Inside Politics

New strategy to market Raila candidature for AU position

Tuesday, May 28th, 2024 02:00 | By
National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula (centre), Kenya’s ambassador to Egypt Fred Outa (left), and Information, Communications, and the Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo (right) at the ambassadors thanksgiving ceremony in Kisumu county on Saturday. PHOTO/Kepher Otieno
National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula (centre), Kenya’s ambassador to Egypt Fred Outa (left), and Information, Communications, and the Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo (right) at the ambassadors thanksgiving ceremony in Kisumu county on Saturday. PHOTO/Kepher Otieno

Kenya has now adopted a new strategy to popularize Azimio leader Raila Odinga’s quest of becoming the next African Union Chairman next year.

People Daily has established that President William Ruto in his efforts to see that the former premier captures the seat, has now directed all Kenya’s envoys across the continent to root for his candidacy ahead of the February 2025 polls.

This is after National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula disclosed that the envoys and retired emissaries have been directed to make use of their contacts in the different African countries to give impetus to the campaign.

“The envoys and those of us who have worked in the foreign affairs docket have instructions from the president to make use of our immense contacts across the continent of Africa to ensure Raila sails through,” he said.

Wetang’ula asked the envoys to popularize Raila Odinga’s bid through their respective bids, adding that the government will make every effort to ensure that he wins the seat.

Speaking at Rabuor Primary School in Kisumu county during the home coming ceremony for Kenya’s Ambassador to Egypt Fred Outa, the Speaker said Raila Odinga was not a candidate by himself, but was being fronted and supported by the government to make the bid a success.

Renewed relationship

Speakers at the function who talked about Raila’s high stakes in politics, especially his renewed relationship with Dr Ruto over the AU job were highly cheered as they heaped praise on the two leaders.

“We will use our immense and vast networks to make sure Raila becomes the next AU chair. This is not for the faint hearted. It’s the brave to succeed and am sensing victory in earnest,’’ he said

“As a former Foreign Affairs Cabinet Minister, his Excellency President Ruto has directed us to use all our contacts and network to campaign for Raila,” Wetang’ula said.

Political lens

Wetang’ula said President Ruto means well for the country and will not leave anybody behind and that a win for Raila is for all Kenyans and should not be looked at with the lens of politics.

“The win will not be for the ODM party but it will be a win for all of us in this country, so that whoever is dissenting will be declared anti nationalist,’’ he said

Outa also disclosed that immediately, he gets into office, he will embark on the mission to campaign for Odinga to get the AU job by reaching out to the Egyptian top leadership and others.

Already Angola has signalled that it will support Kenya’s bid for Odinga to win the African Union Commission chairmanship, amid growing public support for Nairobi’s candidate.

Angola’s ambassador to Kenya Sianga Samuel Abilio said his country would “stand in solidarity” with Kenya to ensure Odinga wins the top seat. But Abilio remained diplomatic about whether Angola had made a formal commitment to do so.

“Angola is aware of the matter and is working on that issue. We will not let Kenya down.

Raila, the veteran opposition leader, had formally declared his interest in Nairobi this year February, and endorsed by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.

In supporting his candidacy, Obasanjo an ally of Raila, said it was the right time for a person from East Africa to lead the AU Commission and that he believed Odinga was a viable candidate.

The African Union has since confirmed that only candidates from the region will contest the AUC chairmanship when elections are held in February next year.

Already, Raila has so far secured endorsement from East African Heads of State including Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Samia Suluhu (Tanzania), Salva Kiir (South Sudan), Paul Kagame (Rwanda).

President Ruto said members of the East African Community had promised to support Raila, although Somalia has also endorsed a candidate. Raila’s bid could suffer a setback following increased support building around Somalia’s candidate, Fawzia Yusuf Adam. Somalia’s Foreign Minister, Ahmed Moalim Fiqi, early this month disclosed that the Organization of Islamic Co-operation (OIC), with close to 30 African member States will rally behind the Somalia candidate for the position of chairperson of AUC for the 2025–28 term.

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