Ghana’s President endorses Kenya opposition leader’s bid for AU Commission chairmanship

On 4 April 2024 at 11:30

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga’s bid for the chairmanship of the African Union Commission (AUC) has received yet another boost after endorsement from Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo.

Kenyan Head of State, William Ruto, secured Ghana’s crucial vote for Odinga, during his visit to the West African country on Wednesday, April 4, 2024.

President Ruto, in his address after holding talks with Akufo-Addo, said Kenya will in turn support Ghana’s candidature for the Secretary General of the Commonwealth.

“Your Excellency, my dear brother, I thank you most sincerely for accepting to support Kenya’s candidature for the position of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (2025-2028) which has been initiated following comprehensive stakeholder-engagement across government,” Ruto said during the Kenya-Ghana Joint Media Briefing at Jubilee House, Accra.

“On our part, I have assured His Excellency that Kenya will support the Republic of Ghana for the candidature of Hon Shirley Botchwey, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, for the position of Secretary General of the Commonwealth for the period 2024-2029,” he added.

President Ruto further affirmed that Kenya’s bid for the coveted AUC seat is informed by the country’s leading role in enhancing and sustaining the Pan-African agenda in terms of independence and sovereignty, peace and security, development and prosperity, as well as sustainability and climate action.

“We hope to work with all as we try to achieve Africa’s 2063 agenda,” President Ruto stated while referring to Africa’s development blueprint to achieve inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development in a period of 50 years.

Akufo-Addo’s endorsement comes weeks after Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Tanzania’s Samia Suluhu and Salva Kiir of South Sudan threw their weight behind Odinga’s candidacy.

Kagame announced his support for the 79-year-old former Kenyan prime minister days after their meeting in Rwanda.

“It’s no secret. I told him Rwanda would support him. I wish him well,” Kagame said in an interview with Kenya’s NTV, broadcasted on March 12.

Kagame heaped praise on Odinga, citing his previous work as the African Union High Representative for Infrastructure Development.

“He [Odinga] did a good job at that. He had a full grasp of it,” Kagame said.

“Not only will we support him to be there, but also when he is there, we will support him for Africa to succeed,” he added.

Odinga is seeking to succeed Chad’s Moussa Faki in elections slated for February 2025.
The leader of the Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya coalition in Kenya received a major boost in March after the African Union Executive Council unanimously resolved that candidates for the position of the next chairperson of the AU Commission would be nominated by the Eastern African regional States

So far, only Odinga and former Somali Foreign Minister Fawzia Yusuf Adam have announced their candidacy for the top AU role.

Adam, who joined the race in February, is aiming to become the second woman to lead the continental body after South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who served between 2012 and 2017.

Kenyan opposition chief Raila Odinga during a past function
Kenyan President William Ruto (left) and his Ghanaian counterpart Nana Akufo-Addo during the former's recent visit to Accra