Cotu cautions workers against skipping work on Monday
The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) has urged workers to ignore the declaration of Monday as a holiday by the Azimio Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition leader Raila Odinga.
The workers union cautioned its members from adhering to the opposition leader’s call for protest against skyrocketing cost of living in the country.
“We wish to remind workers to secure their jobs by reporting to their workstations,” the COTU (K) deputy secretary general Benson Okwaro said, adding it is the only way to protect livelihoods.
The opposition leader, Raila Odinga, and his Azimio brigade announced protests in Nairobi on Monday, designating the day as a ‘public holiday’ to allow full participation in mass protests over the high cost of living and electoral reforms.
The union, however, reminded the workers that the procedure of declaring a public holiday is enshrined in the constitution and only rests with the Interior Cabinet Secretary.
“As the umbrella body for workers, we wish to caution our members that Monday, March 20 has not been declared officially a public holiday. As such, we wish to remind workers to secure their jobs by reporting to their workstations,” Mr Okwaro said.
However, Cotu said it was cognisant of the skyrocketing cost of living and called for dialogue as the solution to the stalemate.
Prioritise workers' welfare
Further, the trade union called on the government to prioritise workers' welfare such as social protection for workers to have a dignified life.
“The leadership of Cotu appeals to the two parties to have active dialogue and find an amicable and long-lasting solution that will promote economic development in this country,” Mr Okwaro said.
Azimio’s call for mass action against President Ruto’s administration has been gaining momentum.
In recent days, Mr Odinga’s supporters have taken to the streets in what they termed as a warm-up ahead of the main protest on Monday.
The government has also been keen to quell the uprising. State lodges in Kisumu and Nairobi have witnessed beefed-up security.
And, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has told Kenyans to ignore calls for a ‘public holiday’ on Monday by the opposition.
Mr Gachagua said security officers will be in full control of the situation.
The former Roots Party presidential running mate and founder of Inatuhusu Movement Justina Wamae termed the demonstrations as insincere.
“Of course, Kenya Kwanza administration's inaction, overpromises and misrepresentation of facts that ‘Wakiweka bibilia chini,’ has brought us to this position,” she said.
“But, at the same time, Azimio is not genuine in its call for mass action...What they (Azimio) are doing is what (former US President) Barack Obama calls Disinformation and Misinformation which is a threat to democracy.”