President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto joined tens of thousands of workers in spite of the chilly May weather to celebrate the 2017 labour day.
The Celebrations that were held at Uhuru park, kicked off in earnest at Solidarity Building the workers Headquarters located along Digo Road with a Procession that snaked through the city on its way to Uhuru Park. This year’s theme was loftily hoisted in the Royal Purple Colours and it boldly read;
Workers, women, children and other vulnerable Kenyans appeal for peaceful and democratic elections
Wafanyakazi, wanawake, watoto na Wakenya wengine wanyonge, Waomba uchaguzi wa amani na wa kidemokrasia
COTU-K Secretary General Bro. Francis Atwoli commended President Kenyatta and his Deputy for ensuring free, fair and transparent nominations of their Jubilee Party saying peaceful and transparent nominations are a precursor of peaceful general elections.
He stated that,
“We are aware that you have already appealed for the same and your government is totally committed towards making sure that we have peaceful elections and we equally appeal to Kenyans and our political leaders across the political divide to accept the full results of the same without reverting to violence”
Brother Atwoli was full of praises to Ms. Jacqueline Mugo who is the Executive Director of the Federation of Kenya Employers who for the first time did not oppose calls for the rise of minimum wage. The COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli impressed upon the President to give workers a 22 per cent basic pay increase. In his speech he also warned Kenyan workers against applying for foreign jobs with unscrupulous agencies, particluarly domstic jobs in Arab countries that have no regard and regulations of fair treatment of workers.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged Kenyans to reject politicians who want to drag down the country through divisive politics. He said Kenya can only sustain its growth through politics that is constructive and devoid of incitement and divisions. The President said Kenyans should reflect on how Kenya suffered from previous occurrences of violence and discord.
“As we enter the election season, we must remember that violence and discord has always been at the expense of the worker. They have led to layoffs, lack of investment, and suffering,”
said the President.
Deputy President William Ruto said as the country goes for elections, Kenyans need to be reminded that power is not about sharing positions among the elite but rather it is about implementing policies and programmes aimed at creating wealth to be shared among wananchi. He also stated that the government was committed in it quest of bringing the cost of living down by addressing the factors that have led to the skyrocketing of prices of essential food commodities a situation that has led to a double digit inflation figure.
Other speakers who addressed workers on their special day included the Cabinet Secretary for Labor and East African Community Affairs Madam Phyllis Kandie, the Nairobi County Governor Dr. Evans Kidero and the Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi aka Sonko.