By Alberto Nyakundi Amenya aka The Banana Peddler
Today I want to confess. All along, I have disliked COTU Secretary General elder Francis Atwoli because of political reasons. I have in this space, hurled oral stones at his person for being the system’s puppet.
One thing I have come to realise, whether I like or hate him, Mzee Atwoli is the most important elder in the Western Kenya hemisphere. He is the first quintessential Luhya elected as COTU Secretary General with more than 1.5m members. This means he is bigger than all elected Luhya leaders.
Despite his age, Atwoli is one of Kenya’s finest corporate gems. The Mzee has been around for some time. As a result, I am understandably forced to be acquainted with the fact that he is an intelligent team player and a mainstay in Western Kenya politics. As far as Luhya unity is concerned, the old man has a tsunami of information in his fingertips. In addition, those who know him say he is an all-inclusive man of impeccable character and passionate convictions.
Atwoli is a renowned anti-corruption crusader, and a judicious political commentator. He is a human rights activist who fights for the progress and rights of workers. One this I admire about Mzee Atwoli is how he always takes on the both the high and mighty whenever he realizes that they have caught the corruption bug which manifests in wastage, illegality, indiscipline and diversion of budgetary allocations.
I esteem the COTU boss because he fearlessly voices his opinions and grants that workers deserve their inalienable right to freedom of expression and speech. Above all, before he goes to the media, he carefully strives to get his facts right. Many will concur with me that most of his commentaries are always complete since he buttresses them with facts and figures. He never allows sentiments and hearsay to vitiate his thought process. He often sticks to facts and never descends into the arena of partisanship.
We all countenance the fact that Kenyans are not only known to be quirky and queer, but also sadistic, biased and hateful. Just like any other successful man, Atwoli has enemies too. I am talking about those jealous Kenyans who never lack bad things to say about successful men and women. Ignore those online trolls, whose work is totally out of character because they are only good at dripping hatred, wrong assumptions and distorting facts about the person of Atwoli to achieve a predetermined end. But as they say, life is war and as they say in war just like in love, fair is foul and foul is fair.
Francis is the unifying factor in Western Kenya politics. Love him or hate him, he remains Atwoli. Only those who can’t stand his guts, incorruptibility and Spartan discipline can be quick to infuse his past with muck. We all have some skeleton buried in our past closets.
Atwoli’s past today represents both personal and national gains. His past has prepared him for the future. Although humble and soft spoken, Atwoli is a highly principled man. He is never given to vainglory and greed.
Atwoli is not guilty of the allegations heaped on him by his character assailants. They make mountains out of molehills of his character because they have elected to be deceptive. As far as the Mulembe unity is concerned, they are aware he is the man for the moment. That is why his enemies are doing everything outside the books to try and stop him.
Omwami Francis Atwoli is the beacon of hope in Western Kenya politics. He is a quintessential man that will shape Western Kenya politics for good governance and posterity for the good of the Mulembe community. As a peaceful man, he is the icon of inspiration because the only language he understands is the language of peace.
Long story short, I am told the Luhya people love and adore Atwoli for his venerability. They say he is all encompassing. His disposition and decorum is worth mirroring. If the people of Western want to go far, they must listen to Atwoli. There is nothing this man has not seen. He was there during the times of Masinde Muliro.
He was around when the likes of former Vice President Michael Christopher Kijana Wamalwa and Moses Mudamba Mudavadi were around. He was Present during the times of the late Martin Shikuku and veteran politician Tachoni politician Burundi Nabwera. He has seen it all.
The writer sells Bananas in the streets of Kisiis County)