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Museveni’s message to Raila as race for AU top job hots up

By Arnold Ngure
Saturday May 18, 2024

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni shares a light moment with ODM leader Raila Odinga and Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Friday, May 17, 2024. PHOTO/@RailaOdinga/X

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni has assured ODM leader Raila Odinga of his support in the bid to clinch the chairmanship of the Africa Union Commission (AUC) on Friday, May 17.

Moments after seeing off Museveni who had been on a three-day state visit in Kenya, Raila revealed his discussions with the head of state regarding his aspirations for the top seat.

"I held discussions with and saw off H.E President Yoweri Museveni who has been on a state visit to Kenya. We revisited our dream of a united East African Community Jumuiya. I thank him for the continued support of my African Union Commission candidature," Raila said.

Raila was accompanied by Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen who stated that President Museveni signed several bilateral trade agreements with Kenya.

Spanner in the works

While the East African Community (EAC) member countries resolved to support the former Prime Minister's aspirations for the AU position, Somalia fielded an alternative candidate, throwing a spanner in the works.

Somalia, which became a full member of the EAC in March 2024 has fronted its former foreign minister, Fawzia Yusuf Adam who has garnered the support of more than half of the total countries in Africa.

“Somalia appreciates and is grateful for the support of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which has nearly 30 members from Africa, for taking note and endorsing Somalia’s nomination of Fawzia Yusuf Adam for the position of AU Chairperson for 2025-2028,” Somalia foreign ministry stated at the time.

OIC consists of 57 countries in and beyond Africa where Islam is the state religion, the majority population are Muslims or the minority Muslims play a huge role.

On Thursday, May 16, 2024, Seychelles announced support for its former Vice President Vincent Meriton, in a move that further complicated the race.

Meriton previously held the positions of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Health and Social Affairs, Information Technology and the Blue Economy and Entrepreneurship development dockets.

“Meriton’s core objective as chairperson of the AUC is to significantly improve the implementation rate of the Commission’s executive decisions by addressing barriers to implementation and promoting accountability and compliance,” read the statement in support of Meriton.

Raila's competitors
So far, the candidates gearing up to succeed the current AU chair Moussa Faki Mahamat are Djibouti's  Foreign Minister, Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, Somalia's former Foreign Minister, Fawzia Yusuf Adam, Seychelles' former Vice President Vincent Meriton and Raila Odinga.

Faki has held the position of AUC chair since 2017 and will exit the commission by February 2025.


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