Raila's beneficiaries and orphans if elected AU Commission chairperson

Azimio la Umoja Raila Odinga. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

The move by Azimio leader Raila Odinga to vie for the African Union's top job will create orphans and beneficiaries in Kenya's politics should his bid succeed. 

On Friday, Raila, who is regarded as an enigma and doyen of Kenyan politics formally announced that he is ready to contest for the African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson job.

He said he had a myriad of consultations with his friends prior to the decision.

"Should the leadership of Africa want my services I am ready and offer myself to be of service to this continent. I'm ready to go for the chairmanship of the African Union," said Odinga.

While political leaders and analysts concur that Raila is the man for the job, many argue that the decision will make and break the political careers of many.

Among those believed to be the major beneficiaries include the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) rebels who have already been removed by the party's National Executive Committee for 'associating and promoting the ideologies of the Kenya Kwanza government.  

The rebels; Kisumu Senator Tom Ojienda, Mps Felix Odiwour Jalang'o (Langata) Caroli Omondi (Suba) Gideon Ochanda (Bondo) Elisha Odhiambo (Gem) will have their decision to cooperate with the government justified since it is the Kenyan government that is now fronting Raila's name.

According to the former Nyeri MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, if the William Ruto-led administration succeeds in lobbying for Raila, he will lose his moral standards to discipline, let alone expelling the ODM rebels. 

"Raila has been using politics to negotiate for his own political interests so that he may continue influencing the next political discourse. That is why for him it is okay to be fronted by Ruto for the AU job but it is treasonous for a member of his alliance to cooperate with the government," Wambugu said. 

 He noted that the six rebels from Nyanza will be the next big thing if Raila succeeds together with the State appointees from the region who have been loathed by their natives 'for going against the grains and being labelled traitors. 

They include ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo and Interior PS Raymond Omollo.

Others are former Nyatike MP Omondi Anyanga who chairs the board of the Kenya Nuclear Regulatory Authority, William Odhil, a former ODM official in Migori County among others, former governors Evans Kidero (Nairobi), Jack Ranguma (Kisumu), and Okoth Obado (Migori), who were defeated during 2022 general elections. 

Kisumu Senator Tom Ojienda. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Since 1992, Luo Nyanza has predominantly represented the Opposition, with parties affiliated with ODM (and its predecessors) securing an overwhelming majority of positions in the region. Holding an ODM nomination ticket has been, in essence, tantamount to victory in the general elections, given its stranglehold in the area.

 "This will however not be the case this time round because Ruto and his brigade will storm Nyanza to use Raila's position to weaken the opposition and secure political support from a region that did not vote for him during last year’s vote," Wambugu noted. 

On his part, Prof Gitile Naituli, governance and political expert, noted that Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka will be the biggest beneficiary as Raila's exit from Kenyan politics will hand him a direct ticket to run for Presidency without being taken around corners by the Azimio coalition. 

 "Although the move pits Raila as a leader who seems like he has never wanted to win for Presidency but to commercialize politics, it is a blessing to Kalonzo as he automatically emerges as his (Raila) heir and successor," Naituli noted. 

He said he was not persuaded that Raila has been running for the Presidency to win and to help Kenyans but has been doing so for his own expediency. 

"I believe if he wanted to clinch for the Presidency, he would have won a long time ago. I also believe that he has never had the heart of Kenyans in mind because how do you agree to contest for AU if you were genuine on helping Kenyans?" He posed. 

While agreeing that the move will radically shift the country's political landscape and trigger fresh alignments, Naituli said if the plot is successful, Nyanza region will enjoy democracy for the first time in 2027 as they have been rescued to 'voting robots' for a very long time. 

The African Union Chairperson is a non-political position and if Raila succeeds he will not be allowed to participate in local politics.

Political analyst Pius Kinuthia said Raila's supporters were the biggest losers as their leader whom they treat as their spiritual leader will be no see in Kenyan politics.