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Migori Senator Eddie Oketch backs Raila’s AU bid

By Mercy Simiyu February 15th, 2024 2 min read

Migori Senator Eddie Oketch has backed opposition leader Raila Odinga to secure the African Union chairmanship.

Oketch, in a TV interview, argued Mr Odinga’s vast political networks were enough to propel him to the prestigious continental role.

“Raila has massive connections and respect across the globe. I can argue that today if you were to compare Raila Odinga and President Ruto in terms of respect Raila goes way above Ruto. If you look at the way AU selects their chairperson, there is no structure whatsoever that needs endorsement or mercy by a president,” he explained.

Mr Odinga had, in a press conference alongside Ex-Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo in Nairobi on February 15, 2024, announced his candidature for the AU top role.

Mr Obasanjo, who is a close political ally of Mr Odinga, stressed the importance of having the right person to serve the African Union’s purpose, further emphasising the need for experience and a deep understanding of the current situation.

He suggested that individuals with a background as a head of government, either as a Prime Minister or President, be seconded for the position.

Mr Odinga served as Kenya’s Prime Minister between 2008 and 2013.

Additionally, Obasanjo indicated it is the opportune time for a candidate from Eastern Africa to assume the AU role.

Specifically, he shared his belief that Raila Odinga, a friend of his, would be a viable candidate, and if the region nominates him, there is confidence that the region would provide support. In conclusion,

Obasanjo urged Africa to stand up firmly.

“I believe my friend Raila will be a viable candidate, If the region puts the candidate forward, I believe the region will support, Africa needs to stand up firmly,” He said.

Mr Odinga also hinted he is ready to take up the role and it remains to be seen if President William Ruto’s government will back him.

Mr Odinga unsuccessfully contested for the presidency in the 2022 polls but lost to Ruto.

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