Francis Atwoli’s Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) has urged workers in Kenya to ignore opposition leader Raila Odinga’s call for protests on Monday, cautioning its members against adhering to the declaration of the day as a public holiday by the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition leader.
The union’s deputy secretary general, Benson Okwaro, said workers should secure their jobs by reporting to their workstations, adding that it is the only way to protect livelihoods.
The opposition leader and his Azimio brigade announced the protests to demonstrate against the high cost of living and electoral reforms. The Cotu, however, said the constitution states that only the Interior Cabinet Secretary can declare a public holiday. The trade union called on the government to prioritise workers’ welfare, such as social protection, to ensure a dignified life. It also called for dialogue as the solution to the stalemate between the government and opposition.
Azimio’s call for mass action against President Ruto’s administration has been gaining momentum. In recent days, Odinga’s supporters have taken to the streets in what they called a warm-up ahead of the main protest on Monday. The government has been keen to quell the uprising, with beefed-up security at state lodges in Kisumu and Nairobi.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has urged Kenyans to ignore calls for a public holiday on Monday by the opposition, assuring them that security officers will be in full control of the situation.
Roots Party presidential running mate Justina Wamae criticised the demonstrations as insincere, stating that the government’s inaction, overpromises, and misrepresentation of facts have brought the country to this position. She added that Azimio’s call for mass action was not genuine, terming it as a threat to democracy, referring to former US President Barack Obama’s Disinformation and Misinformation.