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East Africa

Raila Odinga Reveals Ambitions for African Union Leadership


Raila Odinga, the former Prime Minister of Kenya, is aiming to become the next chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC). Speaking at a press briefing on June 5, 2024, in Nairobi, Raila shared that his decision to run was influenced by encouragement from friends outside Kenya.

Raila explained that his supporters believe he has the skills needed for the role and that he can effectively manage the commission. He also stressed the importance of having the Kenyan government’s backing, noting that many senior officials see this as a national effort rather than a political one.

“I am vying for a position in Africa, not in the government of the Republic of Kenya but I need the endorsement of the government of Kenya for that African position. I have been very encouraged by the number of senior government officials offering to be part of this journey out of the understanding that we are in this as Kenya and not as partisan political parties,” Raila said.

Reflecting on his previous experience, especially his five years as the African Union High Representative for Infrastructure Development, Raila feels ready for this new challenge.

“After a lot of soul-searching and consultation among my colleagues and friends I made the decision to accept the request. I had been the High Representative for Infrastructure Development for five years, that position gave me an inside picture of what is happening in the AU” he said.

Raila emphasized the need for Africans to take control of their continent by improving communication and trade among themselves.

Raila is competing against Djibouti’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, Somalia’s former Foreign Affairs Minister Fawzia Yusuf Adam, and Seychelles’ former Vice President Vincent Meriton. These candidates are all from Eastern Africa, following the African Union Executive Council’s decision that the next AUC chairperson should come from this region. They aim to replace the current chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, who has been in office since 2017.


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