RIGHT OF REPLY: Gitau Warigi’s Piece on Atwoli Missed the Point
By Adams Barasa, Personal Assistant to The Secretary General
In all political commentaries and pieces, it is always hard to fathom the extend of one’s political impartiality and as the country gears towards the next General Elections next year, this concept is likely to pronounce itself with even much prominence not only in our print/ electronic media but in our social media platforms as well.
Gitau Warigi’s piece in the Sunday Nation of Sunday, September 25, 2016 may remain an interesting piece and as one of the great commentators that exhibit sobriety in their columns (I hardly miss reading his articles anyway) I am disappointed and in a state of dilapidation when he recoils to launch into a tirade of accusations and doubts against the Central Organisation of Trade Unions, COTU(K) Secretary General Francis Atwoli simply on the basis of his media interview and for “ declaring self a luhya Chief”.
For the records, on 19th December, 2015, over Twenty Four (24) Members of Parliament from the larger Western region converged at Atwoli’ s private residence at Ildamat, Kajiado County with a view to finding what I would overtly call “ the community’s political converge” and this was simply a follow- up to the many public pronouncements by politicians from the entire Luhya Nation calling on Atwoli to ‘help bring the community together” as we move into the next General Elections.
This move received further backing when on 11th September,2016 the entire and respected Luhya Council of Elders met the COTU (K) Secretary General at his residence at Khwisero, Kakamega County and reiterated the Council’s decision to fully support this hitherto fragile exercise promising to give him every support in achieving its goals and the efforts by Busia Senator Amos Wako are equally part and parcel of Atwoli’s broader exercise and the two are in the same boat reading in the same script as opposed to the writer’s views that it is a different exercise.
Atwoli, as one of the senior-most leaders from the community outside the political zone is not and cannot be equated to “a big Luhya Chief” as this is outrightly demeaning to his global status, he is simply playing the role of “ a big Luhya Elder” who has no interests whatsoever in any elective political positions but subscribes to the doctrine of Kenya’s multiparty politics where even the petty bourgeois are keen to associate themselves to a regional ( party) politics that Warigi has previously prophesized in his articles.
True, the writer may have sought and gotten divergent views from Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula but as I have said time again, a day in politics could as well be equated to ten years and these are efforts driven and founded solely on the community’s own volition informed by the many disparaging utterances by even the worst off individuals morally and anybody going against this ‘volition’ should prepare self for a political oblivion status.
Equally, Atwoli does not and will not be perturbed by the usual chorus and abstract concept of“the elusive Luhya unity” because his is an agenda driven by the community’s leaders and he is under pressure to lead this cause without hesitation true to the Kiswahili saying “Majiukiyavulianguohunabudikuyaoga” and indeed he will soldier on based on the mandate extended to him by our Members of Parliament and elders that represent the community as a constituency.
At the same time, Atwoli has played similar roles globally as President of our Pan- African Organisation of African Trade Union Unity, OATUU based in Accra, Ghana where he has undertaken similar exercises within the Trade Union movements in South Africa, DRC, Botswana, among others and even regionally in Uganda.
The writer further claims Atwoli would have cited the political party which the community would use come the next General Elections when he is aware that such move would out rightly jeopardize Atwoli’s efforts since he would have preempted the on- going research commissioned by himself for which even the writer erroneously brands being led by ”Luhya University researchers”. These are accomplished, distinguished and distinctioned individuals undertaking an impartial exercise that will be backed byproven scientific findings.
On the subject of top Kenyans with influence across the Country,Warigi is right and entitled to his doubts since there are as many thieves as are busy bodies more popular than Atwoli in this country but what Atwoli alluded to was the extent to which mainstream universal conversations are influenced and I challenge him to even commission one of the leading opinion polling firms in the country and disapprove Atwoli’s position.
Otherwise any Kenya so willing may cast aspersions and even go to an extend of calling it jokes but this is expected particularly in a country like Kenya where every individual’s political stand remains simulated and coated with the dominance political party doctrine juts as Warigi’s home area would identify self.
PA TO THE SECRETARY GENERAL