Raila Odinga formally declares interest in AU topmost job

Raila: AU, here I am

Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga has formally declared his interest in the African Union Commission chairmanship.

Speaking to the media on Thursday in Nairobi, Mr Odinga said he is ready to serve in that position, having previously held the position of AU High Representative for Infrastructure.

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

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

Mr Odinga's announcement of his planned candidature for the job was instantly endorsed by the former Nigerian Head of State.

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

Raila Odinga and Olusegun Obasanjo

Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga with former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo in Nairobi on February 15, 2024 when he formally declared interest in the African Union Commission chairmanship.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

"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," Mr 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.

Mr 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.