Is Atwoli under siege?

Posted on January 11, 2011


Behind the flamboyance and fiery arrogance in the person of Central Organisation of Trade Union (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli, coils a worried man.

COTU secretary general Francis Atwoli. His position at the workers umbrela body is threatened

Mr Atwoli is a man under siege and he could be hanging in his current position by the grace of the judicial system that he has in some instances attacked scathingly.

In news appearing in a section of the media in November 2010, fiery Atwoli had rushed to court to stop his ouster.

A team of unionists led by Kenya Union of Journalists Secretary General Eric Orina had -in 2009 -staged what may turn out to be a successful coup by holding a meeting, which elected a group of officials to replace Mr Atwoli’s lineup at Cotu’s Solidarity House headquarters.

According to court papers, Mr Orina alongside Kenya Airway pilot Captain Paul Rukaria, Jane Akinyi and Benson Irungu have allegedly been asking Mr Atwoli since 2009 to convene a governing council meeting in accordance with the constitution of Cotu with no success.

Subsquently, the Orina group had in April 2009 held a meeting at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC), Nairobi, in which elections were held and the current Cotu officials were replaced. At the meeting, Capt.

Rukaria was elected chairman while Mr Orina was elected to replace Mr Atwoli as secretary general. Without any success in having the flamboyant Atwoli convene the meeting to officially take over the reigns of the giant trade union body, they resorted to court.

On June 11, 2010, the court asked Mr Orina to forward the names of the new officials to the Registrar of Societies for adoption. This could have automatically thrown the Atwoli led officials out of office.

Mr Eric Orina, secretary general Kenya Union of Journalist who is causing Mr Atwoli Sleepless nights

It was following this order that Mr Atwoli realized that his hold on the workers body was under serious threat forcing him to also rush to court to counter the order arguing that the team had sought the orders fraudulently without the consent of the officially elected Cotu chiefs.

Will the court save Atwoli or will Orina and his team have the Cotu secretary general’s breakfast?

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