Paul Kagame endorses Raila for AUC chairmanship

Wednesday, March 13th, 2024 11:21 | By
Raila Odinga with Paul Kagame
Raila Odinga with Paul Kagame. PHOTO/@RailaOdinga/X

Rwanda President Paul Kagame has publicly announced his support for Raila Odinga in the race for African Union Commission (AUC) chairmanship.

Speaking to a local TV station, Kagame heaped praises on Raila, citing his previous work as the African Union High Representative for Infrastructure Development.

"I respect Raila Odinga. I know his struggles. He did a good job (as the African Union High Representative for Infrastructure Development). We give him our support and wish him well not only now but when he is there (as the chair) for Africa to succeed," Kagame said.

This comes days after Raila met Kagame in Rwanda as he lobbied presidents to support his bid.

In a statement after the meeting, Raila said that they talked about regional and Pan-African ideals.

"Had an insightful conversation with President Paul Kagame in Kigali, diving into regional and Pan-African ideals. We are committed to African unity and solidarity for shared prosperity and progress," Raila stated.

Previously, Raila has met President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, whom he said had endorsed his candidacy for the AU job.

Speaking days after meeting Museveni, Raila said that he was not totally exiting local politics, that he would be available when required.

"I am not going away. Addis Ababa is only two hours away from Nairobi. I am available, whenever I am called I will answer. I am ready to work with you people. We must ensure what we set out to do is eventually achieved," Raila stated.

Raila has also received backing from Samia Suluhu of Tanzania and South Sudan's Salva Kiir.

Raila candidacy for AU job

Raila declared his candidacy for the position on February 15, 2024, as he seeks to replace the incumbent, Moussa Faki.

Raila said he was the right candidate for the AU Commission chairmanship due to his experience in leadership.

“Today, I want to make it public that I am ready to go for the chairmanship of the Africa Union. I am ready and offer myself to be of service to this African content when called upon. I believe that Africa is playing in a league that it should not play in and that it deserves better,” Raila said on February 15, 2024.

Somalia enters the race

Somalia's former Foreign Affairs Minister Fawzia Adam has joined the race for the coveted seat, posing a direct challenge to Raila.

Fawzia confirmed to a local daily that she would be vying to succeed Moussa Faki at AUC as his term draws to a close.

The first female Foreign Minister in Somalia said her bid has the blessing of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who is expected to lead the lobbying efforts.

She revealed that she hopes to use the position to amplify African voices and advance the African agenda on the global stage.

"I have a deep passion for Africa and a strong desire to contribute to the continent's development and progress," she told Daily Nation.

"By running for the chairperson of the AU, I aim to strengthen the bonds between African countries and work towards a more united and integrated continent."

The campaign to replace the current AUC chair Moussa Faki is set to officially begin once all interested candidates submit their applications by May this year.

Suitable candidates are required to have a Master's degree in a wide range of academic fields including Law, International Relations, Economics, Diplomacy, Management, Business Administration, Political Science, Social Sciences or a closely related field from a recognised institution.

According to the AU, a PhD in Law, International Relations, Diplomacy, Management, Business Administration, Political Science, Social Sciences or a closely related field from a recognized institution is an added advantage.

The AUC chair is elected on a four-year term renewable once and serves as the Chief Executive Officer, Legal Representative of the Union and the Accounting Officer of the Union.

The current AUC chair comes from Chad in Central Africa and there is a debate on electing the next Commission boss from East Africa.

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