Inside Politics

‘I’m praying for Raila to clinch AU top seat’ – CS Jumwa

Monday, February 26th, 2024 19:07 | By
'I'm praying for Raila to clinch AU top seat' - CS Jumwa
Cabinet Secretary for Gender, Culture, the Arts and Heritage Aisha Jumwa at a past church function. PHOTO/Aisha Jumwa(@HonJumwa)/X

Cabinet Secretary for Gender, Culture, Arts and Heritage, Aisha Jumwa, is the latest close ally of President William Ruto to throw her weight behind opposition leader Raila Odinga's bid for the Africa Union Commission chairperson role.

Speaking in Malindi, Kilifi County, CS Jumwa said Raila, widely recognized as a champion of democracy and pan-Africanism, is the best fit for the job.

The former Malindi member of parliament pledged to pray for the former prime minister to clinch the coveted seat.

"Katika wale watu tunawaenzi na mimi nataka tuwaombee kabisa ni Raila Odinga. Nataka kumwombea Raila Odinga akue chairman of AU. Ameyatande mengi katika nchi yetu...Akiwa anatunukiwa sisi ni nani tukatae. Nataka nimwombee mungu matamanio ya mwoyo wake yakawezekutimia," Jumwa said.

Loosely translated; "Among the people we honour and I want to pray for is Raila Odinga. I want to pray for Raila Odinga to become the chairman of the AU. He has done a lot for our country...When he is honoured, who are we to refuse? I want to pray to God that the desires of his heart may be fulfilled."

Raila's bid to succeed Moussa Faki Mahamat at AU has received overwhelming support from leaders in President William Ruto's Kenya Kwanza administration and the opposition's Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition.

Yesterday, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang'ula also endorsed the Azimio leader for the AU job.

Addressing congregants at St. Charles Lwanga Kapchepkoro Catholic Church in Sotik Constituency, Bomet County, Wetang'ula expressed the need for Raila to transition to a different role after longstanding position as opposition chief.

"He has put every government on its toes all his life, sasa anataka kuenda (He wants to go to) Addis Ababa and he cannot get there without the blessing, support and sponsorship from the government of the Republic of Kenya," Wetang'ula stated.

"Na rais Ruto amesema kama mwenzetu anataka hiyo kazi, si ya Raila, ni ya nchi ya Kenya na akienda huko anaenda kufanyia wananchi wa Kenya. So acha haende Addis Ababa afanye kazi uko, hii ya hapa sisi tuendeshe (And President Ruto has said that if our colleague wants that job, it is not Raila's job, it is Kenya's job, and if he goes there, he is going to work for the people of Kenya. So let him go to Addis Ababa and work there, we will run this one here.)"

Put aside differences

Last week, Government Spokesperson Isaac Mwaura urged leaders to put aside their political differences and rally behind the former premier's candidacy.

Speaking to the media in Nairobi, Mwaura affirmed that President Ruto's administration was fully behind Raila's bid for the top AU job.

The spokesperson, however, told Kenyans not to read too much into the move, insisting that Raila is a statesman poised to elevate Kenya and the continent to greater heights.

“If he gets an opportunity to serve us at the AU as the chair, we as Kenyans forget all our differences and rally behind a fellow Kenya. If Mr. Odinga has expressed interest, we would rather have him there because when he is there the interests of Kenya are taken care of. We as government fully support his candidature,” Mwaura asserted.

President Ruto is said to have personally approached Raila to offer himself for the AU role.

However, Ruto's move is seen by a section of the political class as an attempt to keep Raila busy away from Kenya's political arena, where he has been a thorn in the side of the Kenya Kwanza administration.

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