Mudavadi: Raila AU post hunt on course

Wednesday, May 15th, 2024 01:30 | By
Raila hosts Algeria Ambassador to Kenya Mahi Boumediene. PHOTO/@RailaOdinga/X

Prime Cabinet Secretary and Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Musalia Mudavadi says Kenya’s campaign for former Prime Minister Raila Odinga to become the next chair of the African Union Commission in February remains intact.

He says there is no cause for alarm insofar as the government’s push to court majority of African countries to back Raila’s candidacy as he is the best man for the job.

In a conversation with People Daily, the former Vice-President dismissed media reports attributed to Somalia’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Moalim Fiqi in which he claimed his country had attracted the support of the Islamic Organisation Countries (IOC), a religious lobby with about 30 members from the African countries.

Mudavadi termed the reports mere political propaganda manufactured with the aim of promoting confusion on the continent. “We are focused on our mission to persuade as many countries in Africa to back our candidate. The press reports attributed to the Somalia Minister is far from the truth. It is mere propaganda aimed at fanning confusion ahead of the official declaration of candidature by interested persons. The remarks should not be taken seriously.”

Promoting unity

Mudavadi was reacting to remarks made by the Somalia minister that his country’s former Foreign Minister Fawzia Yusuf Haji Adam had secured the support of IOC caucus with an estimated 30 out of the five African countries in support.

The statement by the Somalia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs followed a preparatory meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers for the 15th session of the OIC’s Islamic Summit Conference, held in Banjul, The Gambia, from May 2 to 3. The conference focused on “Promoting Unity and Solidarity through Dialogue for Sustainable Development.”

It read in part: “The communiqué will also endorse Somalia’s nomination of Ms. Fawzia Yusuf Adam for Chairperson of the African Union Commission for the period 2025-28,” the ministry’s statement said.

However, responding to the claim, Mudavadi observed:  “If you Google, most of these countries are not in Africa hence they don’t vote. Secondly, Djibouti which is a member also has a candidate. The purported resolution by Somalia is a propaganda strategy. Even from face value, how do you lump Uganda and Sierra Leone as Muslim countries? On the other hand, Djibouti has its own candidate (Mahmoud Ali Youssef) in the race, how does one claim that the country is now backing that of Somalia. What is more, some of those countries included in that group have had their membership suspended from the African Union and therefore are not eligible to participate in the affairs of the continental body such as voting for the omission chairperson,” he observed.

Strong candidature

Mudavadi added: “But most importantly, religion is not one of the requirements for an applicant to qualify for the continental assignment. The basic requirements are clearly stated by the AU Secretariat and I did not see religion listed anywhere among them. We from Kenya have presented a solid candidate whom we are very sure meets all the necessary qualifications for that position. It should also not be lost that on Kenyans that the African Union has allowed the East African Community bloc countries to present the next chairperson of the African Union Commission and majority of the countries in the region have indicated that they will support our candidate with the Ugandan Head of State His Excellency Yoweri Museveni hinting that he would be the one to propose Raila Odinga’s name. At that point, we are sure of our strong candidature and are certain of attracting overwhelming majority around the continent even as we continue to pursue the matter by talking to more of our friends in Africa and beyond.”

Mudavadi has been tasked with marketing Raila’s suitability and standpoints ahead of the Africa Union’s chairperson vote by the Heads of State from constituent countries in February next year.

Meanwhile, Mudavadi denied reports appearing in the media last week in which he and National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula were alleged to have declined, at a meeting with President William Ruto at State House, to fold their respective political parties and merge with the UDA headed by the Head of State.

The former Deputy Prime Minister stated that contrary to the insinuations in the media, no such meeting took place at State House or anywhere else and, if anything, top officials of both ANC and UDA continue to hold consultations aimed at establishing merger trails.

He said time is long overdue for formation of strong political parties based on principles and ideology, not convenient ethnic outfits and election vessels that only surface at ballot time. “Talks have been ongoing for some time now. That is a fact. Though I am no longer the Party Leader, I am aware that the senior leadership of the two parties have been meeting and very soon an announcement will be made regarding that matter after the governing organs from the two sides have adequately deliberated the issue with the membership of their parties. But I have not held any meeting with the President and the Speaker (of the National Assembly) regarding this subject. That is mere fiction and I wonder what those who are manufacturing those falsehoods want to achieve,” Mudavadi told People Daily.

He said the consultations between the two parties had been temporarily halted to enable the UDA side to conduct its internal elections - but which have been interfered with by the heavy rains drenching the country.

However, Mudavadi said, the final decision on the topic by the party he founded lies with the general membership of ANC, now under the stewardship of Lamu Governor Issa Timamy, at an appropriate time, while maintaining that Kenya requires fewer parties for its fledgling democracy to be fully entrenched.

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