Kenya, unions call for dialogue

The Central Organisation of Trade Unions has joined the call for dialogue, terming it the best way to solve the current post-election stand off in Kenya. The problem was politically instigated and should be solved politically, said secretary-general Francis Atwoli. He ruled out the issue being solved in court, arguing that for the courts to be operational there, must be peace. Mr Atwoli regretted that a country long known as a peace broker was going through the stalemate, noting that Kenyans could not afford to sit back and watch what they had built for many years destroyed.

Take charge
“Ordinary Kenyans who are dying never participated in the irregularities being cited in the electoral process. They only exercised their democratic right to vote,” said Mr Atwoli. The Cotu boss called on President Kibaki to take charge and initiate dialogue. Mr Atwoli took issue with Electoral Commission chairman Samuel Kivuitu’s claim that he was pressured by PNU and ODM Kenya to release results, saying he should have consulted widely. Mr Kivuitu was in charge of the electoral process and had no reason to succumb to outside pressure, Mr Atwoli said (the Nation, Nairobi)

Also the newly established pan-African trade union body, the African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Unions Confederation (ITUC-Africa) has sent a message of solidarity with the people of Kenya through its Kenyan affiliate, the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU-Kenya), in the wake of post election violence.

The General Secretary of the new body, Mr. Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, says in the message that the ITUC-Africa has followed with keen interest and concern developments in Kenya following the 27 December 2007 Presidential Election results. He says that the ITUCAfrica is particularly worried over the situation in the last few days. He notes that Media reports paint a grim picture of death of several people while thousands
have been forced to find shelter in camps where they lack food, water and medicine amid post election violence. The General Secretary stresses that the violence that has engulfed Kenya for several days is taking its toll on ordinary men, women and children especially.
He expresses solidarity with COTU (K) and the entire people of Kenya at this hard time in the country. The General Secretary appeals for peace to ensure safety of innocent people facing danger. He calls on Kenyan authorities and all the players to initiate dialogue and consultations to examine possible ways and means of helping to find speedy solution to end the prevailing tension.

He suggests that there is urgent need for African Union (AU) to intervene; first on humanitarian issues to ensure that the internally displaced have food and medicine and that their security is guaranteed. It is also important that the underlying issues that have given rise to the situation are tackled in supreme interest of the country. He again calls upon Kenyan authorities and all stakeholders to promote dialogue. He
stresses that it would be most distressful if working men and women in Africa believed that their interest, safety, security and rights could be threatened any time anywhere.

stories: Workers caught up in the cycle of violence in Kenya

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