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A closer look at the AU’s top Job

BY YVONNE IDAMANO.

The office based in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, has been the talk of town for the past couple of weeks hitting news headlines day in, day out. The African union commission is an organization that comprise 55 states of Africa who came together to push forward the African agenda. The AU’s core functions are to represent the African states and defend its interests under guidance of and as mandated by the Assembly and the Executive Council. It also elaborates, promotes, coordinates and harmonizes AU’s programmes and policies.

The main objectives and aims of the AU are to defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its members’ states; Accelerate political and socio-economic integration of the continent and to also encourage international cooperation. The African Union has a structure composed of a Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and eight commissioners plus staff. Whoever occupies the Chairperson position (which has been hot on everyone’s lips, especially here in Kenya) acts as the Chief Executive Officer of the commission. He/She is also its legal representative and chief accounting officer, elected for a four-year term, renewable only once. The office is currently occupied by Moussa Faki, the former Prime Minister of Chad, whose terms ends at the end of 2024.

In Kenya, the former Prime Minister, The Rt.Hon. Raila Odinga, has thrown himself into the ring to battle for the position of AU chairperson, backed and fronted by His Excellency, Olusegun Obasanjo, the former President of Nigeria who once also occupied the position, from 2004-2006. The news of his ambition has thrown the country into a rather unusual state with talks of succession politics and political retirements taking centre stage on church altars and even funeral podiums. Politicians from across the political divide appearing to miraculously speak the same language in supporting the former Prime Minister’s bid. Well, this unusual political camaraderie may seem alluring to one who is new to Kenya’s political scene, but what lies behind it all is the interests that either party has.

His political support base seems to now be in a fix in search of his successor or rather replacement. This is a big deal, for his successor would take over the mantle of the official leader of opposition and battle it out with the current president in the next general elections. His political rivals on the other hand are supporting his bid with an intense energy, only to the fact that if he clinches the seat it would mean exit from the local political scene. News that brings ripples of joy to his political rivals who see him as a fierce competitor and the biggest critic of the current regime. All this takes away the attention of the importance of Kenya as a country clinching this seat, which would also be a first for East Africa, for the other occupants have been from mostly west and central Africa. H.E Raila Odinga, will be a critical player in major international happenings not just in Africa, but also across the globe.

Rather, preference would be that the talks of his bid should centre on what he can do better for Africa if he clinches the seat. Focus should be of how he can better advocate for the continents’ development programmes and policies, be it investing in; Education and innovation, transforming economies of the countries through implementation of friendly economic policies and talks of how to improve the standards of living of Africans, which to be honest are deplorable for a majority of people. Furthermore, to also emphasize on solid unity among African states, nothing beats the thought of a united, strong Africa. Most important of all is to protect the continent from any infringement of its affairs by neo-colonialist countries, who would like to take hostage and bring Africa into its colonial era.

We can only wait and see what unfolds next, as other countries throw in their bid for the position. May the candidate with the continents’ interest at heart take it home.

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