Ruto: EAC presidents will back one candidate for AU job

President William Ruto inspects a guard of honor when he arrived to open the EALA assembly at the Senate Chambers, Nairobi. February 5th,2024. (Elvis Ogina, Standard)

East African presidents have agreed to support one candidate for the African Union Commission (AUC) chairmanship.

Revealing this when he officially opened the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) special plenary at Parliament's chambers in Nairobi, President William Ruto said the decision was arrived at after intensive consultation.

“We have sat down in the spirit of the EAC community, we have consulted as Heads of States and we have agreed to sponsor one candidate as East Africans because that is the strength of our community,” said Ruto. 

“That is the strength of our community, that we can do things together…”

This comes as Somalia has also formally begun lobbying for its former Foreign Affairs Minister Fawzia Yusuf Adam to take the position in what could bring a direct challenge to Kenya’s Raila Odinga.

During his speech on Tuesday, Ruto also stated that the security enjoyed in the East African region has contributed to the tremendous growth of the East African community making it a competitive commercial hub across the globe.

“There is no doubt that as a result of the progress made in entrenching our regional integration as a social, cultural, political, and economic reality, East Africa is emerging as a beacon of unity, stability, security, and progress, the beating heart of Pan African integration,” he said.

The Head of State also revealed that Kenya will be hosting this year’s World Bank Group’s International Development Association (IDA) Summit on April 29, 2024.

“At this event, African leaders will articulate a strong case for an ambitious and robust 21st Replenishment of the IDA, which is the largest source of development assistance, and donor funding for basic social services for the world's 75 low-income countries, to support economic transformation in Africa and throughout the Global South,” he added.

The Assembly will be having its sittings in Nairobi, returning to Kenya after a six-year hiatus.

This is in line with Article 55 of the Treaty for the establishment of the East African Community, which provides for rotational sittings of the Assembly among the member states.

Today’s sitting was chaired by EALA speaker Joseph Ntakirutimana.