Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leaders have dismissed claims that former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s appointment to the African Union (AU) will derail his quest for the country’s top seat.
“That appointment would not lead to Raila’s retirement from the politics scene,” said Siaya Senator James Orengo. It instead enables to network and fundraise for his 2022 presidential bid.
“People think that there’s gonna be a space, and the job is gonna be easier for them to rise to the presidency with Raila out of the seat.”
This comes as a section of MPs on Sunday suggested that the ODM leader should quit local politics and focus on his new job as AU High Representative for Infrastructure Development.
“The kind of job Raila has been given in South Africa doesn’t allow him to participate in politics, he should leave politics to us,” said Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa, who was among the MPs speaking at a fundraising event in Kesses Constituency, Uasin Gishu County on Sunday.
National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohamed on the other hand also dismissed the claims, calling it “Raila Phobia.”
The Minority Whip further gave an example of former AU chair Dlamini-Zuma, who served the AU for five years and was at the same time a key political figure in South Africa’s ANC Party, where she was nominated for presidency and lost to Cyril Ramaphosa by a whisker.
“There’s no higher calling than to your country,” said Junet Mohamed. “It is up to the Kenyan people, and the people who believe in the leadership of Raila, to decide whether they still want him to lead them or not.”
In his AU appointment, Mr. Odinga will mediate in peace negotiations and conflict resolutions across the continent as he seeks to steer economic development.
He will have offices in Nairobi, Addis Ababa Ethiopia, South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt.