Atwoli dismisses Duale suggestion to have him fired

Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) secretary general Francis Atwoli has faulted Leader of Majority in the National Assembly Aden Duale’s “veiled threat” to eject him from the National Social Security Fund Board (NSSF). Atwoli (pictured) said Duale’s remarks were erroneous, misleading and called on him to desist from spreading hearsay statements.

“It is regrettable that Duale has opted to rely on hearsay and innuendos in his discharge of duties. It is even more dangerous that he is the person charged with the responsibility to answer questions in Parliament,” said Atwoli. On Friday, during the Cabinet nominees vetting, Duale asked Ukur Yattani — nominee for the Cabinet secretary for the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection — to confirm if he will drop Federation of Kenya Employees (FKE) executivedirector Jacqueline Mugo and Atwoli from the board for serving more than two terms of three years.

The firebrand trade unionist said he and Mugo are serving their first term according to the new NSSF Act which came into effect in 2013 and remain eligible for reappointment for a second term in order to serve their two full terms. During President Uhuru Kenyatta’s first term, his then Labour Cabinet secretary Kazungu Kambi unsuccessfully attempted to kick out Atwoli and Mugo, saying they had been members of the board for more than 10 years, despite the law requiring trustees to be in office for three years. Kambi further claimed he was removing the workers’ and employers’ representatives from the NSSF Board of Trustees citing provisions that allowed him to do so over missed meetings and being unfit for the positions. Atwoli and Mugo were reinstated after the High Court revoked a legal notice.

The Cotu secretary general moved to court to challenge his removal from the board which he attributed to his fight against corruption within NSSF and cited his move to expose the racket behind the Sh5 billion Tassia project. NSSF, which manages some Sh156 billion in assets, is in the process of pushing through changes that will see annual contributions from members to rise to Sh118 billion from the current Sh8 billion.