The Central organization of Trade Unions (COTU-Kenya) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli has hit back at lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi for referring to him as “barely literate”.
On Wednesday, May 20, Abdullahi derided Atwoli as a person who lacks the intellectual capacity to advise President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The flamboyant lawyer was responding to a question by Citizen Television anchor, Jeff Koinange, who asked for Abdullahi’s opinion in regard to Atwoli’s perceived advisory role in President Kenyatta’s inner circle.
“We have seen people like [Francis] Atwoli and [ex-Jubilee Party Vice-Chairman] David Murathe advising the president [on matters politics]. What is that about?” posed Koinange on Jeff Koinange Live Show.
In response, Abdullahi said: “David [Murathe] is my friend, I have a lot of regard for him. Even if he advises the president, I do not have any problem with that. He has the right intellect, the right personality, he is a man of honour. I like him a lot, he is my friend. [I however doubt Atwoli’s capability]. What advice can Atwoli give the president? Atwoli is barely literate… I do not think he has gone to [school]. What advice can he give the Head of State? Maybe crack jokes [with the president].”
Kenyans on social media took to Twitter on Wednesday to state they couldn’t wait for Atwoli’s rejoinder.
Even though the COTU-Kenya boss maintained an unusual silence on the issue, he finally responded to Abdullahi in an interview with K24 Digital at his Ildamat home in Kajiado County on Saturday, May 23.
Atwoli said Abdullahi boasts about his wealth under the claim that it was legitimately acquired, whereas he (Atwoli) knows that the city lawyer [allegedly] got his riches through dishonest means.
The COTU Sec-Gen. made allegations that border on defamation, and, given that we could not independently prove his claims -- on the alleged illegal activities Ahmednasir engages in to acquire his wealth -- we've chosen not to publish the accusations for legal reasons.
“Ahmednasir should know people,” said Atwoli.
“Soon, you will hear more from me about how he acquired his wealth. I would put on the table all the bitter facts about him. I will expose his fake lifestyle.”
The COTU-Kenya chief said Abdullahi’s business interests in the banking sector “has made him grow horns, and believe he has the brains to insult others’ mental capacity”.
“Ahmednasir should know that owning a commercial bank does not make you intelligent. He could be quick to present justifications on how mentally-gifted and wealthy he is, but, in my view, he is a nobody! I say that without fear of contradiction. As a lawyer, he does not respect the rule of law. Soon, I will expose his errant behaviour.”
Jubilee Party politics
In our interview with the COTU boss, he weighed in on the ongoing Jubilee Party clean-up.
Atwoli hailed Jubilee lawmakers for axing Deputy President William Ruto’s allies (Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, his Nakuru counterpart Susan Kihika and Tharaka-Nithi Senator Kithure Kindike) from key posts in the Senate.
Murkomen and Kihika were removed from Senate Majority Leader and Senate Majority Whip posts last week, whereas Kindiki was ousted as Senate Deputy Speaker on Friday, May 22.
And now, Atwoli says the purge should go to the National Assembly, where Majority Leader Aden Duale shouldn’t be spared.
The COTU boss said removing Duale from the post “will bring sanity to the Party”.
“Since 2013, we have had two persons assuming presidential roles – one (President Uhuru Kenyatta) was legitimately elected, whereas the other (Deputy President William Ruto) thought he was a co-president,” said Atwoli.
“We can’t have two parallel governments, where MPs and members of the Cabinet choose who they report to!”
Atwoli said, as a result, one faction had to be done away with.
“Leaders who disrespect the legitimately-elected president derail the government’s agenda,” he said.
“Now, the purge should go to the National Assembly, where the Majority Leader Aden Duale, Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali and the Deputy Majority Whip, Cecily Mbarire, should all be sent packing.”
Atwoli's suggestion -- on Duale's removal -- contradicts that of David Murathe, who said that in his own view, "Duale has done everything right in pushing for the government's agenda in the National Assembly".
"His (Duale's) affiliations could be elsewhere, but on pushing the government's agenda in Parliament, I would say, he has done everything right," Murathe told K24 Television on Thursday, May 21.
"I can't say the same for the other two (Washiali and Mbarire)."