Nairobi News

GeneralMust ReadNews

Raila Odinga visits German alma mater amid doubts over his AU job qualifications

By Winnie Mabel February 21st, 2024 2 min read

Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga, fondly referred to as Baba by his supporters, visited his alma mater in Germany during his trip to the European nation earlier this week.

He took a tour of the campus at Herder Institute in Leipzig where he attained his higher education certificates.

“Visiting the Herder Institute, my alma mater in Leipzig, Germany, brought back memories of my high school days. From the familiar corridors to returning to my previous house on Lumumba Street and meeting with today’s students. Grateful for the journey and the enduring community at Herder,” said Raila as he strolled within the campus on Tuesday, February 20, 2024.

His trip to Germany came days after he announced his candidature for the African Union Commission Chairmanship position on February 15, 2024.

“I believe Africa deserves better. Africa is the richest continent in terms of minerals yet it’s the poorest. This can be reversed if we marshal our resources. I have served as the African Union High Representative for infrastructure and it gave me an advantage to learn about each African country. I believe working together with these countries, we will be able to emancipate Africa. I offer myself to serve this continent. I am ready to go for the Chairmanship of the African Union,” said Mr Odinga in part while accompanied by former Nigeria president Olusegun Obasanjo during a Nairobi press conference.

Also read: Mudavadi’s ANC backs Raila Odinga’s Africa Union bid

To get this position, a candidate must have a Master’s degree in Law, International Relations, Economics, Diplomacy, Management, Business Administration, Political Science, Social Sciences or a closely related field from a recognized institution.

Additionally, they must have a PhD in Law, International Relations, Diplomacy, Management, Business Administration, Political Science, Social Sciences, or a closely related field from a recognized institution is an added advantage.

The candidate must also have not less than twenty (20) years of relevant professional and international experience with at least ten (10) years served in a progressively senior leadership role(s) preferably in an intergovernmental organization or national government/public service, international or regional institution.

Following his announcement of the position that will fall vacant next year, discussions began over whether the prolific opposition leader was qualified for the position despite the Kenya Kwanza government’s backing without his asking for their support.

Controversial lawyer Miguna Miguna, a former Raila aide, questioned Raila’s education eligibility.

“To be chairperson of the AU Council (the equivalent of the IEBC in Kenya), one must have at least a Master’s Degree in law, political science, business administration, economics, or social sciences. Not metal work, panel beating. He must also have a demonstrated record of zero record of fraud and corruption and be an intellectual leader,” said Miguna.

In addition to Miguna, a section of Mount Kenya’s Kenya Kwanza politicians also questioned why the government was backing its main opponent when they could field former president Uhuru Kenyatta for the same position.

At Herder Institute, Raila obtained a Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1970; and is one of the 100 most notable alumni at the campus at number 41.

This is not the first time debates have erupted over his education qualifications. The same was witnessed when he vied for President in the last two presidential elections. Many doubt he attended the school or attained any certification but with this trip, he put the matter to rest.