Wetang'ula says state to sponsor Raila's AU bid

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang'ula. [PCS]

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang'ula has announced that the government will sponsor ODM leader Raila Odinga's campaigns for the African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson position.

Wetang'ula said Raila is the right person to succeed the outgoing AUC chairperson Moussa Faki, and announced that the government will deploy all available resources to guarantee his victory.

"Raila cannot be chairman of AUC unless the government of Kenya sponsors him fully,” said the Speaker disclosing that President William Ruto will take charge of the Azimo leader’s campaigns.

"Raila has fought for the democracy of this country, even though he never managed to ascend to the presidency, this is his time to lead the AU as chairman.  He is a senior statesman and as government, he is our candidate,” he added.

Wetang'ula was speaking at St Theresas Catholic Church, Malava, during a funds drive where Sh5 million was raised.

The Speaker’s assertions appear to contradict remarks by a section of Azimio leaders who claimed that the government has nothing to do with Raila’s candidature.

Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi had earlier claimed that the Azimio leader has been meeting different African leaders to seek support for his AU bid.  “I accompanied Raila to Nigeria where we met a former President over the AUC position,” said Osotsi.

“I have connections in every African country that I created when I was Foreign Affairs minister, my former colleagues are either Presidents, Deputy Presidents or senior officials in government and I will reach out to them to support Raila's bid,” said Wetang’ula.

"We shall all campaign for Raila. Now it's his time to get our support, nobody fits the bill better than him (Raila)," he added.

The Speaker was accompanied by host Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa, Senator Boni Khalwale and MPs Beatrice Elachi (Dagoretti North), Dick Maungu (Luanda), Aseka Miradi (Khwisero), John Waluke (Sirisia) and Nabii Nabwera among others.

Governor Barasa echoed Wetang'ula's sentiments saying 'Raila was the right person for the AU top job because “that is the respect we can give him as a statesman.”

Lurambi MP Titus Khamala said that the ODM leader is an African statesman, “like him or hate him, he will go down in history books as someone who fought for democracy.”

Khamala said Raila deserves government support.  Ikolomani MP Bernard Shinali called on the government and opposition to unite in supporting Raila's candidature for the AU job “because he is a Kenyan and someone we know and he will make us proud.”

Shinali was optimistic that if the opposition leader gets the job, Kenya stands to benefit a lot in terms of development projects.

The political leaders used the event to rally the region behind Wetang'ula and Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi in the 2027 polls and prepare one of them to ascend to the presidency in 2032.

"As a region, we must walk together and rally behind our leaders. When you go to Nyanza, Rift Valley and Central, 98 per cent of the community supports one of their own, let us embrace unity and discuss issues affecting us as a community,” said Shinali.

Maungu said there should be no differences between Mudavadi and Wetang’ula.  “We must stick together so that one of them ascends to the higher office, we must unite under one political party,” he said.

“In Western, we have almost eight political parties, that must stop and leaders should start working together,” he said.

Malava MP Malulu Injendi said that only unity of purpose would guarantee Western region the presidency in future. 

Malulu said Mudavadi and Wetang'ula need the region's support in 2027 by voting as a bloc for President Ruto as they wait for their turn in 2032.