Leader of Majority in the National Assembly Aden Duale has told off Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli to keep off Jubilee Party affairs after the trade unionist called for his removal. Mr Duale said that the Cotu boss should instead concentrate on uplifting the welfare of the workers in the country.
The Garissa Township MP, who said that he had a lot of respect for Mr Atwoli as an elder, accused him of doing little to put a smile on the majority of Kenyans who toil in their work places to eke a living.
“When Atwoli says that I should be removed because I have diligently worked for my party, I don’t understand it! May be he doesn’t understand how my office functions. But I want to remind him that he is not a member of Jubilee and should not purport to direct the party on how it should conduct its business,” said Mr Duale.
On Saturday, Mr Atwoli said that senators did well in ousting Tharaka-Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki as Senate deputy speaker after he failed to attend Jubilee Party’s meeting convened by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi.
The Cotu boss went on to suggest that similar changes should be extended to the National Assembly.
“I will use all my available resources to campaign for his removal. His position must equally be dealt with,” Mr Atwoli said of Mr Duale’s position.
Mr Atwoli blamed Mr Duale for abusing his position by introducing Bills that stifled the welfare of workers in the House. He cited the Bill that outlawed strikes.
Interestingly, the Bills Mr Atwoli is talking about are government-sponsored Bills, which according to the Constitution can only come in the House through the office of the leader of majority.
In his absence, the leader of minority or any of the deputies or the whips can do it in a bipartisan Parliament like Kenya’s whose main role is to provide oversight on the other the Executive and the Judiciary.
Article 108 of the Constitution establishes the office of the leader of majority, taking over from the leader of government business under the parliamentary system of government that existed before the 2013 General Elections.
The leader of majority acts as the linkage between the Executive and the National Assembly including tabling government Bills and motions in the House.
“What is attributed to Mr Atwoli is a clear indication that he does not understand the mechanics or the workings of Parliament. I only have one vote in the House. So if the House votes in a particular way why would he single me out for attack?” Mr Duale posed.
Mr Duale told Mr Atwoli to start thinking of how he will hand over the Cotu leadership to the younger generation.