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Rwandan President Kagame Endorses Raila Odinga for AU Chairmanship

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has publicly thrown his support behind Raila Odinga’s candidacy for the African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson position.

Kagame praised Odinga’s outstanding performance as the AU High Representative for Infrastructure Development and expressed confidence in his qualifications for the top AU job.

Kagame commended Odinga’s dedication and deep understanding of African issues, stating, “I respect Raila Odinga, I respect his struggles.

He did a good job, [and had] full grasp of it. We will give him our support and wish him well. And not only the support to be there but even when he is there, we’ll give him support for Africa to succeed.”

Kagame’s endorsement of Odinga came following a recent visit by Odinga to Rwanda on March 8, 2024, where he held discussions with President Kagame on regional and Pan-African matters.

With Kagame’s endorsement, he becomes the seventh head of state to back Odinga’s bid, joining the likes of Kenya’s President William Ruto and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, who have already pledged their votes to Odinga.

Raila Odinga has been actively lobbying for support from across the continent, with other leaders expressing their backing for his candidacy.

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During a previous address, Odinga mentioned leaders such as Tanzania’s President Mama Suluhu, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, and Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Félix Tshisekedi, who have all signaled their support for his AU chairmanship bid.

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Odinga’s aspirations to lead the AU Commission come as the current chairperson, Moussa Faki of Chad, is set to complete his two-term tenure next year.

Faki was initially appointed in 2017 and won re-election for a second term in 2021.

As Odinga positions himself for the role, his candidacy is gaining momentum with backing from key African leaders, signaling a potentially transformative shift in leadership at the AU.

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