Central Organization of Trade Union Secretary (COTU) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli says that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) was never about 2022.
Adding that when he called for the BBI in 2017, Kenya was yet to conduct the 2017 elections.
In a statement Saturday he also appealed to Kenyan workers to support the Appellate Court ruling on the BBI Bill delivered on Friday, August 20.
” As a matter of fact, COTU (K) prides itself in being the proponent of the BBI considering I, during the 2017 International Labour Day Celebrations asked Kenyans to rethink amending the constitution so as to achieve political stability. I was, without doubt, the first leader that came out publicly and called for constitutional change. In that speech, that I delivered at Uhuru park, I was fierce and categorical that Kenyans needed to amend the 2010 constitution to give way to peace, unity and development,” Atwoli said
” Of importance is that this was not the first time that trade unionists were voicing themselves on serious political issues as the history of this country, is, without doubt, the history of trade unionists. It is unthinkable and incomplete to discuss the history of this country, especially the struggle for independence, without discussing the role played by trade unionists such as Tom Mboya, Clement Lubembe, Fred Kubai, Makhan Singh, OcholaMak’Anyengo, Dennis Akumu, AggreyMinya among others, “he added.
Atwoli noted that trade unionists are passionate about politics because politics determines most things in any given country.
” It is politics that determines who gets what, when, and how. Therefore, the role of politics in the development of the country and especially of the workers cannot be downplayed. It is politics that determines the development of workers. It’s politics that determines if a country has political stability and therefore economic growth, meaning more jobs and better salaries. Everything boils down to politics. In fact, in some countries, trade unions form, or legally belong to and support, a given political party. A good example of this is the long-standing Labour Party in the United Kingdom.”He explained
Atwoli said BBI was something close to his heart .
“…not only because I am a unionist who must be present to the political realities but also because I love my country. I for one strongly believed that BBI would have brought forth peace and inspired economic growth. I, like many Kenyans, abhor violence and especially the form of violence brought about as a result of bad politics. As I have also said previously, and much more why I hold the view that the constitution of Kenya 2010 MUST be relooked is the perpetual violence as a result of election contestation.” He said
” And sadly, also explaining why this is close to my heart, is the fact that those who suffer the most are workers, women and children.” He added
Atwoli noted that the proposal to amend the 2010 Constitution was far from over and that any administration that comes in office in 2022 will make constitutional review their first order of business, especially after realizing how polarized the country will be with the current constitutional dispensation.
He added that workers would not appeal the ruling at the Supreme Court, as they had shifted their attention to the 2022 General Election.