Inside Politics

Let’s forget our differences and rally behind Raila for AU job – Gov’t spokesperson

Sunday, February 18th, 2024 17:17 | By
Let's forget our differences and rally behind Raila for AU job - Gov't spokesperson
Government spokesperson Isaac Mwaura during a past press conference. PHOTO/Isaac Mwaura(@MwauraIsaac1)/X

The Kenya Kwanza government has urged leaders to put aside their political differences and rally behind opposition leader Raila Odinga's candidacy for the position of African Union Commission chairperson.

Speaking to the media on Sunday, February 18, Government Spokesperson Isaac Mwaura affirmed that President William 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.

Yesterday, the ruling United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party also endorsed Raila for the AU role.

“As the UDA party, and in the spirit of patriotism, we have announced our undoubted support for the candidature of the Right Hon. Raila Odinga as chairperson of the African Union Commission.

“Mr. Odinga has been at the forefront and among the greatest leaders who have championed the entrenchment of the tenets of democracy and the rule of law across the African continent,” UDA Secretary General Cleophas Malala stated.

The former prime minister declared his candidacy for the AU job last Thursday.

The Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition leader stated that he had made up his mind on running for the AU seat after consulting widely among friends, including former Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo.

“The general Olusegun Obasanjo has said he is one of my closest friends in the continent and has intimated that should there be an interest I will be keen to serve the continent of Africa," Raila stated during a press conference in Nairobi.

Raila said that he was the best fit for the job, having served as the African Union (AU) special envoy for infrastructure development in Africa from 2018 to 2023, a position which helped him understand the socio-economic conditions across the continent.

"That position gave me a good advantage to be able to learn about each and every African country and I believe that working with all these countries we can be able to emancipate Africa," he said.

Obasanjo, on his part, expressed his confidence that Raila is the right man for the position of AU chairman and asked countries in the East African Community (EAC) to back his candidature.

“I have no doubt that my friend (Raila) is a viable candidate but subject to views, feelings, positions and presentations of our leaders in the East Africa sub-region,” Obasanjo told the media.

The former Head of State further expressed his belief that it is East Africa's opportunity to occupy the high office.

“Not too long ago we had Southern Africa, one occupying the seat now is Central Africa. Before that, we had West Africa,” he noted.

President Ruto is said to be lobbying to have Raila succeed Moussa Faki Mahamat, whose term will elapse in March next year.

The Head of State is said to have recently 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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