Why Uhuru Kenyatta Had To Drop His AUC Chairmanship Bid

By The Weekly Vision Team

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta may be regretting why he betrayed his then deputy, now President William Ruto, in the last general elections. The former president has now been forced to observe the current campaigns for the African Union Commission chairmanship, just like the rest of us. Raila Odinga is expected to win the seat comfortably. 

Former presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Jakaya Kikwete met President Suluhu at State house Dar Es Salaam in February 2024. Courtesy

It is evident now that the former president held ambitions of running for the position of AUC chairman; he even extensively sought advice and support from his former colleagues and heads of state. However, at some stage during the lobbying process, it dawned on him that he would need President Ruto’s endorsement. He ultimately decided to withdraw from the race when he realized that President Ruto was not going to endorse his candidacy. The alleged betrayal has come back to haunt Mr Kenyatta.

Analysts speculate that had Uhuru Kenyatta backed William Ruto in the last general elections, he surely would have reciprocated by supporting his ambition of becoming the chairman of the African Union Commission. Nonetheless, due to the perception that Uhuru Kenyatta betrayed him, President Ruto and his allies have now aligned themselves with Raila Odinga, much to the dismay of Uhuru Kenyatta and his close associates. This retaliatory move by President Ruto and his team has intensified the ongoing power struggle within the Azimio One Kenya Coalition. 

It is crucial to emphasize that Uhuru Kenyatta has not come out to openly endorse Mr Odinga’s candidacy for the AUC chairmanship. Analysts say his silence has been occasioned by political considerations. The former president is fully aware that if Raila Odinga finally lands in Adis Ababa, he will find himself politically isolated and vulnerable to the Kenyan Kwanza/UDA administration. Analysts also add that President Ruto has somehow forced the former president to retire permanently and abstain from political engagements. Raila Odinga’s political moves enabled the former president to stay actively involved in politics. 

Reports say that the former president has declined to endorse the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) report, purportedly because of fears that it would result in Raila Odinga moving closer to President Ruto. It is evident to Uhuru Kenyatta and his team that if Mr Odinga assumes the AUC chairmanship, there is a high possibility of ODM and a majority of his followers shifting their allegiance from the Azimio movement to President Ruto. Mr Odinga’s supporters are already showing indications that they are ready to work with Ruto in 2027.

The issue has become a source of great concern for Mr Kenyatta. Days ago, Jubilee Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni even claimed without offering any evidence that Raila Odinga would step down from his position as AUC chairman to run for the presidency in 2027.

It is rumoured that the political class surrounding Uhuru is determined to propagate misleading and unsolicited information about Mr Odinga’s political strategy for 2027 to make President Ruto feel that he is being played politically. 

Analysts now say that although Mr Odinga’s expected relocation to Adis Ababa will leave many political orphans, the greatest of them all is Uhuru Kenyatta.