Speech by Bro. Atwoli at the COTU (K)’S 13TH Quinquennial Delegates Conference & Elections

Salutation

  • Chief Guest of Honor,
  • Hon. Fackson Shamenda,
  • THE Minister for Labour of the Republic of Zambia and formally the Presidnet of the then International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, (ICFTU) Brussels, now ITUC Brussels, Regional Secretary of UNI Africa and President of Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
  • Our Guest Sis. Phyillis Kandie, CBS
  • Cabinet Secretary for Labour and East African Community Affairs
  • Brother Wellington Chibebe
  • The Deputy General Secretary ITUC Brussels
  • Brother Kwasi Adu Amankwa,
  • The General Secretary of ITUC – Africa
  • Brother Arzeki Mezhoud,
  • The General Secretary OATUU
  • Brother Mohamed Hanad
  • Representative of ACILS and American Federation of Labour & Congress of Industrial Organization
  • Brother Mody Guiro,
  • President,  ITUC AFRICA
  • Brother Alex Bonney
  • Vice President OATUU and President of Ghana
  • Brother Yousif Ali Kareem
  • The General Secretary of Sudan Workers Union Federation and Vice President of OATUU is invited to address.
  • Sister Maria Carvalhlo
  • A member of ITUC Governing Council
  • Sister Siwela Sithokozile
  • Member of the ILO Governing body
  • Brother Peter Werikhe
  • Secretary General NOTU.
  • Brother Eric Manzi
  • Secretary General, CESTRAR, Rwanda
  • Brother Heinz Bongartz
  • Country Representative, FES
  • Sister Caroline Mugalla EATUC
  • Executive  Secretary.
  • Sister Alice Siame
  • Representative LO-Norway.
  • Brother Andrew Kailembo-
  • Veteran trade Unionist
  • Brother Fisseha Tekie,
  • Formerly of ACILS
  • Brother Abdoulaye Diallo-
  • Representative with ILO and UN

I am delighted to stand before you today and extend to you an account of both my personal and Institutional historical five-year experience that comes to an exciting end today paving way to yet another new five year tenure that is expected to be even murkier and full of challenges.

Dear Delegates, allow me first and foremost recognize in a special way my Brother. Hon. Fackson Shamenda for taking his time out of his busy schedule to be here with us today and equally we appreciate our Cabinet Secretary for Labour, and East Africa Community Affairs Hon. Phyllis Kandie for her invitation to Hon. Shamenda as well as for her being here with us.

We are greatly honoured by the presence of our International Labour Organization (ILO) Assistant Director General who is also the Continent’s Regional Director Brother Aenas Chuma together with his Colleagues from both Geneva and here on the Continent.

To my trade union colleagues from across the African Continent and the World over, you are all welcome and we celebrate the Solidarity you have shown by joining us at this delegates Conference.

Dear Delegates, Brothers and Sisters,

Our Conference theme is “Eliminate Corruption for Kenya’s Economic Growth” and this choice of our theme do concern the entire Continent of Africa and beyond.

The spectre of corruption is haunting this Country. It continues to undermine and threaten our Democracy, Security, Prosperity and our very future as a Country and for posterity.

Since 1956, Kenya has had anti-corruption legislation with the first one being the prevention of Corruption Act (Cap 65) that was however repealed in May 2003 although in 1993 efforts to establish an anti-corruption squad within the Criminal Investigation Department, CID wing of police were thwarted even before it could take off and create impact.

The Prevention of Corruption Act ( Cap 65) was later Amended in 1997 to provide for the Kenya Anti- Corruption Authority (KACA), this was the first government anti- corruption agency established by law with its first director being appointed the same year.

In 2000 the High court in the country ruled that KACA undermined the powers of the Attorney General and Commissioner of police leading KACA being disbanded. However, in 2003, two statutes were enacted to relaunch the fight against corruption namely Anti- Corruption and Economic crimes Act and the Public Officers Ethics Act and the same law established the Kenya anti- Corruption Commission that was later disbanded to form the Ethics and Anti -Corruption Commission, EACC.

Kenya signified its commitment in the fight against corruption by becoming the first country in the world to ratify the UN Convention Against Corruption in 2003 in Merida, Mexico and this was after becoming a signatory to the AU Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption in 2003 before ratifying the same in 2007.

Amid all these achievements, Corruption remains the single greatest obstacle to a brighter future in Kenya for both Workers and Kenyans in General.

It has deepened, widened and increasingly sliding out of control whereby individuals have created an atmosphere in which Senior Civil Servants in government and shrewd businessmen are engaged in Corruption that has led to a grand Economic destructive scale today.

We need to create an urgent departure in order to save this country. Most importantly, eliminating corruption requires ending outright impunity and holding everyone, regardless of their positions, accountable.

This country is a great nation and with great future in Africa but has struggled with Corruption throughout its history and this culture has left most Kenyans poorer when few individuals enjoy their ill-gotten wealth in their homes.

However, COTU (K) sees the future not gloom since we have a young President that is appointed to lead a Country that respects the rule of law to the benefit of everyone and whether he will leave to his vows, time will tell.

As Workers, we remain steadfast in our quest to have a country that cherishes humanity and a decent workforce that thrives on hard work and commitment to duty for Kenya’s Economic growth not to a clique whose main agenda is to make money instead of working hard and earn the sweat of their hardwork.

The battles as workers organisation that we have fought have been combative and well-coordinated but we have come out as victors and this is because of the huge solidarity that we have exhibited as workers and the support you have given us to execute our mandate.

It is against this premise that while we commend our security agents for the commendable work they have done, we condemn the recent development of Police brutality against innocent Kenyans and this calls for reforms within the force.

We remain opposed to any form of hooliganism and destruction of property as witnessed by those demonstrating against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, IEBC but there was no justification for the witnessed actions by the Police.

At the same time, we wish to condemn the rampant importation of substandard goods into the local market that is now killing our local industries including the sugar industry where smuggled sugar has flooded our market causing undue competition to our local Sugar firms.

However, we applaud the President for waiving taxes on payment of bonuses, overtime and retirement benefits for low income earners and this will go along way in reducing pressure in terms of cost of living for these workers.

Indeed our unity of purpose has seen us grow into strong and a united force to take on everyone at anytime under the sun without fear or favour and we are determined to protect this unity to the hilt.

To this end dear delegate, brothers and sisters allow me to present to you my tenure’s five year report.

I Thank you.

About Mang'unyi Elvis

ICT and Website Administrator at COTU Kenya.