Atwoli Elected Unopposed for 5th Term as COTU Boss

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AfricaPress-Kenya: COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli has been re-elected for the fifth term unopposed after his main challenger Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) secretary-general Seth Panyako was barred from the race for not being a bona fide member of the union.

The exercise was held by delegates at the Tom Mboya Labour college, Kisumu County. Atwoli will now serve for another five years until 2026.

In a statement posted on Twitter on Friday, April 9, the unionist expressed his gratitude to the Kenyan workers for electing him through their registered Trade Union Representatives.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and COTU Sec Gen Francis Atwoli at the 42nd General Council of the Organization of Africa Trade Union Unity (OATUU) in Nairobi on September 18, 2019
President Uhuru Kenyatta and COTU Sec Gen Francis Atwoli at the 42nd General Council of the Organization of Africa Trade Union Unity (OATUU) in Nairobi on September 18, 2019

“I promise to service you with all my might and strength and not betray the trust you have bestowed in me,” read an excerpt of the statement.

At the same time, 34 other members of the secretariat and executive board were also elected unopposed.

Previously, Atwoli and Panyako were embroiled in a fight over the COTU seat. The nurses union boss, who was also eyeing the seat, accused Atwoli of using unorthodox means to retain the seat.

Panyako had wanted the elections held after May 26, 2021, when Atwoli’s term would come to an end. africa-press reached out to Panyako for a comment after Atwoli’s win but our calls went unanswered.

Atwoli was first elected as COTU Secretary-General in 2001. He took over from the late Joseph Joy Mugalla.

A section of workers have on several occasions expressed their discontent with long standing term in office calling for him to relinquish the post for other leaders.

Atwoli previously served as the general secretary of the Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union. Before that, he held senior positions at the Union of Posts and Telecommunication Employees.

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