Raila Odinga announces candidacy for AU Commission head job

Thursday February 15 2024
Raila Odinga

Veteran opposition leader and former prime minister Raila Odinga speaks to the media in Nairobi, Kenya as he formally declared his interest in the African Union Commission chairmanship on February 15, 2024. PHOTO | NMG


Kenya's veteran opposition and Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga on Thursday officially declared his interest in the African Union (AU) Commission chairmanship.

Speaking to the media in Nairobi, the former prime minister said he is ready to serve in that position, having previously held the position of AU High Representative for Infrastructure.

Odinga, who was accompanied by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, said he has consulted widely over the matter.

Raila Odinga and Olusegun Obasanjo

Raila Odinga with former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo in Nairobi, Kenya when he formally declared interest in the African Union Commission chairmanship on February 15, 2024. PHOTO | NMG

"Serving as the AU High Representative for Infrastructure gave me the advantage of learning about each African country. I believe by working together, we can emancipate Africa," Odinga said.

Read: Intrigues that cost Kenya’s Raila top AU job


His announcement for the job candidature was instantly endorsed by Obasanjo.

Obasanjo said it is the right time for a person from Eastern Africa to head the AU Commission and he believes Odinga will be a viable candidate.

"We need a person with experience, a person who understands the situation we are in and a person who comes from a background that can make a difference," Obasanjo said.

"We believe people who have held positions of head of government as prime minister or president will be the right people at this particular time to hold the AUC position," he added.

Odinga is understood to be relying on his networks in the continental body, having served as AU High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa between 2018 and last year in February, when his term ended controversially.