AUDIO ASSISTED READING
- No law can stop Uhuru Kenyatta from vying for any position after 2022
- We only need two or three billion shillings for the BBI referendum
- Why the two-thirds gender rule? Women can stand on their own and win.
Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli says President Uhuru Kenyatta has a right to vie for any position when his current Presidential term ends in 2022.
Speaking on TV47’s Mfahamu Kiongozi show on Wednesday, October 28, Atwoli who shoots from the hip- and takes no prisoners- said the current constitutional changes envisaged in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) will legally empower Uhuru to seek a new political position after 2022.
But he is a democrat
“Uhuru has a right to vie again after the constitutional changes are effected,” said Atwoli. “But he is a democrat. He can go home if he wants to. But there are no barriers. He can start again. That’s my personal opinion; there’s no law that can stop him.”
The COTU boss has previously whipped up political temperatures by suggesting that President Uhuru, at 59, is too young to retire. Political pundits are speculating that one of the plum positions in the executive (Prime Minister, or deputy) could go to him if he chooses to stay.
Lessons from America
Drawing parallels with the two candidates in the hotly-contested US elections, Atwoli said, “Biden (Joe Biden of the Democratic Party) is 78. Trump is equally old. Americans are voting into office such people since they are stable. They can’t go around (while in office) doing things such as amassing wealth.”
The Atwoli TV47 interview, widely viewed on the station and through the social media profiles, covered the whole breadth of Kenya’s politics, past, present and future. The TV47 host Elizabeth Mutuku kept Atwoli on edge with her prodding.
“As a country, do we have money to conduct a referendum (on the BBI)?”, asked Mutuku.
“Nchi ni kama mzazi. Huwezi sema huna pesa. Tunaweza jikakamue tupate pesa. Shilingi bilioni mbili au tatu inatosha” (A country is like a parent. You cannot say you don’t have money. We only need two or three billion shillings for the referendum.)
Controversial Two-Thirds Gender Rule
Atwoli also delved on the controversial two-thirds gender rule, which reserves seats for women in the national assembly. “This rule is being misread. Participating in politics is a personal choice. I have nothing against women but they can fight on their own without (necessarily) having seats reserved. Martha Karua (NARC leader) and Charity Ngilu (Kitui governor) have been fighting on their own.”
To stress his point, Atwoli evoked the example of his own family. Being a father of 17, he said his daughters outshine his sons in academic achievement. “Three of the girls have PhDs. Only one son has a PhD, the rest just Masters or first degrees. One of the girls is particularly very enterprising, better than the boys. So, yes, I believe women can stand on their own and win.”
DP Ruto’s Political Future
Atwoli also cast his predictions on Deputy President William Ruto’s political future. “Ruto has an opportunity to lead. But he must realise that money is not synonymous with leadership. Again, you don’t take on your boss the way he did.
The BBI report, unveiled earlier this week at Bomas of Kenya, will shape the country’s politics before and after the 2022 general elections. The report contains a raft of proposals on the structure and composition of government, and representation.