Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli has criticised Deputy President William Ruto’s response to a gift he gave him in 2013.
In a statement he shared on Wednesday, January 12, the COTU boss noted that his gift, which was a Catholic rosary, was treated with disdain.
Atwoli had bequeathed the religious item to the DP in 2013, when the two were friends, to protect him from the International Criminal Court (ICC) where he was facing charges relating to crimes against humanity.
The COTU leader had, at the time, stood in solidarity with President Uhuru Kenyatta and his then deputy owing to his relationship with Ruto from the time they were both members of the Youth for KANU movement.
In 2018, when the relationship between Kenyatta and the DP deteriorated following the ‘Handshake’, Ruto and Atwoli found themselves on different sides of the political divide.
At the beginning of January 2022, Ruto took an issue with the rosary during a tour of Kakamega County and christened Atwoli as ‘Yule Mzee wa manyororo’ loosely translated ‘the old man with a chain’.
“He claimed that Ruto cannot reach the threshold on the ballot. Did you not hear mtu ya nyororo (Atwoli) say that? I am here now.
“They have now resurfaced with a new propaganda claiming that I will be on the ballot but if he wins Presidency, he won’t be declared President because of the deep state,” stated Ruto during the rally.
Atwoli has, however, not taken the comments lightly arguing that his rosary was ordained by a Catholic priest.
“My Catholic golden Jesus Christ Cross officially blessed by a priest in my neck is under attack, May the Lord Jesus fight for me as the denial on holy Rosary I donated at the Hague was equally rubbished. We pray the living God,” he posted.
Uhuru’s charges at the ICC were dropped with the court claiming that the Kenyan Government had failed to handover vital evidence for the cases. Ruto’s charges were dismissed due to lack of enough evidence.
Over the past year, Atwoli maintained that DP Ruto’s chances of occupying the house on the hill were marginal as compared to the support former Prime Minister Raila Odinga enjoys.