Prime Cabinet Secretary and Foreign & Diaspora Affairs Minister Musalia Mudavadi.[Musalia Mudavadi, X]

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi has rallied African countries to support Kenya’s bid to become the next Chair of the African Union Commission (AUC).

 He said Kenya would use its leadership of the AUC to promote trade and investment, institutional reforms, and the Pan-African Agenda among African countries.

He made the remarks on Monday, March 4, during a meeting with the African Diplomatic Corps in Nairobi. 

Mudavadi who doubles up as Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Cabinet Secretary cited Kenya’s active participation in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as an example of its efforts to foster regional integration and economic development.

“Kenya, one of the pilot countries in the implementation of the AfCFTA, exported its first goods of locally made car batteries and tea to Ghana in October 2022,” he said.

He also highlighted Kenya’s diplomatic engagements with various African countries over the past year, resulting in official visits and Memoranda of Understanding.

“Africa forms the core of Kenya’s foreign policy. We value mutual coexistence and cooperation among African nations,” he stated.

Mudavadi assured the diplomats that Kenya was working to address the challenges of the visa-free regime that it introduced for all countries effective January 1, to facilitate intra-Africa trade and unity.

His statement comes as Azimio leader Raila Odinga intensifies his campaigns for the same position.

Odinga, who previously served as the AU High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa, has expressed interest in succeeding Chad’s Moussa Faki Mahamat as the AU Commission chairperson.

Odinga has secured the support of former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni among other leaders.

“I met Ruto and Museveni, I went to get Museveni’s vote, then I met Ruto. They agreed that they will vote for me. Museveni said he will propose my name,” Odinga said on his recent visit to Uganda.

The chairperson of the AU Commission is elected by the assembly of heads of state and government for a four-year term, renewable once.

 The election is by secret ballot, and a two-thirds majority of member states is required.

There are 55 AU member states. Odinga needs at least 37 votes to clinch the top post. He must also be nominated by a member state.

The next AU summit will be held in early 2025.

The chairperson is the AU Commission’s chief accounting officer and the principal representative of the AU.

The qualifications needed for the AU Commission chairperson include at least 20 years of international experience, with 10 being in senior leadership.

 A master’s degree or higher is also required.

Odinga said he was confident of winning the election, promising to bring social and economic change to the continent if elected.

“I have served the AU in the capacity of Infrastructure High Representative and the position gave me a good advantage to be able to learn about each and every country, what they have, and their comparative advantages. I believe working together with all these countries we can be able to transform Africa,” he said in a previous statement.

Odinga said he would focus on promoting peace and security, enhancing infrastructure and connectivity, boosting trade and industrialisation, and advancing the African agenda on the global stage.

He also pledged to support the ongoing reforms of the AU Commission to make it more efficient and effective.

“I have a vision of a united, prosperous, and peaceful Africa. I believe I have the experience, the skills, and the passion to lead the AU Commission and serve the people of Africa,” he said.