State behind revocation of my degree, claims Francis Atwoli

Wednesday December 27 2017

Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli.

Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli. Masinde Muliro University will not award him a honorary doctorate as planned. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By GERALD BWISA
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Central Organisation of Trade Unions Secretary-General Francis Atwoli on Wednesday accused unnamed senior government officials of putting pressure on Masinde Muliro University to revoke a honorary degree he was to be awarded at a recent graduation ceremony.

Speaking in Kitale, Mr Atwoli said his mistreatment is one of the reasons Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa was ejected from a ceremony in Mbale on Tuesday.

Mr Wamalwa was forced to flee the venue of the Maragoli Cultural Festival at Municipal Grounds in Mbale after an irate public said he was not welcome.

Efforts by  ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and Mr Atwoli to calm down the crowd were futile.

“I was supposed to get the degree but the Jubilee government gave instructions that I should not be awarded,” said Mr Atwoli. adding such acts were making members of the Luhya community unhappy.

Masinde Muliro University Vice-Chancellor Fred Otieno, however, denied claims that the institution was under pressure from the Ministry of Education to cancel the award on political grounds.

The university had on December 5 advertised in local dailies that it had nominated Mr Atwoli, a longtime leader of the union, for the degree following recommendations by the university senate and council.

Mr Atwoli further accused a section of Luhya leaders allied to Jubilee Party of despising other leaders from the community who hold divergent political views.

“I was the guest of honour at the event and we were so happy to see Mr Wamalwa entering the venue but the crowd rejected him,” he said.

He noted that the community was more united than before and that there will be no divisions anymore. 

The union leader also reiterated the need for dialogue between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Nasa leader Raila Odinga in order for the country to move forward.