Kenyatta and equally when he stated that any African coming to Kenya will only require Visa at the point of entry and both decisions by the President will ease movement of persons on the continent and promote fast economic growth in the region and on the African continent.
Indeed there isn’t much gift that both the Kenyan and regional workers would have gotten from the President in 2017 other than what he has exhibited and declared today at his colourful swearing in ceremony at Kasarani that henceforth, free movement of workers, access to employment and ownership of property for East Africans will become a reality in Kenya.
Francis Atwoli, NOM (DZA), EBS, MBS
SECRETARY GENERAL COTU (K).