Why Uhuru should drop Ruto, says Atwoli

Veteran trade unionist Francis Atwoli says in a new book that he told President Uhuru Kenyatta to sack his deputy William Ruto in 2014 to save the country and his legacy.

Uhuru did not require Ruto for his reelection, the Cotu secretary-general says in Fame, Force and Fury. He required the poor masses so that he can change their lives.

The flamboyant, controversial and abrasive trade unionist discloses he did not endorse Uhuru’s 2002 and 2013 presidential candidacy since the son of the nation’s founding father Jomo Kenyatta was ‘green’.

The 69-year-old Atwoli says he agreed to work with Uhuru after his election in 2013 to push for workers interests.

His main agenda was reforms and empowering workers.

“In 2002, when Moi endorsed Uhuru for the presidency, Atwoli had rejected him, saying he was a greenhorn. He maintained that the country needed experienced leaders and more so, those who understood the plight of Kenyans,” according to the book’s authors Babere Chacha and Judith Akuma.

The father of 13 children and husband of four wives, launched the book at a Nairobi hotel on Labour Day. The occasion was attended by civil society activists, trade unions, politicians and government officials.

Atwoli is this year celebrating 50 years as a workers’ representative in Kenya and the rest of Africa.

The book traces his humble beginnings in Khwisero village, Kakamega, to Kenya’s corridors of power.

The book says that Uhuru first met the trade unionist in their Gatundu home when Atwoli used to repair Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s phone in the 1970s.

Fame, Force and Fury
 discloses that the Central Organisation of Trade Unions boss was unhappy with Ruto because he had been mentioned in several corruption cases “among them the Sh791 million National Youth Service scandal where his aide Farouk Kibet, had been implicated.”

Atwoli says that Ruto and allies might not be prosecuted now because they are in power, but wheels of justice will catch up with them some day.

Atwoli believes that Uhuru should not have picked Ruto as his running mate in 2017. “Once someone helps you to get a wife, you do not continue keeping him around lest he snatches that wife from you,” he says in the Sh1,000 a piece book.

The firstborn in a family of four says he supported and campaigned for Alfred Sambu against his third wife Roselinda in 2007 for the Webuye West parliamentary seat because she (Roselinda) had not consulted him.

He claims that the violent coastal groups that destabilised the region and agitated for secession in the mid-2000s were funded by the state to scuttle opposition activities.

“Some of the groups include United Muslim for Africa (1992), Kaya Bombo (1997), Mulungunipa (2002) and Mombasa Republican Party 2012.” 

The Cotu boss describes the late Kabete MP George Muchai as an ambitious unionist who was however compromised by Labour CS Kazungu Kambi to push for state interests.

“Kambi managed to convince Muchai that Atwoli was a bad man and the President and his deputy did not like him and were going to fight and remove him from office.

“The police arrested the real suspects who confessed they had not been sent to kill Muchai by anyone,” the authors quote Atwoli as saying.