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Boost For Raila As Executive Council Resolves The Next AUC Chair Must Be From East Africa

The decision was arrived at after the conclusion of the Executive Council Ministerial meeting which decided on the rotation of elective posts of senior leadership of the AU Commission, to ensure all five regions have a fair chance.

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African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki. Photo BBC.

The stars continue to align with Azimio La Umoja coalition leader Raila Odinga with the African Union’s Executive Council resolving that the next chairperson of the African Union Commission will likely come from Eastern Africa.

This comes at a time when Kenya has embarked on a shuttle diplomacy mission across the continent to lobby support for Raila.

Mr. Odinga is set to become the official candidate for the East African Community for the position of the African Union Commission chairperson after Kenya formally submitted his name to the EAC secretariat for endorsement.

EAC secretariat secretary-general Peter Mathuki, in a letter to member states on March 21, 2024, said that it had received an official communication from the Kenyan government, informing members of the candidature of Odinga for the AUC chairperson position.

Mathuki also noted that the government of Kenya had asked the eight EAC member-states to endorse and support the Azimio leader as the region’s candidate for the position.

“The Republic of Kenya has officially communicated to the EAC secretary-general of their candidature for the position of the chairperson of the African Union Commission and further proposed the candidature of Raila Amolo Odinga, former Prime Minister for the position of the chairperson of AUC,” Mathuki said.

“The purpose of this letter therefore, is to inform you of this development and urge partners to mobilise support for the candidature of Raila Odinga given his immense experience in leadership and understanding of issues affecting our continent,” he added.

The EAC is made up of at least eight members, including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Odinga was the inaugural AU high representative for infrastructure development, a position he held until February 2023. The election of the chairperson, AUC will be held in February 2025.

The letter by Mathuku now means that should the eight-member states endorse Odinga, then the ODM leader could be a step closer to succeeding outgoing AUC chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat.

Odinga had in early March received a boost to his candidature after the AU Permanent Representatives Committee proposed changes reserving the AUC chairperson position to the East African region.

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

Odinga has also secured support from regional heads of states including Uganda’s Museveni who vowed to propose his name in the continental house.

Eastern Africa AUC decision

The decision to front Eastern Africa candidate was arrived at after the conclusion of the Executive Council Ministerial meeting which decided on the rotation of elective posts of senior leadership of the AU Commission, to ensure all five regions have a fair chance.

So far, two candidates from Eastern Africa have expressed interest in the seat, including Kenya’s Opposition leader Raila Odinga, and Somalia’s former Foreign Affairs Minister Fawzia Adam.

On the other hand, the Nothern region is to submit candidates for the position of deputy chairperson.

To ensure gender parity in the exercise, both regions are allowed to submit male and female candidates, should a man be elected as chairperson then the deputy post will be held by a woman, and vice versa.

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The Western, Central, and Southern regions are open to submitting candidates for the remaining six commissioners’ positions.

The senior leadership of the African Union is usually elected to serve for a four-year term, with the option for re-election.

Since the transition of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to the AU in 2002, the Commission has conducted five elections.

The first Commission served from 2003 to 2008 and the current fifth Commission was elected in 2021 and is due to complete its term in 2025.

A High-level panel of Eminent Africans will oversee the pre-selection assessment process and candidates’ shortlisting before the February 2025 elections.


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