More candidates join AU Commission chairpersons race


NAIROBI, Kenya - A total of three candidates from the East African region have declared interest in the African Union Commission chairperson race which is due in January 2025, in what could be a major test for regional integration and stability.

On Tuesday, Djibouti's Foreign Affairs minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, joined the race for the African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson, making him the third candidate from the larger East Africa Community bloc where Somalia and Kenya are members.

Djibouti's presidency, which announced Youssouf's candidacy on Tuesday, highlighted his over two decades of diplomatic experience. Youssouf is set to compete against Somalia's Fawzia Yusuf Adam and Kenya's Raila Odinga for the chairpersonship, succeeding Moussa Faki, who has been in office since 2017, VOA reports.

"Djibouti expresses its faith in Mr. Mahmoud Ali Youssouf's seasoned diplomacy and in-depth knowledge of the Continental Organization," the Djibouti presidency stated, endorsing him as a candidate capable of revitalizing the Pan-African Organization.

Already, Kenya's former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has expressed interest and has since won endorsement from Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Ghana, reflecting President William Ruto's intensive campaign for Odinga.

Somalia's former minister Fawzia Yusuf has also declared interest and activated her campaigns. The current chairperson Moussa Faki who hails from Central Africa Republic will be retiring after serving a total of two terms as stipulated in the constitution.

Last month, AU heads of state met in Addis Ababa and approved the proposal suggesting that the seat should be held on a rotational basis, with East Africa considered in the next election. The gender clause was removed, in what was seen as a strategy to accommodate Raila Odinga.


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