Raila Declares Interest In African Union Chairperson Position

Raila revealed that he was ready to serve the African continent following consultations.

Raila Declares Interest In African Union Chairperson Position
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo (right) endorsing Azimio Leader Raila Odinga for AU Chairmanship on February 15, 2023. /ODM

Azmio la Umoja leader and former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, has publicly announced his interest in succeeding Moussa Faki as the African Union Chairperson. 

Speaking in a press conference, Raila revealed that he was ready to serve the African continent following consultations.

“I have been consulting widely. I think I am ready to serve the continent of Africa.

"Africa deserves better. I am ready for the chairmanship of the African Union Commission," he declared.

African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson Moussa Faki. /THE GUARDIAN NIGERIA

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader indicated that he was ready to raise Africa's status to its premier and rightful position which will help in addressing some of the thorny issues in the continent.

"I am ready to serve Africa mainly because as a Pan-Africanist I believe strongly that Africa is playing in a league that it should not be playing. Africa deserves better.

“If we marshal our resources as a continent, pull in one direction, then we can be able to make Africa greater,” Raila added.

Supporting him was former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo who remarked that Raila was the right man to succeed Faki.

"I have no doubt that my friend who is standing next to me is the right person to take over the mantle. If the EAC region backs him, I believe the rest of the continent will support him,” Obasanjo stated while flanked by Raila. 

"People who have held the position of head of government either as President or PM are most suitable for this job. Looking at it critically, it is the turn of East Africa."

While defending his stance, Obasanjo affirmed that the African Union needs a person who understands the continent and can address various problems bedevilling it.

With Raila having experience while wielding the position of Prime Minister, Obasanjo made it clear that he would properly execute the mandate given the opportunity.

"We need a person with experience and who understands the situation Africa is in, and who comes from a background that can make a difference to take charge of AU," Obasanjo added.

Raila served as Kenya's second prime minister between 2007 and 2013. He does have previous experience in the African Union as he served as its High Representative for Infrastructure from October 2018 to February 2023.

As African Union High Representative for Infrastructure Development, Raila had an office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which facilitated his travel to different countries, as well as access to a special visa and preferred treatment at various airports during his official travels.

During his tenure, he advocated for trans-African highways, high-speed rail networks, open skies, energy creation, fibre optic cable connections, and water transport. To fund the projects, the former Prime Minister explained the importance of setting up African infrastructure funds using sovereign, insurance, and pension funds.

The AU Chair is elected on a four-year term with the option to be reelected once. Moussa Faki is in his final second term having assumed the position in 2015. 

Prof Makau Mutua, Azimio Chief Raila Odinga and Leadership Group Director Abraham Nda-Ishaiah in Abuja, Nigeria on January 30, 2023. /RAILA ODINGA