The Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary-General, Francis Atwoli, now says he helped in the formation of Deputy President William Ruto’s political party.

Speaking on KBC TV on Wednesday, August 25 night, Atwoli stated that he played a critical role in the formation of the United Republican Party (URP) that was dissolved in the run-up to the 2017 election to pave way for the formation of the Jubilee Party.

Atwoli told the station that he hosted leaders from the URP party at his home in Western Kenya after the Deputy President decamped from the Raila Odinga-led Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). Ruto was a member of the ODM party but ditched it after falling out with Odinga.

Deputy President William Ruto.

Deputy President William Ruto.THE STANDARD

The outspoken unionist further claimed that Ruto deployed Mumias East Member of Parliament, Benjamin Washiali, to monitor the party’s activities from his (Atwoli’s) house.”When he wanted to form his political party, URP, he used to get people like Washiali monitoring from my house which is in Western Province,” Atwoli stated.

DP Ruto officially launched the URP party in January 2012. In December of the same year, the party’s leadership ratified a pre-election deal with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s then party of choice, The National Alliance (TNA). The deal saw Uhuru pick Ruto as his running mate in the 2013 General Election, securing a win for the duo that was facing charges at the International Criminal Court at the Hague.

In 2016, URP officially merged with TNA and other parties allied to President Kenyatta and Ruto, forming the Jubilee Party that secured the two a second term in office in the 2017 elections.

On his personal relationship with the DP, Atwoli said that the two have no personal grudges, but differ ideologically.

He noted that the differences between them emanated from a scandal that was reported at the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), in which Atwoli represents the workers.

 “I do not have a personal problem with Deputy President William Ruto, the problem that was there was because of my work back then at NSSF,” Atwoli stated.

The trade unionist reiterated his stand that the Deputy President will not be elected as Head of State to succeed Uhuru, saying that his chances were slim despite commanding a substantive following.

“Ruto will not be elected now, may be in the future and he will definitely, then, want to review the constitution, and it’s normal.”

On his future, Atwoli stated that he plans to exit the stage after his current term expires at COTU and he has no plans to venture into elective politics.

“I have no interest in running for presidency. I was to retire in 2011, but my colleagues refused, same in 2016 and this year. This will be by last term then retire. I will be a Sunday school teacher,” he stated.


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