Kenya Kwanza's support of Raila's AU bid a national priority, not a political maneuver - Speaker Wetangula

Kenya Kwanza's support of Raila's AU bid a national priority, not a political maneuver - Speaker Wetangula

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula speaks in Bungoma County on April 21, 2023. PHOTO | COURTESY

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula now says that Raila Odinga's bid for the AU Commission Chairmanship seat is a significant priority for Kenya, further rejecting claims that Kenya Kwanza is backing the former premier solely to sideline him from domestic politics.

Speaking in Bungoma County on Saturday during the unveiling of an ICT hub at Mabanga Seminary, Wetangula stressed that Kenya Kwanza's endorsement of Raila's AU bid is not politically motivated by the state but rather by his aptitude for the role.

"Ile sote tutafanya sasa ni kuenda each African country to campaign for Raila Odinga. We don't want to exit him from Kenyan politics, but serve Africa because he is qualified," said Wetangula.

Wetangula's sentiments comes amidst an intense debate about the former premier's political future as the bid effectively sidelines him from Kenya's political arena, mandating his service until 2028 if he secures the position.

If endorsed for the AU's top seat, Raila will be tasked with enforcing the regional bloc's financial regulations, chair all commission meetings and deliberations, popularize the AU's objectives, submit reports to the assembly, executive council and permanent member states as well as act as a depository for all AU treaties and legal instruments.

The AU Commission Chair post also elevates the holder to a near head of state with the office holder being a key player in major international proceedings, including elections, conflicts and development, not only in Africa but globally.

The code of conduct for holders of the said office suggests that Raila will be forced to take a back seat in Kenya's politics and engage a neutral gear in political contests across Africa.

It also stipulates that the regional bloc's chair is barred from any other appointment to a public office unless upon resignation.

If endorsed by the 55 member states, Mr. Odinga will only retain his rights to vote in Kenya as a citizen.

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