Azimio leader Raila Odinga. [File, Standard]

In a surprising turn of events, Raila Odinga has announced his intention to vie for the chairmanship of the African Union (AU) Commission. While Raila’s decision may seem bold and ambitious on the surface, it carries significant risks that could potentially spell the end of his illustrious political career.

Raila’s move comes at a time when Kenya is grappling with its own internal political dynamics, including power struggles and socio-economic challenges. His decision to shift focus from domestic politics to continental leadership raises serious questions about his priorities and commitment to serving the interests of the Kenyan people.

First, Raila’s bid for the AU Commission chairmanship undermines the trust and confidence that his supporters have in him as a champion for change. For decades, he has been at the forefront of the fight for democracy, social justice, and good governance in Kenya. However, by seeking to lead the AU, he risks abandoning the very constituency that has stood by him through thick and thin.

Furthermore, Raila’s candidacy for the AU Commission chairmanship raises concerns about his ability to effectively address the pressing issues facing Kenya. As the leader of the opposition and the driving force behind the Azimio la Umoja coalition, he has a responsibility to hold the government to account and advocate for the interests of ordinary citizens. By pursuing a position on the continental stage, he risks neglecting his duties at home and leaving the Kenyan political landscape vulnerable to manipulation and abuse.

Moreover, Raila’s bid for the AU Commission chairmanship is not without its challenges. He will face stiff competition from other candidates, some whom may have stronger diplomatic credentials and broader international experience. In a highly competitive environment, Raila’s candidacy could be seen as a long shot, further diminishing his chances of success and tarnishing his reputation as a formidable political figure.

Additionally, his decision to enter the race for the AU Commission chairmanship could have far-reaching implications for Kenya’s political stability and unity. Given his status as a polarising figure in politics, Raila’s departure from the scene could trigger a power vacuum and intensify existing tensions between rival factions. This, in turn, could derail the country’s democratic progress and undermine efforts to foster national cohesion and reconciliation.

In light of these considerations, it is evident that Raila’s AU Commission chairmanship bid is a reckless gamble that threatens to derail his political career and jeopardise the interests of Kenyans. Instead of chasing after lofty international ambitions, Raila should refocus his efforts to addressing the pressing challenges facing our country and consolidating his legacy as a champion for democracy and social justice at home.

As the political landscape continues to evolve, it is imperative that Raila remains true to his principles and values, and prioritises the interests of the Kenyans above all else. Anything short of this would be a betrayal of the trust and confidence that millions of Kenyans have placed in him over the years. 

Ms Mutai is a media and communication consultant