Francis Atwoli: I did not kill my comrade George Muchai - Daily Nation

Francis Atwoli: I did not kill my comrade George Muchai

Saturday February 7 2015

Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli at a past press conference. General secretary of the Kenya Quarry and Mine Workers Union Wafula Wa Musamia, who represented Mr Atwoli, said mobility of workers leads to reallocation of competence across sectors thus promoting co-operation.  PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU |

Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli at a past press conference. General secretary of the Kenya Quarry and Mine Workers Union Wafula Wa Musamia, who represented Mr Atwoli, said mobility of workers leads to reallocation of competence across sectors thus promoting co-operation. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JUSTUS WANGA
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Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) secretary-general Francis Atwoli on Saturday asked the police to unmask the killers of his deputy, George Muchai, to stop speculation that his differences with the slain MP could have led to the death.

He said that knowing who was behind the murder, which took place in the wee hours of Saturday morning, was key in serving justice to both the family and residents of Kabete constituency who Muchai represented in Parliament, and the whole country.

“The government must do a thorough probe to tell Kenyans who is behind his death. Anything short of this will only breed rumours,” Mr Atwoli said at a press conference at the Cotu offices in Nairobi.

And aware that some people were likely to speculate that the frosty relationship with his deputy may have culminated in the death, Mr Atwoli said: “He was never a threat to me or us at Cotu and the differences we had were very healthy for the trade union movement and based on issues at hand.

“Despite our differences, which are normal in life, he remained a friend and a colleague. Remember we grew up with George in Nairobi and had known each other for the last 50 years,” he said.

The MP had taken Mr Atwoli to court claiming he was mismanaging the organisation. The case is pending in court.

Mr Atwoli revisited an incident in October 2011 at the peak of campaigns when Mr Muchai survived an attempt on his life.

In the incident, the trade unionist shot one of the attackers while the rest fled. Then Commissioner of Police Mathew Iteere promised to arrest the attackers but this never happened.

HIS STAND

“The Interior Cabinet Secretary and the police must come clean on the death,” Mr Atwoli said.

The Cotu boss said police must move quickly to save the country the agony of speculation as is always the case whenever prominent persons die.

 “We have competent detectives who have helped other countries unravel such incidents and this is the time their services are required the most,” he said.

He said that CCTV cameras recently installed by the Nairobi county government on major streets, including Kenyatta Avenue where the MP was gunned down, should come in handy.

Away from their differences, Mr Atwoli paid glowing tribute to the fallen MP, saying he always stood tall to defend rights of workers whenever they were trampled on.

“He was a champion of social justice; it is sad that he lost his life at a prime age; we shall miss him dearly,” he said.

Mr Atwoli said Cotu was instrumental in helping Mr Muchai to secure the Kabete seat in the 2013 elections.

“The need to have one of our own in Parliament to drive the workers’ agenda saw us throw our weight behind him to be elected MP, a duty he excellently executed. Cotu was part and parcel of his campaign,” he said.

Together with the family and the National Assembly, Cotu will take part in the funeral arrangements, he said.