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Raila’s search for a post with the AU Commission could be a suitable trapdoor or departure.

In Kenyan politics, Raila Odinga has long been a mystery. His international performance? Even when the African Union designated him, he remained debatable.

But he said on Thursday that he would run for the position of Chairperson of the African Union Commission. One diplomat tampered with his first harsh assessment of Raila’s candidacy by adding a “if.”

“For that particular business, it is imperative that the candidate originate from the East African region. I’m just curious about the appetite for him. According to the diplomat participating in some African Union programs, he will require 34 votes.

The program to succeed Moussa Faki Mahamat of Chad, the incumbent, is expected to start shortly once candidates announce their willingness and submit their applications, even though the election is scheduled for early next year.

Some in Kenya already believed that Raila’s campaign was an attempt by President William Ruto’s administration to give a respectable exit for a politician who has been a vociferous opponent of its policies and had run unsuccessfully for office five times.

In the event that he wins the next year, he will have two years remaining in office in Kenya’s general election of 2027—a kind of trapdoor: Former AU Chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma declined to run for reelection in 2017 in order to pursue her goal of becoming president of South Africa. She dropped both.

If he loses in a campaign where losers seldom make a comeback to politics, it will expose him to additional political humiliation. Officials in Nairobi are getting ready to field a special squad to promote Odinga, who will also receive state funding for his campaign, according to insiders, and are hoping he wins.

In addition to receiving support from their governments—which Raila presently possesses—candidates will also need to engage in a flurry of backroom deals with neighbors or nations that share regional economic blocs like the EAC or the Intergovernmental Authority on Development.

Rwanda, one of the nations of Eastern Africa, is home to Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, the current AU Deputy Commission Chair. Raila’s current challenge is organizing Nairobi’s neighbors in East Africa, where the city has encountered open rejection (like in Sudan) or trade disagreements (like with Uganda).

Raila stated during a press conference on Thursday that his time as the High Representative for Infrastructure Development for the African Union provided him with an excellent perspective to “learn about every country.”

When Raila was appointed in 2019, Faki commended “his strong commitment to the ideals of Pan-Africanism and African integration.”

However, that assignment came to an unpopular end last year when Nairobi asked the AU to fire him. Kenyan diplomats then further degraded him by posting the letter of termination on social media. Despite this, Raila played it down, saying he had actually sought to leave the company months ago.

Raila previously worked for the AU. As the AU mediator in a post-election dispute between Laurent Gbagbo and Allasane Ouattara, he took a plane to Abidjan in January 2011. Washington had lobbied for Gbagbo to take on the post and even hired a jet for him, but he resigned after his side accused him of prejudice.
Raila is relying on this kind of local and regional experience in order to challenge the AUC stance. However, it also implies that he will resume the calculations that are frequently seen around AU elections. The current AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president of Nigeria, stated on Thursday that Raila will improve the efficiency of the continental organization.

“The right person at the right time is necessary for the AU to fulfill its intended function. We require someone with expertise, insight into the circumstances, and a background that can make a difference, stated Obasanjo.
“There’s no denying that my friend might be the best candidate. Naturally, that depends on the opinions, sentiments, positions, and displays of our leaders in the East African subregion.

We have learned that Obasanjo was among the elite contacts teasing the possibility of a Raila candidacy around the area.

Even when the domestic battle is resolved, Raila will still require international acceptance. Every member of the African Union gets one vote.

However, “coup states” like Niger, Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Mali are put on hold. They will not cast a ballot until they are reinstated this year.

We’re not sure whether any more candidates from the area will run at this point, but rumors have it that former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete, former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, and former vice president of Uganda Speciosa Kazibwe could run.

“With little difficulty, those who have held the office of head of state, whether as president or as prime minister, will be able to approach current presidents and prime ministers. When combined with other qualities, such persons will most likely be the ideal candidate, claimed Obasanjo.

“Such a candidate ought to run for office in the region rather than the national election.”

The highest ranking figure in the continental bloc is the Chairperson of the African Union Commission. It is comparable to the CEO of the AU Secretariat, whose term is renewable once every four years.

Certain nations within the region have the option to cast ballots in both rounds, but change their allegiance if their preferred candidate fails to secure a two-thirds majority. Later on, Ms. Mohamed would charge neighboring nations with treachery.

At least three months before to the election, nominations for the positions of Commission Chairperson and Deputy are frequently sent to Member States.

We’re not sure if anyone else in the area will run for the position, but rumors have it that former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete, former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, and former vice president of Uganda Speciosa Kazibwe could be possibilities.

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