Atwoli pushes for referendum, criticises Ruto's presidency bid

Saturday April 13 2019

Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli with Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho at Mkunguni Square where they preside over a fundraiser event on April 13, 2019. PHOTOS | KALUME KAZUNGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Trade unions boss Francis Atwoli has advised Kenyans to support the push for a referendum before the 2022 general elections for the sake of peace and stability.

Mr Atwoli, Secretary-General of the Central Organization of Trade Unions (Cotu), said on Saturday that a Constitution review is a must since it’s the only way to ensure inclusivity in government.

He further said it was improper to have a Constitution under which the winner wins takes all.

The Cotu boss criticised Deputy President William Ruto for opposing the quest, saying he was confusing Kenyans.

In February, the DP questioned the necessity of a referendum as the country plans an expensive census and boundary review before the next polls.

“Do we have the resources to do census this year, a boundary review next year, an election in 2022 and a referendum in between? Is it reasonable? Let us put these questions into context,” he said at Chatham House in London.



Mr Atwoli further told 'team tanga tanga', led by the Deputy President, to stop wasting time and resources campaigning for the presidency "since their names will feature nowhere".

“I assure you that by next year, we will be going for a referendum. Let’s support it so that by the time of the election, we have a revised Constitution that will promote inclusivity and general peace in the country," he said.

"I assure you that after the election, Mr Hassan Joho will be in the list of those to form the new government that will provide five key slots. In the list however, you won’t see any one by the name of William Ruto taking any position, be it President, Deputy President, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister [or any other]. The only people you will see are those standing for justice.”


Mr Atwoli addressed the public at Mkunguni Square in Lamu County during a fundraiser in support of Lamu Women Sacco. He and Governor Joho presided over the event.

While noting that the referendum push was unstoppable, Mr Joho asked politicians, particularly those supporting 'team tanga tanga', to allow Kenyans to determine their destiny.

The governor praised President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga for reconciling through the handshake, saying it enabled Kenya to fight corruption.

"We need a country which is united and corruption-free. As for 'team tanga tanga', stop divisive politics. You should also be committed to the war against corruption," he said.

He added, “I was the biggest enemy of President Uhuru Kenyatta but currently, we’re friends. President Kenyatta and [ODM leader] Raila Odinga ... we are behind you on handshake matters."


Likoni MP Mishi Mboko said she was disappointed that some politicians were using the referendum to advance personal interests.

Ms Mboko called on Kenyans to support the push, saying a referendum would guarantee equality and fairness especially on matters leadership and governance.

“Governor Joho is our brother. We need him to feature in the next government as the President of this country. People in the Coast need enough representation in government,” she said.

At least Sh 11 million was raised at the fundraiser. Woman Representatives Elsie Muhanda (Kakamega), Asha Hussein (Mombasa), Ruweida Obbo (Lamu) and Kasipul Kabondo MP Eve Obara were present.