End of AU job frees me up for 'pressing matters', says Raila Odinga

Raila Odinga.

Photo credit: File

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has welcomed the African Union's move to relieve him of his duty as its special envoy for infrastructure.

In a letter on Thursday to African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, Mr Odinga stated that he was glad that his request had been granted, freeing him up to pursue other matters.

“During our meeting on the sidelines of the 2nd Dakar African Infrastructure Financing Summit in Dakar, Senegal, about three weeks ago, I indicated the challenges to my continued availability for the role of AU High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa. In that regard, I welcome your quick action that will free me to pursue other pressing and urgent matters,” Mr Odinga wrote.

His communication followed a letter by Mr Mahamat, dated February 19, informing him that his role had come to a conclusion.

“Your role in this journey, Excellency, has been invaluable. Allow me to express my profound gratitude for accepting to serve in this role during the transition period, which has now come to a happy conclusion,” Mr Mahamat said.

Mr Odinga further noted that it had been a great pleasure and honour serving “our continent and our people and addressing infrastructure development, which we agree is the greatest contributor to our unending struggle to lift ourselves out of poverty and under-development.”

“I am proud to have made a contribution to the transformation of the Nepad Agency to African Union Development Agency-Nepad, among other contributions during my tenure,” the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Coalition leader said.

He pointed out that there were many challenges, including inaction by the continent's leaders and vested interests outside the continent "that are only too keen to keep Africa in its present condition".

“Hopefully, the continent will overcome these," he said.

He added: "I will be indicating when I might be available for deployment on continental assignment as circumstances change. Please, accept the assurances of my highest consideration and personal esteem."

In his letter, Mr Mahamat had indicated that the AU would continue counting on Mr Odinga’s support for other possible assignments.