Fresh Plot To Block Raila Odinga From Contesting The AU Commission Chairmanship   

By The Weekly Vision Team

There appears to be a fresh scheme by a section of African leaders, to block certain countries from sponsoring candidates for the forthcoming African Union Commission Chairmanship position. It has emerged that the African Union’s Permanent Representatives Committee has put forward a set of amendments to the electoral regulations ahead of next year’s elections aimed at preventing member states that have previously occupied the chair and deputy chair positions since 2002 from participating in the forthcoming election.

Should the heads of state and government approve the new proposals, it would effectively bring an end to Raila Odinga’s candidacy, given that Kenya has previously filled the deputy position. According to political experts, this new set of rules is the sole obstacle standing in Mr. Raila Odinga’s way. Based on the information and intelligence at hand, it is anticipated that Mr Odinga is likely to receive the support of a majority of the states, with a high likelihood of winning in the first round by securing two-thirds of the votes. President William Ruto has repeatedly reassured the Kenyan people that he will spearhead a strategic charm offensive and engage in diplomatic shuttle diplomacy to secure Raila Odinga’s victory in the highly sought-after position. 

If the proposed regulations are implemented to exclude Raila Odinga from the chairmanship race, what implications will this have on the Kenyan political landscape, particularly the upcoming 2027 elections? If this situation occurs, Mr Odinga will return to the sphere of local politics, where he is likely to cause significant damage to the political space as we know it today. Among those to be affected will be President Ruto and his Kenya Kwanza team. According to analysts, the president’s endorsement of Raila Odinga for the AUC chairmanship was a well-calculated move to capitalize on Odinga’s absence from the local political scene.

In accordance with the AU guidelines, the AUC chairperson is not allowed to participate in local or party politics, a fact that William Ruto saw as the major benefit of Raila’s absence. 

The Weekly Vision explores a range of scenarios that may arise if Mr Odinga is unable to secure the seat in Addis Ababa, regardless of the reason. Scenario one: Raila Odinga will embark on the rebranding of his ODM party further in readiness for the 2027 elections. In terms of the presidential contest, the prevailing belief among the populace is that he will not run for president in 2027 but will instead throw his support behind Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka. 

If Mr Odinga were to support Kalonzo Musyoka over William Ruto in 2027, experts predict a closely contested race, with Kalonzo holding a slight edge over Ruto in the initial round. Nonetheless, it is believed that this scenario can only succeed if Kalonzo secures a significant portion of the Mount Kenya votes.  According to several studies carried out by reputable firms, William Ruto has already experienced a loss of nearly 30% of his previous support base in the Mount Kenya region due to his unfulfilled promises. However, it remains uncertain whether these individuals will now choose to vote for Kalonzo Musyoka.

Analysts suggest that Kalonzo could secure significant support in Nyanza, the Western, Eastern, and Coastal regions with Raila Odinga’s strong backing. This would potentially leave William Ruto with the Rift Valley, as Nairobi and the Mount Kenya region are expected to play a crucial role in determining the final results. All prominent political figures, along with political commentators and analysts, have reached a consensus through their assessments that for Azimio to secure victory over President Ruto in 2027, the Mount Kenya region must field a presidential candidate who can divide the votes in favour of his opponent.

This strategy, according to sources in Azimio, will see the coalition secretly sponsor at least three other candidates from the region to split the votes. In this scene, Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua and former Muranga Governor Mwangi wa Iria’s names are prominently featured. Another name that has also been featured is Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi. Those who have been keenly following political events as they have been unfolding dating back to the run-up to the 2022 elections will agree that Mwangi played a key role in mobilizing resources to finance Raila Odinga’s presidential bid through the Mont Kenya Foundation.

Pundits say there have been behind-the-scenes talks to have Mr. Mwangi come out and run for the presidency. According to Azimio sources, James Mwangi could be a compromise candidate or be sponsored to spoil the numbers for William Ruto in the Mount Kenya region. Statistically speaking, a William Ruto candidacy without serious backing from the Mount Kenya region will automatically result in a serious loss, making him a one-term president.

In the second scenario, Raila Odinga could as well make a final stab at the presidency in 2027. Although this scenario is most unlikely, in politics, everything is possible. It is also being whispered that Kenya Kwanza strategists are now back to the drawing board, working on how to counter Azimio should Raila Odinga fail to clinch the AUC chairmanship.

However, should he win the seat and move to Addis Ababa, there are indications that Raila Odinga, William Ruto, and Musalia Mudavadi could work together towards the 2027 elections.