Kenya nominates Raila Odinga for AU Commission chairperson

KENYA will submit the name of its former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, for the post of African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson by June 30, according to the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Musalia Mudavadi.

Speaking in Nairobi on Wednesday, Mudavadi announced that the government is finalizing the nomination documents, including translating Odinga’s resume into six AU languages: English, French, Kiswahili, Arabic, Portuguese, and Spanish.

‘Overall, Odinga’s campaigns are led by the state with highly experienced and knowledgeable officers. The State Department for Foreign Affairs has established a campaign secretariat which includes the candidate’s strategy team,’ Mudavadi told journalists. ‘Additionally, the campaign involves outreach programmes to capitals of AU member states, briefing of Kenyan missions abroad, and engagements with diplomatic corps in Nairobi.’

Mudavadi highlighted Odinga’s qualifications and commitment, stating, ‘Odinga has the credentials and the passion to advocate for Africa’s interests globally.’

Odinga, who joined Mudavadi at the press conference, expressed his surprise and gratitude for the government’s support. ‘Your candidature is not valid until your country says yes. I was pleasantly surprised when the Kenyan government said they would support me. I expected them to say no, I don’t know why they said yes, that’s their own decision, not mine,’ said the 79-year-old former prime minister.

Odinga served as Kenya’s prime minister from 2008 to 2013 under President Mwai Kibaki and was a candidate in the August 2022 presidential election, where he was defeated by current President William Ruto.

Odinga is vying to replace Chad’s Moussa Faki Mahamat, whose term as AUC chairperson will end in early 2025. The election for the next chairperson is scheduled for February 2025.

Other candidates for the position include Djibouti’s Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, Somalia’s former Foreign Minister Fawzia Yusuf Adam, and Seychelles’ former Vice President Vincent Meriton. The winning candidate must secure at least two-thirds of AU member states’ votes, totalling 36 votes.

Kenya’s strategic campaign efforts and Odinga’s distinguished career aim to garner the necessary support for his election as the next chairperson of the African Union Commission.

Leave a Reply