Ruto secures Zimbabwe’s support for Raila’s AUC chair bid

By , K24 Digital
On Sat, 27 Apr, 2024 14:38 | 2 mins read
President Emmerson Mnangagwa hugs his Kenyan counterpart William Ruto at an airport in Zimbabwe. PHOTO/X (@edmnangagwa)

President William Ruto has garnered Zimbabwe's support for Raila Odinga's bid for the African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson job in a diplomatic manoeuvre that showcased Kenya's strategic influence in the region.

Addressing reporters during bilateral discussions at the Bulawayo State House on Saturday, April 27, 2024, Ruto underscored Kenya's pivotal role in advancing the Pan-African agenda through Raila's candidature.

"I am assured that Kenya and Zimbabwe will persist in conferring and backing each other on multitude issues of bilateral, regional and continental significance alongside the African Union Agenda 2063,” Ruto said.

Ruto's diplomatic efforts come as Kenya seeks to secure the AU Commission chairmanship for the 2025-2028 term, following the African Union Executive Council's decision in March 2024 mandating the Eastern Africa region to nominate candidates.

Kenya now endorses Zimbabwe's readmission to the Commonwealth in return for securing Harare's support for Raila Odinga's AUC candidature.

Ruto expressed Kenya's solidarity with Zimbabwe, advocating for its readmission to the Commonwealth and calling for the lifting of unilateral sanctions against the country.

"I wish to declare Kenya’s unreserved support for Zimbabwe’s readmission to the Commonwealth, and for the African Union’s call for the immediate lifting of all illegal sanctions against the Republic of Zimbabwe," Ruto declared.

President William Ruto when he touched down in Zimbabwe on Friday April 26, 2024. PHOTO/X (@edmnangagwa)

During the bilateral discussions, Kenya and Zimbabwe signed nine Memoranda of Understanding across various sectors, affirming their commitment to enhancing cooperation.

Ruto reiterated Kenya's commitment to fostering strong bilateral relations with Zimbabwe.

"I stand here to affirm Kenya’s commitment to the flourishing of our bilateral relations, and our shared determination to advance and enhance mutual benefit through partnership and consultation," he affirmed.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa echoed Ruto's sentiments, emphasizing the need for increased investment and collaboration between the two nations.

"We are pleased to partner with Kenya in areas such as transportation, infrastructure, healthcare, education, defense, trade, and investment," he remarked.

Raila's AUC bid

Azimio leader Raila Odinga on February 15, 2024, officially announced his bid for the African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson job.

Addressing the media, Raila stated that he had a myriad of consultations with his friends prior to the decision.

"Should the leadership of Africa want my services I am ready and offer myself to be of service to this continent. I'm ready yes to go for the chairmanship of the African Union," Raila said while accompanied by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo.

The AUC chairperson seat will fall vacant next year as its current occupant Moussa Faki Mahamat of Chad is set to finish his two terms in the position.

The new AUC Chairperson will be selected at the next AU summit in 2025.

AUC chairperson is elected by the Assembly consisting of the 55 member states for a four-year term, renewable once.

K24 Digital reported on what Raila has to do to win the AU Commission Chairperson election in 2025.

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