Raila's AU bid on course as panel set to declare vacancies

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

Opposition leader Raila Odinga's bid for African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson is gaining momentum as the Panel of Eminent Persons preparing for the election plans to formally put out a notice announcing the vacancies in the commission this week.

The Panel of Eminent Persons has been meeting to plan for the process leading to the election slated for February 2025.

Raila, Djibouti Foreign Affairs Minister Mahmoud Youssuf and former Somalia Foreign Affairs Minister Fawzia Adam are in the race.

According to a member of the Raila AUC bid Campaign Team, the advertisements for the positions will run for four weeks after which it will be clear whether other candidates will have joined the race.

“The Raila Odinga AUC bid campaign team is finalising his documents in preparation for submission, our plan is to submit soon after the notification is out, the application includes a form to be filled online together with the notice,” he said.

Documents to be submitted include the candidates' manifesto which captures the vision, mission, priorities and a profile of the candidate, highlighting his or her qualifications, experience and qualities and Curriculum Vitae.

President William Ruto has been engaged in a shuttle diplomacy in various African countries to seek support for Raila’s bid with his efforts boosted by Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi and the opposition leader who have also toured various countries.

Ruto secured the support of Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo, the President of Central Africa Republic Faustin Archange Touadera, President of Guinea Bissau Umaro Sissoco Embalo and Equatorial Guinea Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue in his latest charm offensive.

“I would like to thank the President of Ghana Nana Akufo Addo for agreeing to support Kenya’s bid for the Africa Union Commission Chairmanship, Kenya will in turn support Ghana’s candidate for the position of Commonwealth Secretary-General later this year,” he said.

In March, the President and Raila confounded friend and foe when they visited Uganda President Yoweri Museveni to seek his support.

Ruto while opening the East Africa Legislative Assembly (Eala) special sittings held at Parliament chambers in Nairobi in March said that Heads of State from the East African Community had pledged to support Kenya’s candidate for the AUC Chairmanship.

“As you are aware it will be the turn of the East Africa Community to produce the next Chairperson of the African Union with Mahamat Faki's second term in office coming to an end, Kenya has already secured the support of member countries to have Raila Odinga elected as the next Chairperson,” he said.

Raila has used his extensive network in Africa to campaign for the position having secured the support of Tanzania President Samia Suluhu, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Rwanda's Paul Kagame.

The former Prime Minister has also secured the support of DRC President Felix Tshisekedi, and South Sudan President Salva Kiir and has intensified his trips across the continent in efforts to ensure he reaches out to as many Presidents as possible to boost efforts of clinching the AUC position.

Raila declared his bid for the AUC position at his Nairobi residence in the company of former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo where he espoused his readiness to serve the continent.

“I am offering my services to the African continent as the Chairperson of the Africa Union Commission if the leadership of the continent needs me, I am a Pan Africanist who believes that this continent has a got a huge potential which if well utilised will make every African proud of his heritage,” he said.

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