Kenyan Government bankrolls Odinga’s bid for AUC Chairperson

HABARI DAILY I Kampala, Uganda I The Kenyan Government has set up a campaign secretariat and raised a substantial budget to support the renowned Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga, who officially announced his candidacy for the Chairperson position of the African Union Commission (AUC).

Habari Daily has since established that the Kenyan Government, through the ministry of Foreign Affairs has earmarked sh385m as expenditure linked to the campaigns.

This will cater for diplomacy expenditure, travel, promotion activities and lobbying.

The secretariat is being run by Government officials and Odinga’s key strategists who are currently in charge of steering the campaign. Other key actors in the campaign include the Presidency, the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, and the Eastern Africa ministers of Foreign Affairs.

In 2017, Kenya spent up to sh437m in its failed bid to capture this very position through former Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed.

Odinga’s campaign team has developed a three-pronged campaign timeline encompassing short term, medium and grand strategy ahead the elections set for February 2025,

This approach include a short term period of between four to six weeks whose goal is to solicit the support of all the 16 Heads of State and Governments in the East African region

The goal of the medium term period of between July and August 2024 is to secure the support and endorsement of the majority of the Heads of State and Government of the Southern, Western, Northern and Central African regions. The grand strategy, which is the overall winning plan, involves the Presidency, which will lobby other Heads of State for support.

Odinga had earlier on declared his readiness to contest for the influential role, highlighting his extensive consultations with allies before making the decision.

“If the leadership of Africa desires my services, I am prepared and offer myself to serve this continent. I am ready to pursue the chairmanship of the African Union,” he affirmed.

He voiced his discontent with the plight of African youth who are forced to seek opportunities abroad due to challenging economic conditions, and pledged to leverage his leadership to transform Africa’s fortunes and position the continent as an economic powerhouse.

He called upon all Africans to reverse this trend and harness all resources for the accelerated socio-economic growth of the continent.

Citing his tenure as the AU special envoy for infrastructure development in Africa from 2018 to 2023, Odinga emphasized his qualifications for the position, noting his comprehensive understanding of the socio-economic landscape across the continent.

He said the role provided him with a unique advantage to gain insights into every African country.

 EAC support

The East African Community (EAC) heads of state have unanimously agreed to back one candidate for chairmanship of the African Union Commission (AUC).

President Ruto made the revelation recently when addressing the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

Two candidates from the region, Kenya’s veteran opposition leader and former prime minister Raila Odinga and former Somalia Foreign Affairs minister Fawzia Yusuf Adam had expressed their desire to contest for the position.

However, President Ruto told the EALA lawmakers that EAC presidents have agreed to support one candidate for the chairmanship.

The decision means only the Northern Africa region will front candidates for the deputy chairperson, while the other three regions which include Central, Southern and Western, will compete for the six positions of commissioners.

According to Ruto, the decision was arrived at after intensive consultation.

Eastern Africa has 14 member states, often transcending their traditional regional blocs. For instance, Madagascar often in the southern region belongs to Eastern Africa.

Since 2021, the African Union agreed that the deputy chair of the AUC be of the opposite gender. But they had never agreed on alternating genders for the post of chairperson. They did agree, in 2018, that regions must rotate their hold on the chair in their English alphabetical order: Central, Eastern, Northern, Western, and Southern.

The current chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, is from Chad in central Africa and is deputised by Monique Nsanzabaganwa of Rwanda from the eastern bloc.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, recently became a peace broker when he reccently brought together the two main protagonists on the Kenyan political landscape, Raila Odinga and President William Ruto at a meeting held at his country home at Kisozi near Kampala.

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