Storm over road named after Trade Unionist Francis Atwoli
Queries have emerged over the latest move to rename Dik Dik Road in Kileleshwa, Nairobi after Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) secretary-general Francis Atwoli with most people questioning the procedure.
The signpost which was reinstalled yesterday after it was vandalised over the weekend continued to elicit mixed reactions with Kenyans dismissing the decision to honour the veteran trade unionist.
“Total disgrace to name a street in Nairobi after Atwoli. What are we telling poor workers he abandoned for the sake of my beloved Jubilee?
He is a billionaire in a country where labour is enslaved by capital owners. He dines and wines with the rich and powerful,” protested prominent lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi.
However, Nairobi acting governor Anne Kananu remained firm, saying renaming the road was a gesture in recognition of Atwoli’s contributions during his decades-long career.
“This road has been renamed after my good friend and brother, Francis Atwoli, in recognition of his selfless contribution and agitating for the rights of Kenyan workers in the last 54 years,” said Kananu.
Nevertheless, questions have come up over how the decision to rename the road was arrived at without even the Nairobi County Assembly approving the motion.
Standing Orders stipulate that a motion calling for renaming of a road after a prominent person must first be discussed and later the assembly agrees to pass it.
Then the assembly’s Implementation Committee can write to the county executive, communicating the approved Motion.
It is after this that the executive will, within three months, be expected to effect the request or reject it.
However, none of this happened. In this case, only a Notice of Motion was given by Roysambu MCA Peter Warutere during a Special Sitting on Thursday last week.
The Notice of Motion by Warutere indicated that Dik Dik Road be renamed Francis Atwoli Road in recognition of his contribution to the prosperity and wellbeing of workers in Kenya and abroad.
This, he argued, is in line with the county having a history of conferring honours and recognition of its most outstanding citizens for service, acts or deeds which promote the public good with the naming being historically done by both the national government and the county governments.
Warutere said Atwoli deserved the recognition, having greatly impacted the growth of the union movement in Kenya, and for dedicating more than 50 years of his life to service.
However, the Motion was not debated. It was also neither approved nor rejected by House members.
Even if the Motion was debated, it still would have been against the laws governing such a sitting.
During a special sitting, no new business can be debated other than that which is gazette, and which occasioned the sitting to be called