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Race for AUC chairperson job tightens as Djibouti fronts third candidate

By Moses Kinyanjui
Thursday April 11, 2024

Djibouti's Foreign Affairs minister Mahmoud Youssouf

The race to have the Eastern Africa region produce the next chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) continues to stiffen as a third candidate has thrown his hat in the ring.

On Tuesday, Djibouti fronted their Minister of Foreign Affairs Mahmoud Youssouf as their candidate, expressing confidence that he is best qualified to occupy the seat.

"With over two decades of experience as Minister of Foreign Affairs of his country, a haven of peace distinguished by its constant pursuit of conflict resolution through dialogue and negotiation, Mr. 

Mahmoud Ali Youssouf has all the qualities to meet the expectations and interests of the continent. He is fluent in French, English, and Arabic," read a statement from the state.

Youssouf's entry into the race threatens Kenya's Raila Odinga's stab at the position as he will now need a magical shot in the arm from other African leaders.

Also in the race is Somalia’s former deputy prime minister and current member of the Federal Parliament Fawzia Yusuf.

Last month, the AU Executive Council ratified a decision to have Eastern Africa produce the next chairperson while the Deputy Chairperson to be elected from Northern Africa.

The elections to find the next occupant at the AU top job will take place in 2025 as Chad's Moussa Faki, the current chairperson, will exit after his two-term tenure.

So far Odinga has secured endorsements from 8 heads of state among them Kenya's William Ruto, Paul Kagame (Rwanda) and Yoweri Museveni (Uganda).

Other leaders, according to Odinga as he said during a past address include "Mama Suluhu has said she will support me, Salva Kiir has accepted. The other day I was with Ramaphosa, he said yes, Tshisekedi has said yes.”

Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has also endorsed the Kenyan firebrand.


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