Message from SG on Mashujaa Day: Unionists and workers have always been our heroes.

Message from SG on Mashujaa Day: Unionists and workers have always been our heroes.

Today, we choose to celebrate Kenyan workers and unionist for their resilience, selflessness and patriotism. Indeed, ours is a country whose history is replete with examples of workers and unionists fighting tirelessly, at the frontline, to always protect our identity as a people and as a state.

If we were to travel in time, back in the 1960’s, we would have seen trade unionists in Africa, Asia and Latin America fighting with zeal to deliver independence for their countries. In the case of Kenya, it is the trade unionists who continued the struggle for an independent Kenya against the colonialists when the leaders were in detention.

As a matter of fact, the history of this country is the history of trade unionists. And that is why we owe a great debt of gratitude to Tom Mboya, Fred Kubai, Makhan Singh, Clement Lubembe, Ochola Mak’Anyengo, Dennis Akumu, Maina Macharia, Aggrey Minya among others. These, for a very long time now, have been and still remain our Mashujaa.  

But this year, in a special way, we want to celebrate frontline workers in the face of Covid-19 pandemic. Covid-19 was, and still remains, a great existential threat to our identity and many years of development as a county. Knowing all too well how dangerous Covid-19 is we still saw hundreds of thousands of workers going all out, risking their lives, to make sure that Kenyans, in their millions, continued benefiting from essential services and are comfortable. 

This very act from these Kenyan workers was selfless and nothing short of sacrifice. In fact, the Holy Bible does say that this is what loves looks like. Just like Jesus Christ, these workers were willing to give up their lives for their brothers and sisters. We owe them a great debt of gratitude.

Thank you to all our doctors, nurses, security personnel, shopkeepers, traders, journalists, drivers and all other essential service providers. We also say a BIG THANK YOU to our worker number one. The President of the Republic of Kenya, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta. Your work and love for workers has been seen throughout this difficult and unpredictable time. History will absolve you for being there for Kenyan workers when they needed you the most.  Wewe ni shujaa.

We, as COTU-K, celebrate all frontline workers for their act of love. We promise to never cease to speak for them though the heavens fall. We promise to continue championing for them, relentlessly, for a decent work environment. We promise to ensure that their voices are heard by continuing empowering their unions. We promise that we will remain true to serving all workers, as they remained true to serving all Kenyans. Nyinyi ni Mashujaa.


Dr. Francis Atwoli, NOM (DZA), EBS, MBS

Secretary-General, COTU-K

Jacqueline Kamau

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